BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — "Typically, the summer months are when most people make their travel plans and this savings will encourage tourism in our upstate areas. These active months are important for local businesses, and we must do all we can to encourage economic activity when they need it the most," said New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, who proposed the bill.
The goal of the project is to spur economic activity, encourage tourism, and give some relief to those traveling long distances with high gas prices.
"This investment will not only help get our economy moving this summer but will also help reduce the cost of shipping and deliveries, and gives middle class working families a break, especially commuters here in the Capital Region," said Santabarbara.
Here's how it works (if it passes):
- Throughout the summer months (June, July, and August) all toll stations located on the New York State Thruway would be inoperable - they won't charge for crossing.
On the other hand, the New York State Thruway Authority is heavily against the bill.
“Removing tolls would cut off the only dedicated revenue stream used to maintain and operate our 570-mile system each and every day. The Thruway is a user-fee system supported by tolls paid by the people who use it, and not one cent of local or state taxpayer dollars pays to operate or maintain it. Roughly one-third of motorists on the Thruway in the summer months are out of state drivers, so removing tolls gives them a free pass and shifts the cost to hard working New York taxpayers. Our revenue must come from somewhere, and we think the fairest approach is that only those who use the Thruway, pay for it," said Johnathan Dougherty, the Deputy Director of Media Relations at the NYS Thruway Authority.
Typically, road tolls are utilized in things like maintenance, construction projects and other day to day operations.
It is expected that the bill will come to a vote in the next coming weeks.