August 7, 2014 10:05 AM, EDT
Federal Judge Dismisses ATA Class-Action Toll Revenue Lawsuit

A federal judge in New York on Aug. 6 dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed last year by American Trucking Associations alleging that the New York State Thruway Authority is improperly spending more than a billion dollars in toll revenue on maintenance and improvements on the state’s mostly recreational canal system.

“Plaintiffs cavalierly assert that it is the Thruway Authority’s responsibility to fund the canal system, not the state’s, and urge that the Authority need only raise tolls on the canals to pay for canal-related expenses,” U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon said. “But their own pleading belies the idiocy of that assertion.”

ATA had alleged in its November 2013 lawsuit that the Thruway’s spending toll revenue on the canals was a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

ATA said the “excessive tolls” being charged to truckers also harm consumers by raising the prices and reducing the variety of goods that are available for purchase.

ATA Deputy General Counsel Richard Pianka declined comment on the ruling.