State Bill Looks To Force Removal of Grand Island Tolls
Despite the best efforts of local lawmakers it doesn't appear that the Grand Island bridge tolls will be going away anytime soon. Even a proposed law authored by State Senator Chris Jacobs designed to pressure the Thruway Authority doesn't appear will even make it to a vote in Albany.
Jacobs' bill would require the Thruway Authority to pay ten percent of the toll money they collect at the Grand Island bridges to the three municipalities directly affected by the pollution created by the bridge toll bottleneck. Grand Island would receive 50 percent, while the Town of Tonawanda and the City of Niagara Falls each would receive 25 percent.
The Thruway Authority collects an estimated $20-million each year from the Grand Island bridges, meaning that if Jacobs' bill is passed Grand Island would receive $1-million a year. The Town of Tonawanda and Niagara Falls each would receive $500-thousand.
An alternative plan would require the Thruway to remove the toll booths and replace them with a high-speed cashless toll system.
The New York State Legislature is expected to close its current session by the end of the day on Wednesday for its summer recess. Jacobs' bill likely won't even be considered until the legislature reconvenes in the fall.