STATEWIDE -- The Thruway's toll hikes get a thumbs down from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. His office's audit says the Authority must manage its own finances better. The audit says it underestimated its federal aid by millions and needs to collect $30 million in unpaid tolls.
The audit also says the Thruway has many construction projects that could be put off until its finances are in better shape. It also says that the Canal Corporation is managed poorly and should be run by someone else.
“It is easy to raise tolls but the Thruway Authority should take a hard look in the mirror before it pushes another toll hike on New Yorkers,” said DiNapoli.
Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco and Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari support DiNapoli's audit. They both say he's showing you the problems, now it's time to fix them.
“We are in an economic freefall in New York State, highest taxes in all taxes. We can't afford an $80 million toll tax,” said James Tedisco, (R) NYS Assembly Minority Leader.
“I have confidence in his judgment. And I support him completely and his recommendation should be followed,” said Ron Canestrari, (D) NYS Assembly Majority Leader.
Both would also like to see the Canal Corp funded some other way and Tedisco would like to see toll hikes handled by the Legislature.
The toll hike would go into effect in July and the Authority says it would bring in over $500 million.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt are calling on Thruway Board Members to Step Down.
In a Statement, Silver says he and Gantt had asked the Thruway Authority to delay increasing the tolls until the Audits by the Comptrollers office were done.
And now Silver says members of the Thruway Authority board should step down so Governor Spitzer can appoint new people that Silver says "will focus on innovative ways to control costs and deliver services."