YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers officials are hoping to do away with what they say is an unfair and burdensome toll along Interstate 87.
The City Council will vote on a resolution Tuesday to support state legislation that would eliminate the $1.25 fee for drivers passing through the state Thruway Authority’s Yonkers toll plaza.
The plaza, near Exit 6A by the Greenburgh border, is not only a hassle for drivers, the City Council said, but it creates significant traffic congestion both along I-87 and on neighborhood streets as drivers take roundabout ways to avoid paying the fee.
Currently, lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly are reviewing the bills. But the idea of doing away with the nominal charge is nothing new.
Legislation was first introduced to state officials in 1997, inspired by the elimination of a similar toll for cars passing through Spring Valley. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, sponsor of the most recent bill, said the idea began in Yonkers as an issue of fairness.
“We felt that it wasn’t fair that people in Westchester County get shackled with this toll in Yonkers,” he said.
And now, it has taken on a greater importance, city officials said, with the growing number of shopping destinations near the toll plaza.
That includes Stew Leonard’s, Costco and Home Depot as well as Ridge Hill, which sits on the opposite side of the thruway. The area may soon become even more heavily trafficked as a developer has proposed building two large retail stores, one of which is said to be a Target, and a 400-unit residential building nearby.
By discontinuing the toll, it “will allow the City of Yonkers to help maintain its competitive shopping edge,” the City Council said.
“This would take away one of the barriers from going,” he said. “The fact that upper Westchester has to pay $1.25 toll each way - that’s ridiculous.”
However, passing the legislation has not been easy, Pretlow said, as the Thruway Authority continues to fight the elimination of what has become a $1.4 million annual boost to its coffers.
“The Thruway Authority doesn’t want to lose the revenue its generating,” he said.
The City Council was expected to vote on the resolution at its regularly scheduled meeting at 8 p.m. in City Hall.
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