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Old 02-13-2008, 05:32 PM   #1
adk-46r
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Angry tolls for lodge road

Adirondack Loj Road could become a toll road

By REBECCA STEFFAN, For the Enterprise

Posted on: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

LAKE PLACID — Could the Adirondack Loj Road join the ranks of major highways across the country and require patrons to pay a toll to access the Adirondack Mountain Club and Heart Lake trailhead?

It’s an option that the North Elba Town Board is considering after Supervisor Roby Politi shared a letter written by Essex County’s Department of Public Works, which is “strongly” urging the town to build its own bridge and return the temporary one the county lent to the town more than a year ago. The temporary bridge was supposed to be used to divert traffic while a new one was built.

“It would be a tremendous burden,” Politi said at Tuesday night’s town board meeting, pointing out that there are only eight property owners on the other side of the bridge. Politi added that most of the people who use the bridge are primarily non-residents who are using the area for recreation.

A new bridge is estimated to cost the town between $600,000 and $1.2 million.

“It’s a huge cost, and quite frankly at this stage, my first thought is to call Senator Little to see if grant money is available,” Politi said.

The town’s attorney, Ron Briggs, said that in order for the town to collect tolls to offset the expense of building a new bridge, it would take action by state lawmakers in Albany.

“The state has a stake here, and we’re hoping that the state of New York will realize its partnership in this situation,” Politi added.

In other news, the board adopted a credit card policy in light of the recent findings of an audit by the state Comptroller’s Office, which found that several purchases made with Lake Placid municipal credit cards were inappropriate.

Politi said the town’s policy would be similar to the village’s, which was adopted in August 2007. Meals for town employees are capped at $43, with the option of an extra $12 for high-priced areas in cities. The town has one credit card that is used to buy office supples, and another that is used for travel expenditures.

“This will take effect now,” Politi said.

The town also agreed to pay $2,500 to the Tri-Lakes Humane Society for its services, which include accepting dogs and cats that have spent their five-day limit in the town’s animal shelter near the landfill and recycling center.

In other business, the town board agreed to retain Briggs as legal counsel for a lawsuit brought against the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board by a property owner who claims the Lake Placid branch of the Adirondack Museum’s 64-foot tower will obstruct his view of Mirror Lake.

Briggs has agreed to defend the town for a “reduced rate” of $125 an hour. While Brigg’s fee is set not to exceed $3,500, that figure doesn’t include what it would cost to hire an attorney in the event of an appeal. Normally, the board would have to pay between $150 to $175 per hour for outside legal counsel.

Contact Rebecca Steffan at 523-4401 or rsteffan@lakeplacidnews.com.
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:47 PM   #2
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Seems to me that if expense is incurred because of primarily non resident use, some kind of fee ought to be paid by the people who are benefitting from the use.
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:53 PM   #3
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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This will never happen.
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:10 PM   #5
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So what if there are only 8 landowners on that road. Most people that travel down that road spend their money in LP before or after. Sheesh, another fee.

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Old 02-13-2008, 06:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhawk View Post
Seems to me that if expense is incurred because of primarily non resident use, some kind of fee ought to be paid by the people who are benefitting from the use.
Would that fee include the 8 property owners on the wrong side of the bridge? It seems to me they are benefitting also,but if that is the case I could see a huge can or worms being opened up for 'pay as you go' theorists.
I only have a few property owners on the end of my street, should road maintenace and services be stopped at my property line or the next persons...
interesting problem they have in N.Elba..everybodys taxes goes up....
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:30 PM   #7
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The tolls for residents can be rebated or reduced if they just want to impose it on non-residents. There are some thruway bridge tools like that in NY.

The town, through its share of the county sales tax receipts, gets a portion of the sales tax on the ADK Loj parking fees and sales of taxable goods at the Loj. So it is not like there is no direct funding being derived.

I think the new bridge will be paid for or supplemented by state funding of some sort. The action of the town board is just a step in that direction.

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Old 02-13-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
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Would that fee include the 8 property owners on the wrong side of the bridge? It seems to me they are benefitting also,but if that is the case I could see a huge can or worms being opened up for 'pay as you go' theorists.
I only have a few property owners on the end of my street, should road maintenace and services be stopped at my property line or the next persons...
interesting problem they have in N.Elba..everybodys taxes goes up....
Unless I' figuring wrong, I'm thinking that the bridge has to be built as a result of the non local people using the road. I don't figure the property owners are the reason that it has to be built. The town or whatever could issue an "exempt sticker" for them.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:08 PM   #9
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Seems to me that if expense is incurred because of primarily non resident use, some kind of fee ought to be paid by the people who are benefitting from the use.
If there was no bridge at all I would think that the net financial loss to Lake Placid businesses, losses which would translate into lost jobs etc., would be much greater than the cost of a new bridge.

