Recreational boater tolls to be waived on Erie Canal

WATERFORD, N.Y. – New York Governor George Pataki has asked the New York State Thruway Authority/Canal Corporation Board to waive tolls for recreational boaters, the Governor’s office said in a statement Wednesday.

Pataki also said his 2006-07 executive budget contains $10 million in new funding to support the creation of an Erie Canal Greenway. The new funding, along with the toll waive, will enhance tourism, recreation and economic revitalization along the New York State Canal System.

“Over the last 11 years, we’ve made tremendous investments in the Canal System which is fast becoming a world-class vacation destination,” Pataki said. “By waiving recreational boating tolls this season, we will make it even easier for boaters to explore these historic waterways and all of the natural and cultural attractions available here in upstate New York.”

“Encouraging visitors through initiatives such as this will help support these local waterfront communities as they benefit from cleaner waters and improved water access and navigation,” said Mary Donohue, lieutenant governor.

The Canal Corporation currently issues two-day and ten-day recreational lock/lift bridge passes and seasonal permits. Fees are based on vessel length and range from $5 to $100. To offset the loss of recreational toll revenues, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will partner with the Canal Corporation to provide a $200,000 grant for a joint program to enhance boater access to the canal.

The Canal Corporation would administer the Governor’s proposed $10 million in funding to support priority projects consistent with the direction outlined in a comprehensive Report on the Future of New York State Canals delivered to the Governor in December 2005.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four waterways: the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities.

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