Toll free travel on the Thruway in Syracuse is one step closer to reality. The bill that would allow commuters to travel between Exit 34A and 39 at no charge has passed the state Senate.

If approved, short term distance commuter permits would allow Thruway travel at no charge between Thruway Exits 34-A, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 around Syracuse.

The bill would allow the Thruway Authority to restrict the use of the permits to peak commute hours, as determined by the Authority. If the Thruway Authority can demonstrate a significant loss of revenue, the bill permits the Authority to offer such permits at reduced cost per mile.

John A. DeFrancisco, who sponsored the bill says "the NYS Thruway is one of the safest roads in the State, based on accidents per mile. However, many commuters in urban areas choose to by-pass the Thruway in favor of local roads and highways due to the cost of tolls. As a result, motorist safety is reduced, traffic congestion on local roads is increased, and unneeded stress is placed on local infrastructure.

This legislation would encourage commuters in the Syracuse area to use the Thruway on a more regular basis. It is anticipated congestion on local roads and highways will be reduced by greater utilization of the Thruway. Additionally, the adoption of the E-Z Pass system has made the Thruway more practical for commuters."

The bill moves on to the State Assembly for approval.