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NY Thruway toll increase for trucks gets hearing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has told his appointees at the state Thruway Authority to find a way to lower what the authority called a "modest" 45-percent increase in truck tolls, a proposal that's angering one of his strong upstate business allies. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports.

Cuomo is defending the need for a toll increase to keep the authority fiscally sound as it reports double-digit increases in maintenance costs. Part of that's from tropical storm damage. The authority also faces increased health care costs.

Brian Sampson of Unshackle Upstate, a business advocacy group that supported Cuomo's 2010 campaign, says the tolls will hurt the important trucking industry just as it, and the state, are digging out of recession.

Public hearings on the increase are scheduled Thursday in Buffalo, Friday in East Syracuse, and Saturday in Newburgh.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.