Thomas Madison, executive director of the Thruway Authority, just issued a response to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s criticism of the authority’s toll increases and finances.
DiNapoli said in his analysis that the authority should strive to boost revenue and trim costs before hiking tolls on larger commercial vehicles. The authority announced in late May that the tolls would increase 45 percent for those trucks, and the change is expected to take effect Sept. 30. Tolls increased for all vehicles in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
DiNapoli said the Thruway Authority has failed for years to make improvements recommended by the comptroller’s office and independent consultants.
Madison said the authority would continue to do everything it can to control costs while keeping the highway safe. Commercial trucks cause so much more damage than passenger vehicles, so they need to pay for the added cost of maintaining the Thruway. He also accused the comptroller and his audits of contributing to past problems at the authority.
This is Madison’s full statement:
“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.”