State lawmakers in New York are calling for a new level of oversight of the Thruway Authority amid plans being advanced this week that could lead to the first toll increase for E-Z Pass customers in more than a decade. 

Thruway officials have defended the proposed increases — 5% in 2024 and another 5% in 2027 — as necessary to help maintain the system's roads and bridges. As part of an effort to encourage more New Yorkers to adopt E-Z Pass, a 75% increase for drivers who do not have the service is also being weighed. 

But lawmakers are skeptical, and point to the inflation and gas prices already affecting drivers across New York.  

Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is calling for an audit, while Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco wants public hearings on the issue. 

"The Senate must hold a public hearing on the proposed Thruway Toll Hike so we can ask questions of the Thruway Authority as well as get feedback from all parties who could be impacted by the increase including motorists, truckers, and our business community," Tedisco said on Tuesday. 

Santabarbara in a letter released on Monday urged state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to review the authority's finances.  

"With the current rate hike proposal now subject to public hearings, an updated audit will provide the needed oversight to ensure the Authority is collecting and spending toll dollars in a responsible manner," he wrote. 

But not everyone agrees the toll hikes are unnecessary. Mike Elemendrof, the president of the Associated General Contractors, has said the move is likely needed in order to boost infrastructure in New York for a system that relies on user-generated fees. 

And board members in a vote this week called the toll increases financially responsible. 

"This is the driving public. And for me, you know, it’s very easy to just say 'no we don’t want toll increases.' But I haven't heard of any other solutions," said Joanie Mahoney, the board chair. "While we expect that we will get a lot of pushback from people. I would ask everybody to kind of tune into offers of other solutions.”