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Attempting to collect tolls on the New York Thruway after 1996 is a "breach of faith," Rep. Bill Paxon, R-Amherst, said in a prepared statement today.

Paxon was reacting to comments made by Thruway Authority Chairman Peter Tufo, who recently said the authority is considering a continuation of tolls after the loan for the interstate is paid off in 1996.

The congressman said that continuing the tolls would be reneging on a promise made by New York to the federal Deparment of Transportation in 1982.

"I am outraged. . . . The agreement was that New York would lift its Thruway tolls in 1996 in exchange for 14 years of federal highway maintenance dollars now -- hundreds of millions of federal dollars," he said.

Tufo's statements are based on "the assumption that New York still will be in a fiscal bind in 1996" and that the Cuomo administration will remain in, Paxon said.

"But I think the real issue in Albany is the loss of patronage jobs. The Thruway would become part of the state Transportation Department and a lot of appointed bureaucrats would be out of work."

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