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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

February 16, 2000

Faso: State can avoid Thruway toll hike by returning canal to state

Assembly Minority Leader John Faso says the state Thruway Authority would need no toll hike if it gave responsibility for state canal operations back to the state.

On Tuesday, Governor Pataki asked the Thruway Authority to reconsider its proposed toll increase.

"The Governor has asked us to look at alternatives to toll increases to fund vital capital projects on the Thruway, and we are doing so," Thruway Authority Chairman Lou Tomson said.

Giving canal operations to the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation would save the Thruway Authority $55 million a year, making toll increases unnecessary and paving the way for needed capital improvements to the Thruway, Faso said Tuesday.

Administration of the canal system, including responsibility for capital improvements, was transferred to the Thruway Authority in 1992, and Thruway tolls now are the primary support for the canal system, Faso said.

"Putting the canal system under the Thruway Authority was a Cuomo-era fiscal contrivance that unnecessarily drains Thruway resources," Faso said.