Meeting on Thruway Toll Hike Postponed

November 9, 2012 Updated Nov 9, 2012 at 6:07 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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November 9, 2012 Updated Nov 9, 2012 at 6:07 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The New York State Thruway Authority was expected to raise tolls on truckers in a meeting Friday afternoon, but just hours before, the meeting was rescheduled. Now truckers and the everyday consumer that would be affected have to wait a few more days to learn their fate.

Forty five percent is how much more truckers could have to pay to drive the NYS Thruway, a way of generating revenue for road construction.

But among the trucking community, the toll is drawing plenty of criticism.

"Absolutely it's going to affect the prices. We can't afford to do the work and not pay our bills, and we can't operate at a loss," Jonathon Price of Price Trucking said.

"We're here to try to pay our bills and make money and if we can't do that, then there's no sense even doing the loads."

But it's not just the truckers that could be affected if the toll hike passes. Dr. William Ganley is a Professor of Economics at Buffalo State College who says these prices get passed down.

"Any food products being hauled are going to see a bump in prices, gasoline that's being hauled is going to see a bump in prices. There is no substitute for food, there is no substitute for gasoline. So the consumer is going to end up paying that," Dr. Ganley said.

But what does 45% more for a truck mean to the average shopper at the grocery store?

"There's a very good chance that if you're paying a dollar for a loaf of bread, you should be paying closer to a dollar forty, a dollar forty five, a very good chance that would happen," Ganley added.

The state could also face losing revenue by truckers who reroute to other roads to avoid the Thruway and the tolls.

"So that'll become more revenue for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority, not the New York State Thruway Authority," Dr. Ganley said.

Our calls to the State Thruway Authority asking why the meeting was postponed were not returned. That meeting has been rescheduled for next Tuesday at 11:30, leaving truck drivers and consumers to wait it out.

"If it's going to pass, we're just going to have to adjust our business accordingly," Jonathan Price said.

The timing of this proposed hike is also being questioned. Dr. Bill Ganley called it "odd at best," while so much attention is being paid downstate to storm relief efforts and the national eye on the so-called "fiscal cliff."

"This is going to be almost as bad as the so-called fiscal cliff to consumers in New York State," Ganley said.

So what else can be done? The Thruway Authority needs money for construction, and truckers don't want to bear the burden. The alternative still isn't good news for drivers.

"A fairer way in some respects would be for tolls to go up a little bit more for everybody," Dr. Ganley stated.

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