Assemblyman Ryan Announces Authorities Budget Office To Begin Audit Of The NFTA |
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BUFFALO – Today, July 13, 2012, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan announced that the New York State Authorities Budget Office (ABO) will begin their audit of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) this coming Tuesday, July 17th. In December 2011, Ryan sent a letter to ABO Director David Kidera calling on the agency to conduct a review of the NFTA’s finances and operations. In his letter, Ryan noted that internal audits by the NFTA are insufficient to address their core problems, and a review by the ABO must take place. In January, ABO Director Kidera wrote to Ryan saying that his agency had agreed to conduct a review of the NFTA to discover the root of their problems. Earlier this year, the NFTA was faced with a deficit of nearly $15 million. In response the NFTA announced plans to cut 22 percent of its service routes, which Ryan was successful in preventing. To fix their deficit situation, the NFTA eventually decided to raise fares across the board, and make over $7 million in internal cuts. The ABO oversees all state authorities, including the NFTA.
“I applaud the ABO for agreeing to my request to undertake a review of the NFTA, and I’m glad to see that this audit will begin next week,” said Assemblyman Ryan. “The NFTA has historically always been searching for ways to achieve solvency because they are stretched too thin and are not focused on their core mission which is to provide public transportation. I am pleased that the NFTA’s new leadership team has made it clear that public transportation is their top priority and I am hopeful that this audit, combined with the new leadership will help to resolve many of the NFTA’s problems going forward. An audit by the ABO will help to uncover the real drivers of the NFTA’s budget problems, and help them formulate a proper solution.”
The ABO has informed Ryan that their operational review team will be in Buffalo from Tuesday until Friday of next week to conduct the audit. The audit will be a comprehensive review of all five business units of the NFTA which includes both airports, the small boat harbor, bus and train service. The process involves taking as much information as possible next week and returning to Albany. Once there, they will explore the data and see which questions they need to ask on a return trip, which will be conducted shortly thereafter.
“A financial crisis led to the NFTA’s initial plan to eliminate dozens of service routes,” Ryan added. “Thankfully that plan was eventually scrapped, but unfortunately the NFTA was still forced to raise fares. An audit by the ABO will help the NFTA get their fiscal house in order and return to profitability, so that in the future those who depend on the NFTA for transportation will not be faced with massive route cuts or fare increases.”
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