Governor proposes holding Thruway tolls flat until at least 2020 for all users; cutting tolls in half for 1 million frequent travelers of the Thruway; and eliminating tolls for agriculture vehicles
Governor Cuomo unveiled the fifth signature proposal of his 2016 agenda: the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in Upstate New York – including a plan to keep Thruway tolls flat until at least 2020 and cutting tolls in half for those who rely on the Thruway the most. The Governor discussed these items at an event earlier today in Syracuse, where he was joined by CenterState CEO Rob Simpson and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, who also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the New York State Thruway Authority, and Thruway Authority Executive Director Robert Megna.
“This year we are going to reinvest in Upstate New York like never before,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Thruway is a vital artery for commerce and transportation throughout Upstate, so we are going to deliver major toll relief to New Yorkers. We are going to reduce tolls for businesses and drivers who rely on it the most, eliminate them for farmers bringing their goods to market, and freeze tolls for everyone else until at least 2020. And we are going to move forward with the largest capital plan in state history. Together we can support and rebuild our vital infrastructure and unlock the potential of Upstate New York for years to come.”
Thruway Toll Reduction and Protection Plan
As part of his 2016 agenda, Governor Cuomo is proposing a three-part Thruway Toll Reduction and Protection Plan to lower the cost of using the highway.
First, the Governor is proposing cutting tolls in half for the New York residents and businesses who utilize the Thruway most often. The toll reduction would benefit nearly one million passenger, business and farm vehicles.
Specifically, this tax credit would apply to:
- Passenger vehicle owners using E-ZPass and paying $50 or more in annual tolls. 911,743 drivers would benefit under this category, with average annual savings of $97.
- Businesses and commercial vehicle owners using E-ZPass and paying between $100 and $9,999 in annual tolls.
- 26,139 businesses would benefit under this category, with average annual savings of approximately $686.
- 976 commercial trucks would benefit under this category, with average annual savings of $1,872.
Average annual savings
Second, vehicles owned by farmers using E-ZPass and used to bring farm goods to market would have tolls eliminated completely through a 100 percent credit. Governor Cuomo is committed to helping further the growth of New York’s agricultural sector – made up of more than 36,000 farms, 2,270 processors, and 700 farm-based beverage producers – by reducing their overall business costs. The Governor’s proposal would ensure they pay no tolls on the Thruway, saving the agricultural sector $5 million annually.
Third, the state is investing $700 million in Thruway infrastructure, on top of last year’s commitment of $1.285 billion. As a result of this investment the Thruway will be able to freeze tolls for all drivers until at least 2020.
Unprecedented $22 Billion Transportation Capital Plan
To continue building smarter and better than before, the Governor is unveiling a $22 billion multi-year capital plan to upgrade critical roads, bridges and other vital transportation infrastructure throughout the state, especially in Upstate. It is the largest capital program in the state's history.
The proposed capital includes the following programs:
- $1 billion BRIDGE NY program to replace, rehabilitate and maintain at least 200 vital state and local bridges. BRIDGE NY will help expand and protect public safety and critical economic growth and commercial activities all across the state.
- $1 billion PAVE NY program that will include up to 1300 miles worth of state and local road paving projects. Investing in paving projects will ensure smoother rides for passenger and commercial traffic and fewer costly delays and slowdowns.
- $500 million Extreme Weather Infrastructure Hardening program, which will make investments in the roadways across the state proven to be susceptible to flooding and other extreme weather related events to ensure they remain safe and passable.
Other programs will be presented at the upcoming State of the State and Budget presentation.