Letter to the Editor: NYS Thruway Authority Committee on Tolls Should Look Into System Wide Equity

Tappan Zee Bridge toll revenueTo the Editor:

Recently, Governor Cuomo received well deserved praise when he objected to the possible  $14 tolls on the new Tappan Zee bridge.

The Governor called on the NY State Thruway Authority to form a committee to look for ways to make tolls on the bridge affordable for working people. It’s my hope that when the committee is appointed members will look into the issue of Thruway system wide equity. Being for Thruway system wide equity should not be interpreted as being anti new bridge. What we’re seeking is fairness–statewide fairness!

PROBLEM: Tappan Zee Bridge Toll money will still be used to pay for Thruway system-wide projects, while no system-wide toll revenue is used for the Bridge.

Only the “additional toll revenue or any toll increase at the Tappan Zee Bridge will be used for the new structure and potential other transportation needs in the region”. There is no definition of the rather broad “other transportation needs” and more importantly, no definition of what constitutes “the region”.

Current Bridge toll revenue will continue to be used for upstate projects even though the toll has to be raised to pay for a new bridge! All the revenue should be used if there is such a need to raise the toll from $5 to $14!  My guess is that tolls on the Tappan Zee bridge won’t have to go up to $14 with system wide equity.

PROBLEM: Toll revenue collected downstate at Yonkers, New Rochelle, Spring Valley, Woodbury/Harriman. Newburgh and New Paltz (the Thruway’s New York Division) will continue to pay for upstate projects. Still no revenue from upstate tolls for the Bridge.

PROBLEM: The additional Tappan Zee Bridge toll revenue will also be used to pay for bridge and roadway projects along up to 103 miles of Thruway “REGIONAL” roads, or possibly more, including the New England Thruway, Cross Westchester Expressway, Garden State Parkway Connector, and the Thruway Mainline from Yonkers to Nyack/Woodbury/Newburgh/New Paltz. This will also relieve the Thruway of its responsibilities to use system-wide funds, thereby freeing up more money for upstate projects at the expense of Tappan Zee Bridge users.

Hope this helps show the need for system-wide equity, which was the purpose for which the Legislature established the Thruway. Perhaps Legislative action is required to preserve System-wide equity.

Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
914 438 1343

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