Pressure ends toll hike; Tappan Zee moves ahead - New York News

Pressure ends toll hike; Tappan Zee moves ahead

Posted: Updated:

By MICHAEL GORMLEY | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York on Monday dropped its proposal for a 45-percent increase in the state Thruway toll for truckers following pressure by an upstate business group, consumers and Republicans, while advancing a $3.14 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York City's northern suburbs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the reversal on the toll proposal made in May by the Thruway Authority headed by Cuomo's appointees. Cuomo had publicly distanced himself from the increase proposal, saying it had to be a last resort.

Cuomo said Monday that no Thruway toll increase is expected to be part of the authority's fiscal plans covering the next three years.

Thruway Executive Director Thomas Madison said the toll increase was avoided by cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses, passing some of it along to the state budget directly funded by taxpayers. That includes $60 million a year the Thruway had paid from its tolls since 1954 to pay for state police Troop T, which patrols the statewide highway. The patrols won't change.

The New York State Motor Truck Association said the toll increase would have hit all New Yorkers.

"The hike would have devastated the entire state's economy and nullified any attempts by the governor and the legislature to make New York 'open for business,'" the association's Kendra Hems said.

The political fight was led by upstate Republican assemblymen, including James Tedisco of Schenectady County, who called the authority diabolical and accused it of operating as a secret government.

"The most important thing is trying to help the businesses and consumers of our state — that's what it's all about," said Assembly Republican leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua. "This is a big first step."

The Unshackle Upstate business group said the proposed toll increase would have done "tremendous damage to the upstate economy."

"The announcement today is a clear indication that public advocacy is alive and well in New York," said the group's executive director, Brian Sampson. "We're proud to have worked with a large coalition of elected officials, business groups, trade organizations and toll payers in opposing the proposed toll hike."

The group accused the authority of trying to quietly approve the toll hike by holding summer hearings that usually generate little attendance, calling meetings without providing an agenda then canceling the meetings after the sessions were reported in the news media.

The Thruway had reported in the spring that a "modest" 45-percent increase in the toll for truckers to raise $90 million was unavoidable because the alternative would be a hit to its credit rating, which could have drastically increased borrowing costs. Madison now says the new business plan to reverse what he and Cuomo called years of mismanagement under previous administrations will protect the authority's credit rating.

Despite a voluminous study that supported the toll increase in the spring, Madison said Monday that toll is no longer necessary.

"I thought it would be counterproductive from an economic development perspective," Cuomo said Monday. "I think the increase would send the wrong signal."

Cuomo said the increase would have stepped on his administration's message of creating a "new New York" aimed at building a better economy and future, which includes the Tappan Zee project.

The bridge proposal endorsed by Madison on Monday, and expected to be formally adopted by the Thruway board, is the least expensive and has the fastest construction schedule of three bids that were accepted. The $5 toll is still expected to nearly triple. The bid also dredges the least from the Hudson River.

The other projects were priced at $3.99 billion and nearly $4.06 billion. The final cost will be higher because of management costs, contingencies and other costs which would have been equal under any of the proposals, Madison said.

The differences in the bids were mostly in how the bridge will look.

The state is waiting on a decision from the federal government on a request for a loan that could cover $2.9 billion of the cost. The Obama administration rejected New York's application a year ago, but invited the state to reapply. That was viewed as a positive sign in Albany.

  • TrafficMore>>

  • Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:02:29 GMT
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
  • 2 upper level GWB east lanes closed for repairs

    2 upper level GWB east lanes closed for repairs

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:19 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:19:59 GMT
    Workers have closed two upper level eastbound lanes on the George Washington Bridge for emergency repairs. The closures affect New York City bound motorists. Officials expect the lanes will remain closed until 3 p.m. Tuesday. Motorists heading into New York City should use the lower level or consider alternate Hudson River crossings.
    Workers have closed two upper level eastbound lanes on the George Washington Bridge for emergency repairs. The closures affect New York City bound motorists. Officials expect the lanes will remain closed until 3 p.m. Tuesday. Motorists heading into New York City should use the lower level or consider alternate Hudson River crossings.
  • Funeral held for NJ cop killed in crash

    Funeral held for NJ cop killed in crash

    Thousands gathered in northern New Jersey on Tuesday to remember Police Officer Christopher Goodell.   SkyFox HD was over the funeral procession into St. Luke's Church in Ho-Ho-Kus. Mourners including police officers from across the state lined the driveway of the church as the service began for the Waldwick officer killed by a tractor-trailer last week.
    Thousands gathered in northern New Jersey on Tuesday to remember Police Officer Christopher Goodell.   SkyFox HD was over the funeral procession into St. Luke's Church in Ho-Ho-Kus. Mourners including police officers from across the state lined the driveway of the church as the service began for the Waldwick officer killed by a tractor-trailer last week.
  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Poll: It doesn't take money to be stylish

    Poll: It doesn't take money to be stylish

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-07-22 10:53:49 GMT
    A new Marist College poll finds most Americans say it doesn't take a lot of money to be stylish. The nationwide poll by the Hudson Valley college found 86 percent of respondents said it was possible to be stylish on a limited budget. The other 14 percent agreed with the statement that it's only possible to have good style with a lot of money. The poll also found that 68 percent of Americans think we focus too much on fashion.
    A new Marist College poll finds most Americans say it doesn't take a lot of money to be stylish. The nationwide poll by the Hudson Valley college found 86 percent of respondents said it was possible to be stylish on a limited budget. The other 14 percent agreed with the statement that it's only possible to have good style with a lot of money. The poll also found that 68 percent of Americans think we focus too much on fashion.

  • NY ranks among top 5 states for kids' health

    NY ranks among top 5 states for kids' health

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:33 AM EDT2014-07-22 10:33:17 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    New York ranks among the top five states for children's health, according to the 25th edition of the Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report released Tuesday looks at data from 1990 that show the major trends in child well-being, and recent trends that compare data from 2005 to 2012. New York showed improvement in all eight categories of health and education for children.
    New York ranks among the top five states for children's health, according to the 25th edition of the Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report released Tuesday looks at data from 1990 that show the major trends in child well-being, and recent trends that compare data from 2005 to 2012. New York showed improvement in all eight categories of health and education for children.
  • Repaving of Palisades Parkway begins

    Repaving of Palisades Parkway begins

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:42:19 GMT
    Crews have begun repaving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The last time such work was done on the road, which links New York state to the George Washington Bridge, was the mid-1990s.
    Crews have begun repaving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The last time such work was done on the road, which links New York state to the George Washington Bridge, was the mid-1990s.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices