Skip to main content

Campaign to eliminate I-190 Grand Island, NY tolls

Buffalo businessman and developer Carl Paladino is up to something again.

Paladino, who led a successful drive last year to remove toll barriers on the I-190 (Niagara Thruway) section of the New York State Thruway, has set forth on a new cause, ending the collection of the Grand Island bridge tolls. The Grand Island Bridges carry Interstate 190 and NY 324 across the eastern channel of the Niagara River between Tonawanda and Niagara Falls, and there are no other bridges that connect Grand Island to the rest of the world.

In a letter to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer this week, Paladino laid out his argument against the levy of bridge tolls in both financial and moral terms. While the letter does not mention the course of legal action, Paladino is hoping Spitzer will do the right thing and continue to tear down the Berlin Wall against Buffalo-area commuters. Paladino's reasoning: The Thruway Authority collected $20.6 million in toll revenue from the Grand Island bridges last year, but spent only $10.6 million on the bridges’ routine maintenance. Currently, the state charges a 75 cent toll for passenger vehicles to cross the bridge, and less money for Grand Island residents and commuters who use E-ZPass. According to the New York Thruway website, the deep discount equals out to be 25 cents for commuters and 9 cents for residents. These tolls are only charged for those people who are driving to Grand Island.

Currently, there are three sets of bridges that charge tolls on the Thruway. They are the Grand Island Bridges, the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge. The Castleton Bridge has a toll that is 75 cents, and because it is part of the ticket system, is charged only when exiting the Thruway mainline. Paladino's argument is that the charge to the Grand Island bridges is unfair, since in 2005, the toll went up from 50 cents to 75 cents a trip (a 50% increase), while the Tappan Zee Bridge toll went up from $3 to $4, which is a 25% increase.

Additionally, according to the Buffalo News, the Grand Island bridges are slated for an estimated $500 million replacement. Tolls throughout the Thruway system would finance this. Which means if I use the Thruway to go from Albany to Newburgh, I am helping pay for any repairs done on Grand Island, or Syracuse, or any location along the Thruway of your choice.

My opinion, keep the tolls in place because the Grand Island Bridge are used for long distance travel and trucks going between New York and Ontario. This long distance travel should be subject to helping finance the cost of the tolls on the Thruway. However, if a compromise must be made, then it would be good to drop the tolls for Grand Island commuters and residents with E-ZPass. These people already pay a reduced fare to cross the bridges, since it is their only way on and off the island by car. I am not sure how much of a difference this makes as far as toll revenue is concerned, but my impression is that the Grand Island bridges are part of a more long distance corridor.

http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/buffaloerie/story/79186.html - Buffalo News

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

Old California State Route 41 on Road 425B

While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County.  Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek.  Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst.   CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41.  I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B.   Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.






Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles.  T…

2018 Mojave Road Trip Part 2; The deadly desert highway (California State Route 127 and Nevada State Route 373)

After leaving Barstow via Old Highway 58 my next destination was in Death Valley.  To access Death Valley from rural San Bernardino County required a trek on north on Interstate 15 to California State Route 127 which becomes Nevada State Route 373 at the state line.


Along I-15 I encountered the road sign oddity that is Zzyzx Road about eight miles south of Baker.   Zzyzx Road is a four mile road that used to go to the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa.   The spa was founded in the 1940s and the owner made up the name "Zzyzx" to claim it was the last word in the English Language.  The spa has been shut down since the 1970s and is now part of a Desert Studies Center for California State University.






The southern terminus of CA 127 in Baker is located at I-15 exit 246.  CA 127 is a 91 mile north/south highway which runs to the Nevada State Line in Inyo County.  CA 127 is called Death Valley Road from I-15 northward.  South of CA 127 the road continues as Kelbaker Road which c…