Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he plans to freeze tolls for travelers on the New York State Thruway, in order to keep the current rates in place until 2020, at a news conference in Onondaga County Wednesday morning.
Cuomo also said he plans to eliminate tolls for agricultural traffic, and give commercial commuters a tax credit to reduce their tolls by 50 percent.
“It will make a real difference in people’s pockets,” the governor stated. “It will make a difference in commuters’ pockets, and it will make a difference in the pockets of businesses.”
The $1 billion spending plan is part of Cuomo’s 2016 budget proposal, which he’ll unveil to state lawmakers Jan. 13. The governor’s recently been touring the state, unveiling pieces of his upcoming State of the State address, and budget proposal.
In addition, Cuomo said he plans to spend $100 million on upstate water and sewer projects; $22 billion on upstate roads and bridges; and $30 million on upstate public transportation.
Several state and local officials attended the event; however, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who has frequently been at odds with the governor over funding for the city’s infrastructure needs, was reportedly absent.
Miner held a separate news conference Wednesday afternoon, with U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), asking the federal government to give the city funds to help repair its ailing infrastructure.
“With over a quarter million water main breaks nationally, each year, resulting in expensive repairs, cities need help from all levels of government to address their water infrastructure challenges,” Miner stated.
The cost to fix Syracuse’s infrastructure will be $726 million.
Previously, Cuomo has said the city should find its own way to fix the problem instead of relying on the state for aid.
Once the governor delivers his budget proposal in Albany, he and the state Legislature will have until April 1 to negotiate a budget.