I bet the towns of Keene and Keene valley would be quite happy to see no bridge to the Loj. Redhawk would also be happy.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by redhawk View Post
Unless I' figuring wrong, I'm thinking that the bridge has to be built as a result of the non local people using the road. I don't figure the property owners are the reason that it has to be built. The town or whatever could issue an "exempt sticker" for them.
I still think that would open a can of worms up,everyone who has a non-local go past their property would be screamin for a rebate because non-locals are wearing the road down....everywhere you went ,out of your own town ,would be looking for a toll,villages,towns ,counties,etc....we have to nationalize all the bridges,and just charge tolls on those Canada people....
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:46 PM   #11
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I tend to avoid the Loj parking area. I use the garden more, but really, the rules and fees in the High peaks, plus the crowds make it so much of a chore to go there. VT and NH are equally beautiful, a slightly longer drive, but in the end worth it based on the hassel factor.

The problem I have with toll roads is that generally we are paying for these roads 2 and 3 times, and that gets a bit tiresome. If they want to charge tolls on everything fine, just eliminate the gas tax, and income taxes that go to roads, etc. I'm sure then everyone would benefit. Those who don't drive much would pay less, and those who do drive a lot would probably break even.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:04 PM   #12
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Most people who use that road end up at the ADK Loj, where they have to pay anywhere between $3 and $8 for parking. Perhaps ADK can kick over .50 per car?

I agree with an earlier post, though. This will never become a reality.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:30 PM   #13
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Food for thought...
Every ADK member is a local...
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:36 PM   #14
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Food for thought...
Every ADK member is a local...
Or is adding to the local problem........
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:56 PM   #15
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Most people who use that road end up at the ADK Loj, where they have to pay anywhere between $3 and $8 for parking. Perhaps ADK can kick over .50 per car?

I agree with an earlier post, though. This will never become a reality.
Thats a good point. I like it, but I'll bet the other property owners on that side of the bridge would be pissed cause they'd have to pay the toll too. Economically though, everyone has already raised the point that it would hurt the business throughout the region. I'm not gonna go get a warm meal in LP after visiting the Loj, cause I won't goto the Loj. I'll park at the Garden, and stop at one of the restaurants in Keene.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:34 PM   #16
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Most people who use that road end up at the ADK Loj, where they have to pay anywhere between $3 and $8 for parking. Perhaps ADK can kick over .50 per car?

I agree with an earlier post, though. This will never become a reality.
I'd say brilliant idea but the reality is the ADK would just increase the parking by .50 per parking pass.

So it would be a toll applied on top of the parking pass.

I used to have a problem with the parking fee, but the reality is many of those cars are not people going into the backcountry, just a mile or two out and back. It's a great way to keep use down, although I think multiday passes should cost less. As in the first 2 days are per day but 3-5 is free.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:39 AM   #17
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Refresh my memory.... aren't they closing South Meadows too?
So that'll make the Loj the only game in town. You will HAVE to park there. Pity, I preferred SM over the Loj just to avoid the Superhighway from Heart Lake to Marcy Dam.
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:55 AM   #18
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There are a zillion bridges built & rebuilt every year in New York with tax $. Some more obscure than this, the state will find the money. The toll thing will arouse up enough emotions and rhetoric to get the states attention. Some politician will be a hero, find the money, save the day and get reelected.
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:07 AM   #19
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Toll Road

The Toll Road will never happen. The can of worms that would be opened is gigantic. For one thing, despite the fact the Adirondack Mountain Club is a Non-Profit Corporation (501c) and is exempt from paying property taxes. The Club chooses to pay those taxes, in North Elba. If the Town of North Elba decided to start charging the guests fro use of the road, I would have to believe that the ADK's Board of Directors would take another look at this issue.
What we have is a poorly informed local politician looking for headlines. Is this an election year?
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:12 AM   #20
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The toll principle can work, but only when there are other non-toll ways of accessing a site. For example, the city of Toronto opened a toll highway a few years back to divert traffic from the 401. Many use the toll road when they're in a hurry to get across the city; however, you can still get across on the 401 or other roads.

That said, the Loj road is the only way to get to Heart Lake. It seems silly to put a toll on people using the road, resident or not, when they're spending money nearby before or after a hike. Although this area is often a zoo for all the people using it, it is a HUGE attraction and money maker for the local area.
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