Welcome to the Finger Lakes! Our theme song:

In a town this size, there's no place to hide
Everywhere you go, you meet someone you know...
In a smokey bar, in the backseat of your car
In your own little house, someone's sure to find you out
What you do and what you think
What you eat and what you drink...

(Kieran Kane)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cuomo backing off thruway toll hike?

The two-lane is still toll-free!

Second generation New York governor Andy Cuomo has been supporting the absolute necessity of billionaire Howie Milstein's "modest" 45 percent Thruway truck toll hike. 
“The Thruway Authority has to be financially capable,” Cuomo said in an interview Friday on public radio’s “Capitol Connection.” He said the authority created to operate the statewide system decades ago must be able to meet its debt payments from capital borrowing. Compared to other states, Cuomo said, truck tolls “are not that high.”
The toll for a three-axle truck traveling from Buffalo to New York City is about $88. That could increase to $127.
We're not sure that Andy's view from his cozy Albany/Washington bubble allows him to understand how increasing Thruway tolls forces more traffic onto rural two lane roads, resulting in more traffic deaths for his Upstate constituents.  Perhaps Andy's presidential aspirations have cleared his head, however, as yesterday the millionaire career politician seemed to backing off a bit.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday agreed a toll increase must be a last resort, but he said the Thruway Authority run by his appointees need to make sure it is fiscally secure enough to pay its contracted debt. Mr. Cuomo also said public hearings under way are also considering the option of raising tolls for passenger cars as a way to spread the burden. Car tolls were last raised in 2010.
"The first question for them is, can they find more efficiencies?" Mr. Cuomo said. "The economy isn't coming back. The answer can't be more taxes. So the answer must be finding a way to run that organization more efficiently."
So car tolls haven't been raised since 2010?  Most Upstaters, if they're still employed at all, haven't had a raise since 2008.  We predict these outcomes:  higher tolls for trucks, higher tolls for cars, higher salaries for Thruway employees, and higher accident rates for Finger Lakes roads.

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