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.
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.