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Assemblyman Ryan: Thruway Authority Should Abandon Plan For Massive Toll Hike | Politics

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Assemblyman Ryan: Thruway Authority Should Abandon Plan For Massive Toll Hike
Assemblyman Ryan: Thruway Authority Should Abandon Plan For Massive Toll Hike

As Public Hearings Begin On Proposed 45% Toll Hike For Trucks, Ryan Urges Thruway Authority To Get Their Fiscal House In Order And Abandon Misguided Plan To Increase Tolls 

BUFFALO – Today, August 16, 2012, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan urged the NYS Thruway Authority to abandon their plan for a proposed 45% toll hike for trucks and commercial vehicles. The Thruway Authority begins their public hearing process on the proposed increase tonight in Buffalo.

Just yesterday, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office released a report regarding the Thruway Authorities finances which provides a mountain of evidence as to why the proposed toll hike should be scrapped immediately. Comptroller DiNapoli’s report shows that during the last ten years, operating costs at the Thruway Authority have increased by over 36%. On top of that, the Comptroller found that costs have been ballooning for the State’s canal system, revenues have not kept up with expenses, and debt payments have doubled in the last ten years.

In a letter to Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison, Ryan urged the Thruway Authority to abandon its plan to hike tolls by 45%, and instead focus on making the Thruway Authority more cost efficient and cutting their ever-growing expenses. In particular, Ryan suggested that the Thruway Authority look at what Governor Cuomo’s Spending and Government Efficiency Commission has suggested. The commission, appointed by the Governor last year, found that a consolidation of the Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation could save over $50 million per year.

“The report released by Comptroller DiNapoli should be a wake up call to the Thruway Authority,” said Ryan. “A 45% toll hike on trucks and commercial vehicles is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Increasing tolls is not an effective strategy that would help the Thruway Authority in the long run, it’s a quick fix. This proposed plan it’s the result of a lack of proper planning and leadership. The Thruway Authority should look the great idea that came from a state panel Governor Cuomo put together last year. The panel found that a consolidation of the Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation could save over $50 million per year. These are the types of ideas the Thruway Authority should be focusing on, rather than trying to push through a massive toll hike. The proposed toll hike would be bad for business and bad for Western New York’s economy, and I hope the Thruway Authority abandons this misguided plan.”

A copy of Assemblyman Ryan’s letter appears below. For more information please contact Assemblyman Ryan's Buffalo office at 716.885.9630.

The Honorable Thomas J. Madison, Jr.

Executive Director

New York State Thruway Authority

200 Southern Blvd.

PO Box 189

Albany, NY 12201-0189

Dear Mr. Madison: 

I write today concerning the 45% toll increase for trucks and commercial vehicles that the Thruway Authority is proposing. Such and increase would have a devastating affect on businesses throughout New York, and would have a severely negative impact on our economy. I urge the Thruway to abandon this misguided plan, and instead focus on improving operations at the Thruway Authority which could save millions each year.

Comptroller DiNapoli recently released a report that found many troubling things happening with finances of the Thruway Authority. The report shows that during the last ten years, operating costs at the Thruway Authority have increased by over 36%. On top of that, the Comptroller found that costs have been ballooning for the State’s canal system, revenues have not kept up with expenses, and debt payments have doubled in the last ten years. All of this news paints a very grim picture of what is going on at the Thruway Authority. Rather than pursue a 45% toll hike that would be disastrous for our economy, the Thruway Authority should put the time and effort into cutting costs and improving efficiency. In addition, the Thruway Authority should look at good ideas being put forth, in particular an idea from Governor Cuomo’s Spending and Government Efficiency Commission. The commission, appointed by the Governor last year, found that a consolidation of the Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation could save over $50 million per year. These are the types of ideas the Thruway Authority should be focused like a laser on. Raising tolls by 45% on trucks and commercial vehicles is a gimmicky short-term fix, not a well thought out long-term solution.

Again, I urge the Thruway Authority to come up with a better plan to improve its fiscal health. This proposed toll hike is just the kind of action that makes people distrustful of government, and makes businesses wary of growing in our state. Every effort needs to be made to improve efficiency and cut costs, before even the idea of a toll increase is thought of. I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

 

Sean M. Ryan                                                                         

Member of Assembly  

 

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