Posted at: 09/05/2012 12:29 PM
| Updated at: 09/05/2012 2:30 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - As it stands now, elected officials figure to get considerable heat for Thruway toll increases, without having the power to directly control them.
"Obviously, the proposed toll increase of 45% is outrageous and to call it modest is especially egregious," said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R - Melrose).
The Thruway is controlled by a state authority, one of hundreds in New York. Its board consists of political appointees who are not directly controlled by anyone.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R - Glenville) wants to see that changed. "Why don't elected officials, senators and assemblymen and the governor, be in charge of ratifying any fare or toll increase?"
Instead, Thruway officials have pushed through four toll increases in seven years and are going pedal to the metal on a fifth, this one raising truck tolls by 45 per cent.
"It's another tax people," said Minden Town Supervisor Tom Quackenbush. "There's no way around that."
At their own hearings in other parts of the state, Thruway officials cited repair costs, bond obligations and assigned charges.
The size of this pending toll hike almost exact equals the 85 million dollars the Thruway yearly pours into the canal system, which produces almost zero direct revenue.
"The canal facility is for the rich," said Andy Clemente of Bonded Concrete. "All I see is luxury liners. Multi-billionaires riding around in luxury liners. Riding up and down the canal system, possibly paying between one-one hundredth and one-one thousandth of what it costs to maintain that canal system."