ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — State Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) is challenging the Thruway Authority, calling on legislation to take control of Thruway tolls out of the hands of the Thruway Authority.
Legislation he is proposing, if passed, would require any increases to be approved by the state Legislature.
“The Thruway Grinch is back! New Yorkers already have it tough this holiday season with the highest inflation in over 40 years causing higher prices for gas, home heating, groceries, computers, automobiles, lumber and just about every good and service," Tedisco said in a statement. "The last thing they need is a giant lump of coal under the Christmas tree in the form of higher Thruway tolls – especially for those who can least afford it, our middle-and-lower-income drivers."
A spokesperson for the Thruway Authority said the only way the Thruway gets funding is through its tolls.
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The Thruway Authority does not receive any local, state or federal dollars to fund operations or infrastructure updates.
In a statement, the spokesperson said: "Here are the facts behind the proposal: Tolls remain frozen through 2023 and if passed, we will maintain some of the lowest toll rates in the nation. As a tolling authority, we receive no state, federal or local tax dollars to support our operations, and when effective, we will not have had a system-wide toll increase for NY E-ZPass customers in 14 years. This is a responsible financial plan to ensure the Authority will meet its growing capital and infrastructure needs for a system that is approaching 70 years in age."
Tedisco's proposed legislation is still in committee.
On Wednesday, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) reacted by introducing a bill that would call for a two-year freeze on any toll hikes, taking to Twitter to call on the freeze.
MORE: Lawmaker criticizes toll hike; Thruway Authority says NY tolls one of the lowest in the US
This was met with a response from Thruway Authority tweeting that tolls are frozen statewide through 2023. If passed, this would be the first increase for NY E-ZPass customers in 14 years. As an example, a 5% increase traveling from exit 25 to 23 would be an increase of $0.03 through 2027. Tolls remain some of the lowest in the US.
The Thruway Authority said the toll hikes are necessary to meet its growing capital and infrastructure needs for a system that is approaching 70 years in age.