DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) - The 15-cent toll for commuters between the Williamsville and Depew toll barriers along the New York State Thruway, could be ending. Congressman Brian Higgins says now is the right time to wave the tolls at Exits 49 and 50.
Some commuters in Depew, Clarence, Williamsville and Lancaster pay the tolls every day. Higgins says the residents are being held up at the tolls. Higgins says taxpayers are owed, after $6 million was spent on a study to possibly move the toll barriers.
"They have to pay that back. They are asking the federal government for a waiver, for having to pay that. We want to use that as leverage to get the Thruway Authority to eliminate the 15-cent toll between exits 49 and 50," said Higgins.
There is precedence of this happening on the Thruway. Drivers in Albany don't pay tolls on four exits.
Higgins says, "If you did it for the Albany area already, why can't you do it for the Buffalo area? It's pretty simple."
The congressman believes waiving the toll would help remove the congestion on Main Street, in Williamsville, as they try to become more pedestrian friendly. Higgins says ultimately, he would like to see tolls eliminated altogether.
In the short term, Higgins hopes the state will look into cashless electronic systems that wouldn't slow drivers down at any Thruway toll.
"I think this is an opportunity to get the Thruway Authority to eliminate that toll, in exchange for getting the federal government to waive the obligation the Thruway Authority currently has."
Higgins says that because money is owed, now is the right time to stay on top of the issue to make sure it gets done.
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