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Thruway cancels plans to raise tolls on trucks

Jacob Enos

Updated: Tues. 2:55 p.m. with correction.

The New York Thruway Authority has rescinded a controversial 45 percent truck toll hike proposal, saying it intends to cut costs instead.Thruway Executive Director Tom Madison, at an announcement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday, said the authority scrapped plans for the truck toll hike, and will economize instead.

Some authority workers will be laid off 361 positions will be eliminated and the rest will see their benefits cut. State police will have to fund Thruway patrols themselves, and some state agencies may take over some of the services provided on the canal system, which has been a financial drain on the authority.

The governor says he's pleased. “I thought it  would  be counter-productive form an economic development point of view,” Cuomo said.

The cancelation of the toll hike was heralded by business leaders, who had pushed to see the truck toll increase rescinded.

“We are thankful and relieved,” said president of the New York State Business Council, Heather Briccetti.

“This shows that public advocacy in New York can work and does work,” said Brian Sampson, of the pro-business group Unshackle Upstate.

The toll hike was proposed this summer by the Thruway board. It was said to be essential to shore up the finances of the state authority and avoid an expensive hit to its credit rating.

The toll for a three-axle truck traveling from Buffalo to New York City is about $88. Under the proposal, that would have increased to $127.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.