Bill introduced to suspend Thruway tolls. How does the Hudson Valley feel about this?
A New York assemblyman has introduced a bill that would temporarily eliminate tolls on the Thruway.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara says the bill would allow toll-free travel on thruways during June, July and August using surplus dollars expected in the state budget.
The New York State Thruway Authority released the following statement: “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.”
Keyth Krovoth crosses the bridge from New Jersey into Westchester and spends around $120 a month. "I commute every day Monday through Friday. So if I got a break over the summer, I'd greatly appreciate that," says Krovoth.
Santabarbara believes eliminating Thruway tolls for summer months will give a boost to tourism and travel while also helping small businesses. "That's very smart, because you know we're trying to vacation this summer, get people going to travel and not worry about paying the price," says Krovath.
The high gas prices are also taking a toll on people's moods. "I think everybody is looking forward to having a summer where they're out and about, and with the gas prices being so high I think it would help out a lot," says John Ranagan, of Tarrytown.
Vinny Campagniolo, from Putnam Valley, says the pros outweigh the cons. "If you're going to get more people moving around and it’s going to help the taxpayers here, I think it's a win/win."