Emphasizing the impact it will have on the trucking industry and small business, and its overall ramifications on the economy, state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney on Wednesday denounced the proposed toll hikes for tractor trailers traveling the New York State Thruway.
Tenney conducted a press conference at Interchange 30 in Herkimer where she asked for others to “oppose this job killing toll hike” by attending one of the three public hearings being led by the Thruway Authority in Buffalo, Syracuse and Newburgh, or to submit something in writing by Aug. 24.
“Small businesses rely on the trucking industry,” said Tenney, R,C,I - New Hartford. “This is going to be a huge increase in the cost of doing business.”
The fees that would be imposed on commercial vehicles with three or more axles would be a 45 percent increase on the tolls they currently pay. Tenney called this hike “staggering.”
“The cost of this toll hike will almost certainly be passed directly on to consumers who will ultimately pay more for food and durable goods,” she said in a news release. “It will kill jobs, devastate the trucking industry and send a clear message that New York is not open for business.”
Tenney said what will happen instead will be carriers — who plan out their routes ahead of time — will avoid the Thruway, which will lead to heavier traffic on local roads not built for the load.
She said this will subsequently impact municipalities who will have to repair these damaged roads.
“My mission in the Assembly and as a business owner is to deliver goods and services,” said Tenney. “It’s one of the critical issues we face and it’s causing businesses to leave New York state.”
According to information provided by Tenney’s office, the state Motor Truck Association says New York is the second most expensive state to operate a truck. The state and federal user fees paid annually per truck in New York are $19,818.
Oregon is the only state to pay more with fees, totaling $24,580.
Tenney said she would like to see toll hikes approved by the state legislature, noting tolls were raised a few years ago. “There’s no control over the authority. They’re not accountable to the people,” she said.
Alex Craska, vice president of C.P. Craska, stood beside Tenney during the press conference with one of his tractor trailers parked behind her during the event. He said much of his business is conducted in Buffalo, Brooklyn and throughout the Northeast.
“It’s going to affect everyone in the long run,” he said. “Every product that is put out is put on a truck at some point in time.”
Drafted letters addressed to the executive director and chairman of the board of the Thruway Authority are available to be downloaded at Tenney’s website — www.Tenney4NY.com.
Page 2 of 2 - E-mailed submissions for the public hearing comment can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hike may take effect as early as October.
Tenney currently represents the 101st District, which does not include Herkimer County. Due to redistricting, she will represent the southern portion of the county if re-elected in November.