Clearly, the plan never panned out. And there are some decent reasons for that. Road maintenance and construction is not cheap — the annual cost of handling I-190 in Buffalo is about $14 million, for example. If the cost of maintaining the entire 570 miles of the Thruway were shifted to the taxpayer, it would either be cataclysmic from an economic standpoint or the road would have to be left to deteriorate to dust.
Perhaps even more troubling than the numbers is the way in which this latest hike was put forward. The Authority scheduled three public hearings on the topic in Buffalo, Syracuse and Downstate. Notice anyplace missing? Assemblymen James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, and Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose, held a local hearing that, while an excellent idea and important gesture, is sadly unlikely to effect change.
A big part of the problem is the unaccountability afforded by the Thruway Authority. Can you name a member of the Board of Directors? That is why New Yorkers should wholeheartedly support a proposal by Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, that would shift the power to increase tolls to the state legislature. Some might feel that is the path to true folly, but at least the citizenry would have the capacity to react to these tolls at the voting booth instead of merely producing their checkbooks.