Yesterday a federal judge ruled that the way that the New York State Thruway Authority is using tolls collected from truckers is unconstitutional.
Tens of Millions In Truck Tolls Used To Fund Recreational Canal System
After years of legal back and forth, courts finally sided with the American Trucking Association in their suit against truck tolls on the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway system. The ATA says that the tolls significantly and unfairly hurt trucking’s revenue and increase the price of goods for consumers.
Currently, the New York State Thruway Authority uses $61 million every year in commercial vehicle tolls to pay for the state’s canal maintenance.
Judge Sides With ATA
Chief Judge Colleen McMahon found that it is unlawful to use toll revenue collected from truck drivers to maintain the upstate canals — especially because tourism (and therefore the state of New York as a whole) is the main beneficiary of the canals. The judge found it is unfair for truckers to contribute to them when they do not benefit from the canals.
McMahon also wrote, “To the extent that they are used to maintain and operate the canal system, the thruway tolls are unconstitutionally excessive.”
ATA President Chris Spear was pleased with the ruling: “ATA believed that the courts and Constitution were clear – revenue from tolls must be spent maintaining the roads they’re collected on and not diverted to finance bike paths and waterways for recreational kayaking and canoeing. We hope today’s ruling will not only end this practice in New York, but dissuade other states from financing their budget shortfalls on the backs of our industry.”
The ATA is seeking unspecified damages.