In May, the New York Thruway Authority took a major step toward raising toll costs by 45% for trucks. The price of commuter cars will remain the same.
The increased toll revenue will go to road repairs and will help pad the deficit. According to WNYT, “Since 2005, Thruway traffic has declined 10 percent while operating expenses grew more than 20 percent, creating a short term debt of $368 million.”
“Don’t put it on our backs to pay for X, Y, or Z spending problems,” Calvin Keller, an independent trucker from Ohio, who told WNYT he travels the Thruway once a week.
[pullquote align=”right”]“Look at how much revenue that trucks actually bring in to the state of New York versus a car,” he says “We’re at five or six miles to the gallon. We’re paying fuel tax a lot more fuel tax then you’re average car does.”[/pullquote]
The Thruway Authority says big trucks cause 10,000 times the damage that cars cause, though trucks currently only pay a 5% higher toll than commuter cars.
Randy Zabel told WNYT he believes the rate hike would force truck drivers to choose alternate routes, through small towns.
Others have protested the proposed hike. In August, New York Assemblyman Will Barclay spoke out against the toll hike.
This latest proposed toll increase is poorly conceived. At a time when our economy is teetering on a recovery and many communities have been deeply affected by unemployment, adding to the cost of doing business in this state is a bad idea,” said Barclay.
“Passing another toll hike will make it tough for trucking companies to stay in business. These companies provide thousands of jobs so we also risk putting more people out of work. New York companies already deal with taxes, energy, workers’ comp and regulatory costs that add up to more than many can afford in order to stay competitive,” said Barclay.
“According to the New York State Motor Truck Association, truckers in New York already pay the second highest per truck in state and federal user fees per year,” Oswego County Today reported.
“This kind of increase is too much to ask. Those costs will be passed down to wholesalers and retailers, who will in turn, pass the costs on in the form of increased prices at the checkout,” said Barclay.
In September, major retailers also protested the toll hike.
“Executives from the Price Chopper grocery store chain, Family Danz and Capital Region truckers will protest a potential 45 percent hike in Thruway tolls at a hearing in Albany today,” the Business Review reported.
According to New York Assemblyman George Amedore Jr., the proposed 45% toll hike would add an extra 10 cents per mile for trucking companies that frequent the state.
“Among the businesses testifying include Price Chopper, of Schenectady; Bonded Concrete, of Watervliet; Family Danz heating and cooling; Gomez Electrical Contractors; and Warren W. Fane Inc., a wholesale gravel and sand business in Troy,” the Business Review stated.
Today, The Democrat and Chronicle reported that the New York Thruway Authority is expected to meet on Friday for a final vote on the toll hike, a vote that is expected to pass.
“The authority, which oversees the 570-mile thoroughfare, had told credit agencies that it expected the toll increase to take effect by October, but the authority delayed action. And now it’s meeting three days after Election Day,” The Democrat and Chronicle reported.
The reason for the proposed hike, the Thurway is in need of revenue. Travelers on the toll roads have declined by 10% from 2005 to 2011. A 45% increase would generate $85 million a year for the Thruway.
What do you think, drivers? Will you choose an alternate route? How much is a reasonable toll fee for trucks?