Truckers in Albany protested at the New York Capitol amidst concerns their industry would be hit hard by skyrocketing fuel prices and climate change legislation.
About 100 truckers attended the demonstration, where they paraded big rigs past the Capitol building and blasted their horns.
They’re specifically directing their anger at Democrat-controlled State Assembly for refusing a vote on a proposed gas tax holiday bill to suspend New York’s fuel tax through Labor Day. The truckers even invited Democratic Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno for a ride on one of their big rigs to lobby him.
Those truckers have reason to worry about fuel prices. New Yorkers already some of the highest gas taxes in the nation. As of 2005, New York had the highest fuel taxes, with combined state and federal taxes, totaled 62.9 cents per gallon.
New York Governor David Paterson met with the truckers during their protest to tell them he would support a gas tax holiday if the oil companies would make a commitment not to profit from the holiday. The Republican-controlled State Senate has already passed the legislation, with no language pertaining to profiteering.
While New York truckers are advocating a state gas tax holiday, the trucking industry is fearful of climate change legislation currently being considered by the feds.
“The trucking industry is extremely sensitive to how climate change legislation may further escalate fuel prices,” said Randy Mullett, a vice president at American Trucking Association in a statement. “ATA is urging Congress to carefully evaluate fuel price impacts that result from climate change legislation.”
The bill in question, titled the Climate Matters Act, would regulate greenhouse gas emissions by forcing companies to buy and trade shares in order to pollute. It was introduced on Tuesday and is scheduled for a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee next week.