BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Critics want to slam the brakes on a proposal to hike thruway tolls for truckers by some 45 percent.
Opponents of the toll hike were outspoken, pointing out while trucking companies and other businesses with a fleet of large trucks would be paying the additional money to the Thruway Authority, they would simply pass the higher cost onto their customers and ultimately everyone else.
Trucker Frank Coleman added, "I am going to take it a little personally when you are enacting such an outrageous, disingenuous toll hike. How hypocritical is it to say that you're business friendly and you want businesses to come here, and then you're saying, here, welcome to New York, now give me your money. No, give me more money."
State lawmakers from western New York were united against raising the tolls.
Sen. Mark Grisanti said, "With all due respect, the Thruway Authority has a history of spending money irresponsibly on things other than highway and bridge maintenance and turning to toll payers when they need more money."
Sen. Timothy Kennedy added, "Higher tolls increase shippings costs, which will not only hurt businesses but will also be felt by hardworking local families who will be paying more for food and other consumer goods."
But the Thruway Authority says, it went 17 years, under previous administrations, without raising tolls and mounting expenses were kicked down the road.
Thomas Madison of the Thruway Authority explained, "We were left with a substantial amount of debt, and there were many projects that were in a previously proposed capital construction program that were left unfunded."
While the opposition to the toll hike was stiff, it was by no means a slam dunk for rejecting the higher tolls. A number of businesses and individuals spoke in favor of raising tolls on commercial trucks to ensure the thruway remains one of the safest superhighways in the country.
An eight-year-old boy was shot Thursday morning in Cattaraugus County. Officials are at the scene on West Road, in Leon.
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings return today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Viewers sent in photos from the snowfall around Western New York.