New York State: Fail

20 Dec

failboat.jpg

The Thruway Authority has unsurprisingly voted to increase tolls along the stretch, claiming that fewer motorists means less toll revenue. Oh, and we need to improve the roadway and pay for the Erie Canal to the tune of $80 million/year.

It now costs $18.50 to get from the Major Deegan to the Ripley exit; $16.66 with an EZ-Pass discount. A discount that the Thruway is, incidentally, cutting in half.

All I know is that when I cross the border on Route 90 into Erie, PA, the road is not only smoother and maintained better, but it’s also gratis.

That’s so I can have the privilege of paying 6% sales tax on my purchases (7% in Philly & Pittsburgh) – except for most clothing – in a state with the 20th highest combined tax burden in the country. (New York is number 2).

And that’s what’s so frustrating. An entity that gives its employees and members free rides on the Thruway, and other perks, spends an inordinate amount of money on self-maintenance. The State DOT is fully capable of maintaining a toll-free state Thruway. The Thruway is one Authority we can do without.

Also – why exactly does the Erie Canal cost $80 million per year to maintain? Are there no savings that can be wrung from that figure?

If we had a tax burden similar to Pennsylvania’s, don’t you think the state as a whole would be significantly better off?

19 Responses to “New York State: Fail”

  1. STEEL December 20, 2007 at 9:20 am #

    Nothing is “gratis”

  2. STEEL December 20, 2007 at 9:21 am #

    Nothing is “gratis”

  3. Rifle Dude December 20, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    How can the Thruway Authority be legally dissolved?

  4. hank December 20, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    I always thought it odd that if you have a U-Haul moving van with a car on a dolly or trailer, you have to take a ticket for the car on the trailer too! Do Semi-Trucks get a ticket for the cab and driver and one for the trailer?

    Last year one of our Corvair Vendors drove from the West Coast to Buffalo on I-90. From what they said, the first place they had to pay on the 2800 mile trip was, of course, the NY State line.

    They should change those signs from “Welcome to New York, The Empire State” to “Welcome to New York–NOW GET YOUR FUCKING WALLET OUT”

    EXCELSIOR!!! Yeah, RIGHT!

  5. mike hudson December 20, 2007 at 10:52 am #

    better watch it guys. when i wrote here of a motor trip over the summer, to detroit and back through pennsylvania, ohio, michigan and ontario, and mentioned that the crummiest stretch of roadway and the only one i had to pay tolls on was here in western new york, some jerk off wanted to argue about it for two days. there have been other trips when i’ve come back into new york and the traffic at the pennsylvania line was backed up worse than at an international border crossing. it will suck worse when it gets more expensive.

    the erie canal was obsolete when it was completed and we’re still paying for it. as cindy adams says, only in new york kids, only in new york.

    niagara falls’ own jeff williams, by the way, was the only commissioner to vote against the increase.

  6. Greg December 20, 2007 at 11:25 am #

    Kudos to Jeff Williams
    we already pay high gas and diesel taxes to pay for roads, I really don’t see why we get soaked on tolls too. And we the heck is the canal under the thruway authority? It should pay for itself, with canal tolls if needed, but drivers shouldn’t have to support it.

  7. Ward December 20, 2007 at 12:18 pm #

    When I drive from Buffalo to Charlotte, to visit some of the ever increasing number of former friends who have moved there, I pay $2.60 in tolls to travel the 70 corrugated miles to the PA state line.
    In order to travel the remaining 590 miles to Charlotte, all on first-class Interstates, I will pay another $2.50 in tolls–to go through the tunnel on I-77 crossing into Virginia.
    My response to the NYSTA–to quote Kevin Bacon in “Animal House”–“Thank you sir, may I have another?”
    Higher tolls = less traffic = higher tolls, etc. ad nauseum.

  8. starbuck December 20, 2007 at 1:03 pm #

    …when I cross the border on Route 90 into Erie, PA, the road is not only smoother and maintained better, but it’s also gratis. …That’s so I can have the privilege of paying 6% sales tax on my purchases (7% in Philly & Pittsburgh) – except for most clothing – in a state with the 20th highest combined tax burden in the country. (New York is number 2). … If we had a tax burden similar to Pennsylvania’s, don’t you think the state as a whole would be significantly better off?

    I wonder if some people (*cough*Colin*cough*) might say Pennsylvania is just another of those states to the south of us whose right wing policies NY should not want to emulate?

  9. Eric P. December 20, 2007 at 1:13 pm #

    $80 Million for the Erie Canal? They could hire a pool service and keep it heated year-round for that kind of money.

  10. Rus Thompson December 20, 2007 at 1:42 pm #

    Minority Leader Jim Tedisco responded to my requests and suggestions to not only stop the toll increase from happening but to also start the process of eliminating the tolls across the thruway system as it should have happened in 96

    First step is to give the Niagara section to the state D.O.T including the Grand Island bridges and eliminating the tolls. When the D.O.T. gets $1.4 Billion to maintain the roads and bridges and none of it gets to the thruway, we have a real problem. $400 Million was to be allocated to the thruway only $19 Million made it and that was for ONE specific project downstate.

    It’s time to hold out Western NY delegation accountable they need to sponsor and co-sponsor legislation to remove the tolls and get rid of the thruway authority. Roads can and should be maintained by the D.O.T. which is solely funded by dedicated taxes we already pay in gas, diesel, highway use taxes, etc. etc. etc. Most all the other state can do it, why can’t we do it here? Are we that special?

    Have you signed the petition? Sign it now at
    http://nogitolls.com/

  11. Frieda December 20, 2007 at 2:01 pm #

    NY State’s major east-west rte the thruway a toll road. PA’s major east-west rte the Turnpike a toll road. Turnpike Cost Pitt to Philly 320 mi approx $19 – 20. Thruway cost Buffalo to major D. 420 mi cost $16.00.????

  12. hank December 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm #

    Frieda
    Your observation is spot on.
    But there ARE other E-W Interstates (80 for example) that are FREE, and do the same thing.

    Can NY say the same?

  13. hank December 20, 2007 at 2:56 pm #

    Ward–your observation is also spot on, I make the trip every year from CLT,the wife usually comes twice a year.

    The WV Expressway is well maintained, and worth the toll for the time it cuts off the trip.
    Frankly NONE of the Interstate Highway System should have a toll on it. Trying to go up 95 from NYC to just north of New Haven is like racing in Nascar, toll stop every 30 miles or so. The PA Turnpike was a State Project, and has a Toll. I-80 is interstate, and no toll.

  14. dougk December 20, 2007 at 3:56 pm #

    hank, toll barriers were removed from i-95 in connecticut in 1985….

  15. Jaquandor December 20, 2007 at 7:25 pm #

    Hank, I-86 across the Southern Tier is toll-free. Not that I’m defending the tolls on I-90. I no longer drive I-90 when traveling east or west from Buffalo. I take one of the many more pleasant highways, like 5, 20, or even 20A. I have come to loathe the Thruway Authority, a body whose only function is to maintain its own existence. Jee-bus.

  16. Eric P. December 20, 2007 at 9:28 pm #

    Rus:

    Thanks for your efforts on this. I’ve signed the petition at

    http://nogitolls.com/

    NYS has literally been “nickel and diming” us to death on the thruway tolls.

  17. TheRover December 20, 2007 at 10:11 pm #

    “when I cross the border on Route 90 into Erie, PA, the road is not only smoother and maintained better, but…..I always think, why the hell go back?”

  18. hank December 21, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    dougk–Last time I was on it was 1980. Thanks for the info, I may be up that way next year.

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