Fear and loathing at the tollbooths

Thruway Authority says toll hike on passenger cars out of question

— Agency representatives then clarified “all options” doesn’t include passenger cars.

“We are not considering a toll increase on passenger cars,” said Dan Weiler, a spokesman for the Thruway Authority. “It was never part of our proposal and we are not considering it now.”

Upstate Republicans have consistently bemoaned any toll increase.

“A toll increase of any kind on cars or trucks is unacceptable,” Tedisco said, “especially in this difficult economy and when report after report has outlined the rampant incompetence and mismanagement by the Thruway Authority.”

Assemblymen Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose, expressed a similar sentiment. He and Tedisco have been releasing regular joint press releases for months.

“These arrogant, unresponsive bureaucrats just don’t get it,” McLaughlin said in a statement. “It does not matter who the NYSTA raises tolls on because, ultimately, it’s the consumer that pays the price.”

Assemblyman-elect Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, also criticized the proposed toll increase during his campaign.

“Any new taxes or fees, like the proposed toll hike, are bad for businesses and bad for families,” Santabarbara said in a statement. “This quasi-government entity needs to learn how to do more with less just like families have been doing for years.”

The cost for a large truck to go from Buffalo to New York City is currently $88 and under the proposed increase the cost would total around $127.

The agency is implementing $100 million in operational cost savings over the next three years, while cutting $300 million from its 2012-15 Capital Plan. It is also securing $100 million in federal aid for the state over the next three years.

Thomas Madison, executive director of the Thruway Authority, said costs saving measures aren’t being widely reported.

“We have taken a hard look and continue to do so internally,” Madison said. “We are streamlining the way our work is done internally and trying to get our house in order at the same time we are exploring alternatives to this proposed toll adjustment.”

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