New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahan, who serves as the Senate Majority Liaison to the Executive Branch, today announced that the State Senate Majority Conference has called on Governor Spitzer to "vigorously and unequivocally" reject the New York State Thruway Authority's plan to increase tolls and roll back EZ-Pass discounts for millions of commuters, commercial truckers and tourists who utilize the Thruway on a regular basis.
"An increase in Thruway tolls would run directly counter to the Senate Majority’s efforts to help strengthen and revitalize the economy of the Hudson Valley and Upstate New York, while also imposing a significant new financial burden on millions of New Yorkers who are already struggling to cope with record-high gas prices," said Senator Morahan.
The proposed new toll increase would come on top of the Authority’s previous series of toll increases, the last phase of which is still to be implemented in January of 2008.
In their communication with the Governor, the Senate Majority Conference indicated that a new toll increase, especially when coupled with escalating gas prices, could lead to a further decline in Thruway utilization. The Senators indicated the increases "would not only lead to a related decline in Thruway revenues, but would also present additional problems for many Upstate communities that have already been impacted by commercial vehicles, commuters and other motorists that seek alternate routes on local roads."
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently agreed to a request by the Senate Majority Conference to conduct a complete audit on the NYS Thruway Authority’s revenue projections, operations and capital plan to help determine whether the Authority’s most recent proposed toll increase is indeed necessary or advisable.
"At a minimum, the Senate Majority Conference is urging the Governor to direct the Thruway Authority Board to place its plans on hold until such time as the Comptroller’s audit is completed," said Morahan.