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ATA Sues New York Thruway Over Tolling Practices

Posted: August 1, 2014

Arlington, VA – In November, The American Trucking Associations (ATA) filed a lawsuit against the New York State Thruway challenging its truck-toll system.

The complaint challenges the Thruway’s annual diversion of millions of dollars of toll revenues to maintain tourism and recreational facilities that make up the New York Canal System.

“When truckers pay for access to the Thruway, tens of millions of dollars of their toll payments go to the steep costs of the Canal System, which they derive no benefit from,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.

The complaint claims the toll rates violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because they “are not based on a fair approximation of commercial truckers’ use of the Thruway,” and “are excessive in relation to the benefits conferred on commercial truckers for paying those tolls.”

The Thruway Authority charges tolls for the use of several major arteries of interstate commerce, used by motor carriers to transport goods throughout the northeastern United States. Since 1992, the Thruway Authority has owned the state’s Canal System and as of 2012 had maintained and improved it to the tune of over $1.1 billion. In recent years, rising costs have reached over $100 million annually.

“Truckers and motor carriers work hard to run their businesses efficiently and deliver the goods that are the lifeblood of the national economy at a reasonable price. Especially in these difficult economic times, they cannot also be expected to foot the bill for New York’s recreational facilities,” said Richard Pianka, chief counsel of the ATA Litigation Center. 

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