Updated 09/05/2012 05:33 PM
Business leaders slam proposed Thruway toll hike
A proposed toll hike on the Thruway is drawing the ire of local business leaders. Our Lori Chung explains why they say consumers will ultimate have to foot the bill.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Forty-five percent is huge to us," said David Golub. "That is worth more than a quarter of a million dollars per year just on our trucking alone."
Price Chopper Senior VP David Golub says with its warehouses, located in Schenectady, and stores throughout the state, there's no way for the grocery chain to avoid traveling the Thruway, calling a proposed 45 percent toll hike on commercial vehicles disastrous for businesses and ultimately consumers.
"People will be paying more for food prices, they'll be paying more for anything that travels on the New York State Thruway," said Golub.
A contingent of republican lawmakers gathered comments from Golub and more than two dozen other business leaders Thursday. Legislators critical that of the three public hearings that the Thruway held on the proposed hikes, none were held in the Capital Region.
"We're going to send it to the governor, we're going to send it to our leaders and our colleagues and we're going to send it to the Thruway [Authority]," said Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
But facing a budget crunch, Thruway officials say the hike is only fair. Executive Director Thomas J. Madison released a statement saying, "the proposed toll increase is targeted to address the inequality that exists between cars and large commercial trucks, which put thousands of times more wear and tear on the road but are charged only five times as much as passenger vehicles."
Reps also say the thruway went without any toll increases from 1988 until 2005. That put a strain on the Authority which doesn't get state dollars and is financed entirely by tolls. The hike would bring in an estimated $85 million a year. But critics maintain that if the tolls are approved, it will stifle the state economy.