|Gov. and Mrs. Dewey open Thruway, 1954|
While many Upstaters consider New York's economy already dead, billionaire Cuomo donor and Thruway honcho Howard Milstein wants to bury the corpse six feet deeper. Milstein, an influence-buying Manhattan tycoon, wants to raise Thruway truck tolls by a "modest" 45 percent. While we suspect Milstein, Cuomo and their jet-setting pals could care less that about that massive increase in business costs, every penny of which will ultimately be paid by consumers, a handful of drowning New Yorkers are sending up a warning flare.
A major state business group is demanding a thorough audit of the state Thruway Authority before it raises tolls by what the authority called a "modest" 45 percent for larger trucks.
"We will all pay the price for this toll hike if we don't stand up and demand that the Thruway review its own finances before taking money from the rest of us," said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate.
The toll increase on trucks with three or more axles would threaten distribution jobs and increase the costs of food, clothing and other articles hauled by trucks while slowing New York's "tenuous" economic recovery, he said Tuesday.
In what may turn out to be nothing more that a political smokescreen, Democrat New York state comptroller Tom DiNapoli is hinting he may just audit the bloated Thruway Authority's books.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli opened the door to possibly auditing the Thruway Authority's financial books Tuesday as the agency seeks to push through a controversial 45 percent toll hike on trucks.
The comptroller said the agency failed to thoroughly implement many of the recommendations he made in 2009 when it pushed through a previous toll increase. Had the findings from that audit been followed, he said, "many of the same problems that exist today would have been addressed.''
"Our Thruway system helps sustain the upstate economy. Increasing tolls could have a negative impact on our fragile economic recovery and hurt small businesses and consumers,'' the comptroller warned.
Bold added. A few surviving Upstate residents may recall that Thruway tolls were supposed to disappear when the bonds were paid off in 1996.
The Thruway was built beginning in the 1950s and tolls were supposed to have paid off the superhighway in 1996.
Ah, yes, 1996: