New York Thruway Toll Increase Proposal: Between the Lines
I went through the eighty page report for the bottom line
and propagandic statements and found these:
The overall growth in recent years,
has exceeded that of other northeast toll
roads. Assuming that the
national economic conditions will improve in the next few years, the
long-term past growth trend is expected to continue,
somewhat dampened considering the increasing severity and duration of
congestion at many
locations. The future
growth in passenger car revenues from 2005 to 2010 is estimated to be 2.6
percent annually on the controlled system and about 1.9 percent at the
what they are saying:
The "many locations" in question should be upgraded to accomodate
the increase of use therefore completely removing any chance of
"the increasing severity and duration of congestion".
This should not even be an
issue. They don't plan on expanding the roadway in whole or part.
The entire length of the New York Thruway should be, at minimum, no less
than three travel lanes in each direction. The Thruway is outmoded,
When the Authority instituted the last toll rate adjustment in 1988,
it was with the full understanding that the adjustments had been designed
to last for eight years and that further adjustments would be required in
tolls continued. The
anticipated toll adjustments must now be made to provide some $979.5
million in additional toll revenue through 2010 in order to complete the
capital program as described in Section III and to meet Thruway revenue
needs and the requirements of the Bond Resolution.
what they are saying: one of the scenarios was removal of the
thruway authority and it was quickly squashed
With the exception of the Spring Valley and Tappan Zee changes noted
above, the Thruway tolls have not changed since 1988. In the sixteen
years since, the CPI index for the local area has increased over 64
percent. In the same period the cost of postage for a first class letter
has increased over 57 percent, and the price of a copy of the weekday New
York Times is now 150 percent higher than it was in 1988.
what they are saying: the thruway needs more money to
keep itself from looking like an unviable option.
The adjustments, which are proposed for implementation, are designed to
reflect the advantages of encouraging greater use of E-ZPass, with the
basic EZPass toll initially ten percent below the cash toll for passenger
vehicles and five percent for commercial vehicles. Further, the
adjustments recognize the need to minimize the impact on frequent users
by retaining the annual permit and the current discount from the cash
rate for those currently taking advantage of the commuter rates on the
bridges, and by establishing new commuter programs at the other toll
barriers which will allow frequent users to continue to travel at the
current toll levels.
what they are saying: people who have no other means but
our roadway will get a break. People who use EZ-Pass, which allows
us to not hire toll takers, saves us money,
allows us to track users for efficient data and record keeping which can
save us money and help us sell Thruway services better, will be
discounted over cash users. Less privacy in lieu of the higher cost of tolls
is something most people will accept to be able to pay less.
2005 Passenger Car Toll Adjustments
The passenger car increase proposed in 2005 for customers paying cash,
those electing not to use E-ZPass, would be 25 percent. Those with
E-ZPass, generally the more frequent users, would receive a ten percent
discount, and the
increase for these customers would be approximately 12.5 percent above
the current rate. The increase for those currently taking advantage of
the discounted annual permit would also be 25 percent. The current
commuter discounts would be maintained or increased at the bridge
facilities, and new commuter programs would be established at the fixed
toll barriers, which would allow frequent users to travel at existing
what they are saying: cash has no paper trail, users who
pay in this form cannot be easily tracked, and it slows
down our system, so we will surcharge for its use.
2008 Passenger Car Toll Adjustments
In 2008 the basic cash toll would increase by 10 percent over the rates
then in effect. Toll rates for all other Thruway users, however, would
not increase as there would be no change in the E-ZPass toll rates, the
or the cost of the annual permit.
what they're saying: by 2008 no one better be using
Changes in toll revenues will result from adjustments to the toll
rates as well as the impact of driversí reactions to the proposed
modification in rates. These reactions may be to avoid the Thruway
because the cost of using some sections of the highway will increase, or to decide to take advantage of
the discounts available with E-ZPass and various commuter plans. Whenever
tolls are increased at a vehicular toll facility, there usually is some
initial traffic loss by reason
diversions to other
of trips, or elimination of trips. Potential traffic losses due to higher
tolls were estimated based on previous experience on the Thruway when
tolls were raised, and on recent experience on other toll facilities. The
losses are expected to be relatively small considering that
Thruway offers large travel time advantages over the nearby
excellent services, and the fact that the Thruway tolls, even after the
adjustments, generally will be lower than on most toll facilities in the
Northeast. The potential traffic losses due to the increases are expected
to range from one to three percent at all facilities as a result of the
increase. In many cases a facility will continue to show year-over-year
traffic growth after a toll increase. This occurs when background traffic
growth exceeds the estimated loss in traffic due to the toll increase.
Many of the Thruway tolling locations are expected to exhibit this
behavior. In the long term, normal growth patterns will return to all
what they are saying: New York state's roadway system,
as a whole, exhibits a lack of redundancy which places a higher
responsibility onto the Thruway System.
This is how we justify our existence.
The bonds taken out to finance the
original construction and maintenance of the New York State Thruway in the
1950s have been
paid off since the early 1980's. It was at that time that the tolls were
to have been removed. However, rather than turn over the Thruway to D.O.T.
with all debts satisfied, the Thruway continued to collect tolls throughout the
80's, poorly maintained the roadway, had catastrophic roadway failures as a
result, and then issued new bonds to stay in existence.
What really needs to be done here is another roadway constructed to compliment
the Thruway across New York, or, the New York State Thruway Authority to be
abolished and dismantled, and all assets and the roads of which it has
authority transferred to the New York Department of Transportation.
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