We in Upstate need to make more noise about the Thruway Authority’s proposal to hike truck tolls by 45 percent, because frankly, it’s going to hurt.

For starters, it’s going to raise the cost of doing business for all the trucking lines and for companies who ship their goods over the road. Now there’s only two ways to handle that, and neither is good. Either the businesses absorb the cost, which means they won’t have money to spend on other things like improving products and services or paying for employees. Or they pass the cost on to their customers, which means higher prices for us on a whole host of items.

But not all the issues are economic. You have to assume that some trucking businesses will decide to deal with this by avoiding the Thruway altogether. Obviously, they can’t stop driving. They’ll just take other route, which means the roadways we use daily – and in some cases live and work along – will be clogged with trucks. Just imagine how unpleasant it will be to drive behind a bunch of semis along Route 104 or Routes 5 &20 or some of the other two-lane highways connecting Upstate cities and towns. Now imagine what they will be like for the people who own homes and businesses along these roadways.

Bottom line: I’m not at all sure this toll hike is necessary. The Thruway Authority says it is because they’re cash-strapped. I’m not convinced, and would rather see them commission a financial/budgetary audit to look for ways to cut expenses. With the recent announcement that a special advisor has been hired for the Tappan Zee bridge project at a reported salary of $160,000, it’s hard to believe there’s not some efficiencies that can be found, some money that’s available.

So let’s make some noise. Go to the Unshackle website and send a message to Albany that you want an audit, not a toll hike.