Editorial: Thruway Authority needs to stop playing games with toll hike
The Thruway Authority did it again yesterday — canceling, for the second time in three business days, a hastily called meeting at which it was presumably going to approve a controversial truck toll hike.
But no one really knew what was going to transpire at the meetings because both times, the agenda was never made public. And then, on even shorter notice, the meetings were canceled. Bad form all around.
One can only guess at the Authority’s motives here: It could be trying to frustrate critics of a proposed 45 percent hike in truck tolls, figuring that if it schedules and cancels enough times, the naysayers won’t bother to show up and blast them. Or maybe it doesn’t have the number of votes needed to approve the controversial hike, which wouldn’t be surprising, because it’s a pretty bad idea.
Trucks may cause more than their share of damage to the highway’s roads and bridges, but a toll hike along the lines of 45 percent would be onerous in an economy that’s still barely recovered from the Great Recession. That kind of jump might encourage trucks to bypass the state (exacerbating Thruway revenue problems) or to take back roads that weren’t designed for that kind of traffic (ditto). It could also encourage trucking companies based in the state to move, taking valuable jobs with them. At the very least, it will create consumer inflation as the cost of the tolls are passed down the line.
We argued in an August editorial for a compromise on this issue — a more modest hike for trucks with private cars being asked to make up the difference. But whatever the Authority decides to do, it needs to be little more up-front about doing it.