Last Friday, two Assembly committees held a public hearing on the finances and operations of the state Thruway Authority. This hearing will provide an opportunity for the committees and the public to obtain pertinent information regarding the Authority’s current financial plan and its proposed truck toll increase.

Also testifying at the hearing – and urging the Thruway Authority to find an alternative to its unconscionable 45-percent truck toll increase — were a representative of the Comptroller’s Office, and Kendra Adams of the NYS Motor Truck Association.

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R-Erie County) urged the Thruway Authority to develop a more extensive cost-saving plan before resorting to a toll hike:

“What is desperately needed here is a plan for restructuring existing business practices to reduce costs, minimize debt-service expenses, prioritize critical infrastructure projects and provide increased accountability to the toll payers and the taxpayers of this state.  Only then might a proposed toll hike be considered palatable.”

We agree.  The Thruway Authority has not convinced us that it has its financial house in order, which it must do before even considering a toll hike.  Earlier in the week, we joined Western New York Senators Patrick Gallivan and Mark Grisanti, and Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak to support legislation to remove the Canal Corporation from the Thruway Authority.

The Thruway Authority Board will be meeting tomorrow, their last meeting before the proposed toll hike is to take effect.  We sincerely hope that they have heard the wishes of the community and put a stop to the increase.  And if they do not, the governor must step in, stop the increase and call for the forensic audit.