April 22, 2005
Thruway Authority announces revised proposal for thruway toll increase
Responding to criticism from The Business Council and others, the state Thruway Authority has revised a proposal that would increase tolls on the state's thruway system, according to a release from the New York State Thruway Authority.
“The amended proposal that we will present to the board for approval is the result of a public input process that worked,” said Michael Fleischer, executive director of the state Thruway Authority. “The board directed us to address significant concerns raised during the public hearing process, and this revised proposal accomplishes that and results in a more balanced plan.”
"We’re pleased that the Thruway Authority listened to the business community’s arguments that these increases would be more than 35 percent for businesses and needed to be phased in more gradually," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "No one likes increases, but major inequities in the original proposal seem to have been addressed."
The Council had expressed serious concerns with the proposed toll increase in a formal statement of opposition sent to the Thruway Authority on April 14.
The proposed toll increase would hit commercial vehicles with a much higher percentage increase than passenger vehicles, the Council's 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 and this disproportionate increase ignores past toll structures which had already established a differential for the increased wear resulting from commercial vehicles, the statement added.
The Authority said to day that to address the "inequities" that concerned The Business Council and other groups, the proposed hike has been restructured and would now grant non-tandem commercial vehicles additional EZ-pass discounts. The new discounts would bring the vehicles ' EZ-Pass increase to 28 percent, the release said.
"After these adjustments are made, approximately 85 percent of all commercial vehicles with E-ZPass will pay the effective E-ZPass increase of 28 percent," the release added. The remaining 15 percent of commercial vehicles that are considered passanger vehicles under current classifications, the release said.
The new proposal would also phase in the increases for commercial customers with a volume discount structure, the release said. "That will reduce the effective toll increase on commercial charge account customers to approximately 13.5 percent in 2005 and would decrease this discount to a level where the effective toll increase would approximate 20.7 percent for 2006 and thereafter."
The Thruway Authority's press release on the revamped proposal is at www.thruway.state.ny.us/news/pressrel/2005/04/2005-04-22-toll-adjustment.html.