BRINDISI REVEALS: UPSTATE E-Z PASS HAS ITS OWN ‘DIRTY LITTLE SECRET’; OUT-OF-STATE DRIVERS ARE BEING CHARGED CASH RATE TOLL & NO ONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE THE EXTRA MONEY GOES; ASSEMBLYMAN WANTS EXTRA OUT-OF-STATE E-Z PASS DOLLARS GIVEN DIRECTLY TO THE COUNTIES FOR ROAD REPAIRS
Under Brindisi Plan, Dubbed ‘E-Z Pave,’ Oneida & Herkimer County Would Be Allowed To Keep The Local Difference Between The E-Z Pass Rate And The Cash Rate & Then Use That Extra Money For Local Road Work
Assemblyman Says Push Would Deliver Collective Millions In Infrastructure Funds To Oneida & Herkimer Counties; NY Counties Have Long List Of Streets In Disrepair
Brindisi To Thruway: The Secret’s Out, So Now Give NY Counties The Extra Cash; It’s That E-Z
(Utica)–On the heels of a downstate AAA study that detailed E-Z Pass toll secrets, New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi revealed today that the New York State Thruway Authority has its own dirty little secret: since January, it has been charging out-of-state drivers who exit local Thruway toll booths upstate the cash rate, not the discounted E-Z Pass rate.
“The secret’s out,” said New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. “For the past six months, the New York State Thruway Authority has been collecting extra cash at local toll booths from out-of-state drivers who use our local roads, but New York’s counties aren’t seeing a penny of the extra money—and that needs to change. It is only fair that if the state is going to make extra money on these out-of-state drivers that the local governments, who have a laundry list of paving projects to complete, receive a little extra money from the windfall.”
Brindisi added, “That’s why, today, I am announcing my plan to get this done: “E-Z Pave,” and you guessed it, it’s pretty “E-Z” to understand: every out-of-state vehicle that exits a local Thruway exit will contribute to a yearly payment the Thruway Authority makes to the respective county for paving.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said: “I commend Assemblyman Brindisi for bringing this issue to light and for proposing a solution that would benefit the residents of Oneida County. We have more than 600 miles of county roads that are in constant need of maintenance. Putting this money toward those costs is a great idea and would provide us with some much-needed financial relief.”
Brindisi says his plan makes sense because, with the out-of-state charge, the state of New York now has extra cash—a whole lot—that is just going right back into the Authority at the expense of local governments whose roads are actually being used by the out-of-state drivers.
Brindisi says his “E-Z Pave” plan takes this extra money—across New York—and gives it to the countries where it is being collected. In his district’s case, that’s Oneida and Herkimer Counties.
Brindisi called on the state to deliver the extra out-of-state-cash to each and every local county in the form of a yearly check and specifically allocate that money for local road work, like paving. Brindisi made the case to deliver more infrastructure dollars to local governments strapped for cash, and drivers facing crumbling roads and potholes, at Exit 31 of the Thruway.
The Assemblyman’s letter to Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch appears below:
Dear Mr. Finch:
I am writing today regarding the recent end of toll discounts for E-Z pass customers with an account registered out of state using the New York State Thruway. I would respectfully request that you begin providing the additional revenue from this change to the local governments where the extra charges are collected.
For example, this means that if an out-of-state vehicle gets off Exit 31 in Oneida County, the County of Oneida gets the extra cash difference, not the Authority. Your authority has already raised the rates across-the-board and knows the counties need the money for local road repairs.
A recent study released by AAA Northeast entitled ‘E-Z Pass’ Dirty Little Secret’ found that over 92 Million out-of-state E-Z Pass customers paid the cash rate for tolls on bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. While this study focused on the New York City area, in doing some research, I understand that in November 2016, the Thruway Authority Board voted to eliminate the E-Z Pass toll discount on the Thruway for out-of-state tag holders, as well as hiking the fines for drivers who don’t pay tolls from $25 to $50.
Unfortunately, localities do not have millions of E-Z Pass users as a source of revenue to fix their crumbling infrastructure. Over the past several years, officials in the Mohawk Valley region and other areas the Thruway crosses are closing roads and bridges badly in need of repair rather than force taxpayers to foot the bill. Recent blizzards and flooding also have taken a toll on the infrastructure many of your employees and commuters rely on to get to the Thruway.
I would ask that you consider using these additional tolls and fees to help solve what is often a dilemma for local officials, who often have a long list of roads and bridges in need of repair, but a shortage of revenue to adequately address the problem. If you cannot consider this request, I ask that you respond accordingly as I consider legislative actions.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you very much for your attention to this important issue.
Member of Assembly