If truckers pay more for tolls on the state Thruway, consumers will pay more, too - in the checkout line.
This is the opinion being shared by local trucking business officials on the proposal to increase Thruway tolls 45 percent.
In May, the state Thruway Authority proposed increasing tolls for commercial trucks with three or more axles. The state would receive almost $90 million more in yearly revenue if the toll is raised. This means trucking businesses would pay more for using the Thruway. For example, it would cost $20 more than the $44.70 it does now to travel from Buffalo to Albany. It would also push the expense of driving a truck from Buffalo to New York City to $127 from the current $88.
The proposal is scheduled to take effect Sept. 30.
Rick Overbeck, Naco Truck Leasing general manager, said trucking companies won't be the only ones paying for the proposed increase.
''It will end up going down the line. The cost increase will be passed on to the consumer,'' he said. ''It is not just the trucking industry that pays. Everyone will pay.''
Overbeck said Naco officials try to use the Thruway as infrequently as possible, but they have one truck that travels from Fredonia to Rochester five days a week. He said estimates have not been calculated on the possible cost increase. However, if the toll hike goes into effect, Naco officials will meet with their clients on what to do about having to pay more.
''When the time comes to make the decision, we will have to talk to our customer to see if they're willing to pay an additional cost, which they will pass on to the consumer,'' he said.
Mike Jackson, Jackson Trucking vice president, said his business mostly ships food to different areas of the state. He said an increase in his shipping bill means everybody pays more at the grocery store.
''The costs of food has already been going up and this means it will just go up that much more,'' he said.
Jackson said his business does use alternate routes instead of the Thruway when possible to lower expenses.
''There are several paths we can take, but we don't want to deviate too much or it becomes a wash,'' he said.
Jackson said government entities need to find better solutions than just making people pay more.
''We are getting it from all sides. All the increases are exponential,'' he said. ''The government needs to stop spending money it doesn't have and raising prices to compensate for it.''
Tom Nason, Speed Global Services sales manager, agreed that an increase in taxes or costs means more for everyone.
''Any increase expense effects our bottom line and we have to control our costs. Many times this increased cost gets passed on to the consumer,'' he said.
Nason said Speed Global Services, which is headquartered in Buffalo with a Jamestown location, has more than half a dozen trucks traveling from Buffalo to Rochester every day and longer routes to New Jersey and Connecticut. He said if the toll is increased, company officials will have to decided if they should continue using the Thruway.
''We would weigh the decision out with the additional time it takes to use another route. Then we would calculate to see if it would be advantageous to pay the toll or to go off the freeway and spend the extra time traveling to save from paying the additional cost,'' he said. ''If an alternate route cost us less, we will consider it.''