State must put an end?to rising Thruway tolls

A recent article about the Thruway toll increase for trucks of 45 percent was described by the Thruway Authority as "modest." It is likely that a rise in tolls for autos will soon follow, having not been ruled out by the authority.

At the public hearing held in Buffalo, a speaker quoting an organization called FAIR spoke of broken promises. Money that had been allocated for projects in Western New York somehow got diverted downstate. I spoke of the other broken promises. I recall one that said after a set number of years, there would be no tolls on the Thruway.

Another speaker said there were more than 500 administrators, supervisors and managers within the Thruway framework - almost one per mile. None of the three Thruway representatives present reacted to this statement, nor did they refute it. Perhaps it is true.

In a handout distributed that evening, the authority stated that even with the increase in tolls, the Thruway tolls would still be less than toll roads in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. What they did not say was that the tolls would be higher than all the other 47 states, some of which have no toll roads. It was suggested that perhaps those states should be called and asked, "How do you do it?" The stretch from Buffalo to Ripley, about 70 miles, costs me more in tolls than the remaining tolls combined through seven states in the 1,200-mile trip to Florida. (Fuel is also more expensive here than those other seven states, but that's an entirely different story.)

The handout also touted the safety of the Thruway, but then compared it to all other highways, not just interstates. This smacks of smoke-and-mirror chicanery and is deceiving, if not dishonest. We cannot continue the "business as usual" way of doing things. Many aspects of New York State's public agencies and authorities have to be fully scrutinized.

Peter J. Plumpis