Updated 08/16/2012 11:34 AM
DiNapoli: Thruway Authority mismanaged finances
ALBANY, N.Y. -- State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Thruway toll increases will hurt the state's recovering economy. A state analysis released Wednesday shows the state Thruway Authority has mismanaged its finances since as far back as 2005.
In his report, DiNapoli said the Thruway Authority has grossly overestimated revenue while expenses have continued to increase.
According to DiNapoli, last year the Thruway Authorities revenue dropped one percent while expenses increased seven percent. It also shows that traffic levels were 12 percent below predictions.
The Thruway Authority is currently proposing a 45 percent toll increase on most trucks starting next month to adjust.
This report comes as Governor Cuomo pushes to build a $5.2 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement plan.
Drivers in our area will get their chance to weigh in on the toll hikes at a public hearing this Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Newburgh.
Meanwhile the New York State Thruway Authority has released a statement in response to DiNapoli's report.
Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said:
The Comptroller issued a report today on the Thruway Authority. The Comptroller, and his audits over the years, have actually contributed to past problems at the Thruway Authority by failing to report years of fiscal gimmicks and deferred expenses.
This spring we conducted an independent financial review by a highly credible firm which found $800 million in risky financial borrowing that needed to be repaid immediately. We will continue to do everything possible to control costs, and already anticipate cutting as much as $400 million in expenses.
On the other hand, the Thruway must also be able to keep the system safe and reliable for our patrons by repairing roads and clearing snow and ice. No one wants dangerous conditions on the roads.
The fact remains that tolls for large trucks on the Thruway – mostly long distance haulers – are 50 to 85 percent less in New York than in comparable states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And each of these trucks creates thousands of times more damage to roads and bridges than a passenger car. Heavy trucks, not passenger vehicles, should bear these added costs, so that tolls can be kept as low as possible for all motorists.