ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — State legislators were quick to voice their opinions on a proposal to raise tolls on the Thruway starting in 2024. On the heels of the proposal being pushed to a public comment session by the Thruway Authority, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has launched an online petition to ensure residents’ voices are heard during the process.

“While hardworking families are still being hit hard by inflation and the rising cost of goods and services, increasing Thruway tolls will make commuting and traveling more expensive in our state,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara. “With the current rate hike proposal now subject to public hearings, I’m giving New Yorkers a platform to voice their concern about this outrageous proposal that’s coming at a time when families are being hit hard with inflation and rising costs across the board.”

With the recent landmark investments along the Thruway and the significance of the roadway to travelers, the Thruway Authority says it is imperative that actions be made to enhance the efficiency of travel and help ensure the reliability of the system. The state Board of Directors will be “continuing to review and adjust its current toll rates to sufficiently fund its capital program, operations, and debt services,” officials said.

The increases would mean a 5% spike for E-Z Pass users and a 75% increase for non-E-Z Pass users. State Senator Jim Tedisco said those changes would hit the pockets of New Yorkers already struggling with money. “Those are the people who can’t afford to put $50 or $100 in an account,” he said. “When they travel for 60 cents, they’re going to get a bill every month for $2.60. A 75% increase — totally unacceptable.”

Lawmakers have called for the passage of a bill that would require legislative approval of any toll increase. The Thruway Authority stands by its belief, however, that the price hikes are necessary for infrastructure improvements.

“This is a responsible financial plan to ensure the Authority will meet its growing capital and infrastructure needs for a system that is approaching 70 years in age,” a spokesperson for the Thruway Authority said in a statement. They also say New Yorkers haven’t seen a toll increase since 2010 and our five cents per mile is less than Ohio where it’s six cents per mile, the Jersey Turnpike where it’s 11 cents per mile, and Pennsylvania where it’s 14 cents per mile.

Assemblyman Santabarbara’s new petition can be found on his website. “I urge the residents to join me in my fight to reject this proposal and take action to help New Yorkers keep more of their hard-earned money where it belongs – in their pockets,” he concluded.