Proposed Thruway toll increase not sitting well with Capital Region drivers

Members of the New York State Thruway Authority held a meeting at its headquarters in Albany on Monday. The Thruway Authority is considering raising the cost of tolls beginning in 2024.

If you drive on the Thruway, you could be paying more in 2024. The New York Thruway Authority is proposing a 5% increase for E-ZPass drivers and a 75% increase for non E-ZPass drivers.

“I don’t like it. Who likes to pay more money for tolls,” said Ken Stahl, a New York driver.

Based on estimates from the Thruway Authority, NewsChannel 13 calculated one scenario. If you’re going from Exit 25A in Schenectady to 34A in Syracuse, you would pay 26¢ more in 2024, if you have an E-ZPass. If you don’t have an E-ZPass, you would be paying more than $5 more.

“I think everything should be fair. I think with everything going on, gas prices, the economy, we should try to lower everything to try to make it fair for everybody,” said Nick Hausler, a Ravena resident.

Sen. Jim Tedisco proposed a bill that would require legislative approval for any Thruway toll increase. He argues that since New Yorkers are dealing with inflation, they should not have to pay more for tolls.

“It really illustrates that too much power is in the hands of our state agencies and authorities like the Thruway Authority. These are not elected officials. We are the elected officials,” said Tedisco.

According to Thruway officials, they say they need the funding to update aging roads and bridges. They say the average age of the Thruway’s 815 bridges is 55 years old. There are also 75% that are more than 60 years old. The existing toll structure, they say, won’t support the money needed to maintain the bridges.

A spokesman tells News Channel 13 the proposal will still keep New York’s toll rates among the lowest in the country. However, for some in the Capital Region, they don’t want to pay more in tolls.

“I think it’s punishing the wrong people. I think that they should find somewhere else to get it from,” said Stahl.

The Thruway Authority says there will be public hearings within the next year, before the toll increases go into effect.

A spokesman from the Thruway Authority sent NewsChannel 13 this statement:

“The Thruway Authority is putting forth a proposal to begin the public process to adjust toll rates at its Monday meeting of the Board of Directors. Here are the facts behind the proposal: Tolls remain frozen through 2023 and if passed, we will maintain some of the lowest toll rates in the nation. As a tolling authority, we receive no state, federal or local tax dollars to support our operations, and when effective, we will not have had a system-wide toll increase for NY E-ZPass customers in 14 years. This is a responsible financial plan to ensure the Authority will meet its growing capital and infrastructure needs for a system that is approaching 70 years in age.”