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Federal appeals court says Thruway Authority lawsuit can go on

A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit brought against the Thruway Authority by trucking groups claiming that high tolls help pay for upkeep of the Erie Canal is an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.

The case had been dismissed because a lower-court judge ruled that New York State, which has a duty under the state constitution to maintain the canal, was a necessary party, and the truckers couldn't just sue the independent Thruway Authority.

But a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the lawyer for the Thruway Authority -- the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman -- also happens to be the chief legal officer for the state itself.

"Whatever interest New York has in the outcome of this lawsuit," the appeals judges said, "we are confident that Mr. Schneiderman will keep it in mind."

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