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Comptroller Urges Thruway Authority to Forgo Toll Hike

On the eve of public hearings on whether to raise truck tolls by 45% on the state Thruway, The State Comptroller is asking the Thruway Authority to consider other options, and only raise tolls as a last resort.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the Thruway Authority is carrying too much debt, and spending  money at a higher rate than the revenues that it’s bringing in, and should look to savings and economies before raising tolls.

“Operationally, there’s still a lot to be done before we have another toll hike,” DiNapoli said.

Governor Cuomo who has said the tolls are needed, says he’s also asking the Thruway Authority to look at ways to save money first, but he expressed concern that if the tolls aren’t raised, the Authority’s bonds could be downgraded.

The Thruway Authority’s new executive director, appointed by Cuomo , issued a statement chiding the Comptroller, saying DiNapoli’s prior audits “contributed to the problem”, by failing to highlight fiscal gimmicks and the rampant mismanagement of earlier administrations.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.