The Thruway Authority meets at 11 a.m. today and is expected to vote in favor of dumping much of an E-Z Pass discount in July and then raising toll 5 percent in 2009 and again in 2010 as part of a $2.7 billion plan to improve the superhighway.
The meeting can be watched online here.
“The Thruway toll increase is unfair to drivers who are being asked to tighten their belts everyday in these troubled economic times,” Paterson said. “I have asked my agencies for across-the-board cuts of 3.35 percent in their operations. I am also undertaking a comprehensive review of the budget to further reduce spending.”
“For the authority to increase tolls now, and also plan 5 percent increases in the following two years without a commitment to take every possible step to reduce spending, runs against the state’s goal of fiscal restraint in the face of a national economic downturn.”
DiNapoli, who issued an audit in January that found the Thruway Authority should review its finances before raising tolls, had similar warnings.
“The Thruway Board should not raise tolls now. The last thing upstate New Yorkers need now that gas is approaching $4-a-gallon is another tax increase disguised as a toll hike,” he said.
“The upstate economy already faces enough challenges without increasing the cost of moving everything from lumber to milk. Our audit released in January revealed opportunities for cost-savings and efficiencies, and we urge the Thruway to act on our audit’s recommendations and do more. My office continues to dig deeper into Thruway operations, and we urge Governor Paterson and the Legislature to do the same.”