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Zack Hutchins
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For Release — Friday, April 15, 2005

COUNCIL OPPOSES THRUWAY TOLL HIKES, ARGUING THAT THEY WOULD
DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECT BUSINESS AND UNDERMINE COMPETITIVENESS


ALBANY—Proposed increases in New York State Thruway tolls would unfairly burden commercial traffic and would seriously undermine the competitiveness of New York State businesses, The Business Council has told the Thruway Authority.

The proposed toll increase would hit commercial vehicles with a much higher percentage increase than passenger vehicles, the statement said. Passenger vehicles would pay a 25 percent increase in tolls. Commercial vehicles face an increase that has been estimated at 35 percent but which would actually be much higher, the Council said in a formal statement of opposition to the toll increases sent April 14 to the state Thruway Authority.

This disproportionate increase ignores past toll structures which had already established a differential for the increased wear resulting from commercial vehicles, the statement added.

"Several Business Council member firms have testified that they will routinely face 60 to 80 percent increases in toll charges under the proposal," the statement said. "A simple example of this is a comparison between a trip from Albany’s exit 23 to Geneva’s exit 42. Under the current structure, the Class 1 automobile toll is $5.75 while the Class 5 truck toll is $22.25."

The proposed toll increase would mean a commercial vehicle would pay $36.50 for the same trip, a 64 percent increase, the statement said. Even if commercial drivers purchased an EZ Pass, the proposal would still increase the toll to $34.68, "an equally budget-busting 56 percent."

"These are simply unacceptable rates of increase that will seriously affect the competitiveness of New York’s businesses," the statement added.

Maintaining a sound transportation infrastructure in New York is vital to businesses and consumers, but the proposed toll increases would seriously decrease businesses’ ability to affordably transport goods, the Council said.

In its statement, the Council also argued that:

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