Now the state’s business lobby is getting involved in the tit-for-tat in the media between state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and a top Thruway Authority official over a proposed 45 percent increase in commercial tolls.
And not so surprisingly, at least two business groups are on the side of Team DiNapoli.
Unshackle Upstate and the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business issued a statement this afternoon taking issue with recent comments by Thruway Authority Executive Director Tom Madison, who issued a statement of his own yesterday defending the authority’s plan for establishing stable fiscal footing.
Specifically, NFIB state director Mike Durant and Unshackle Upstate executive director Brian Sampson take issue with the Thruway Authority’s statistics showing that truck drivers in Pennsylvania pay 49 percent more than on the New York Thruway per mile, and 85 percent more in New Jersey.
Sampson and Durant say that’s not the case. Their statement, in full, is after the jump. (Here’s a refresher on Madison’s statement from yesterday.)
From Durant and Sampson:
“In a statement released yesterday, Thruway Commissioner Tom Madison is quoted as saying: ‘The financial problems the Thruway Authority now faces were created by years of poor management and reckless financial decisions which were left completely unchecked by every part of state government…’ We agree with him that this situation was not created by him.
The simple fact of the matter is that trucks do pay more to travel the New York State Thruway than highways in our neighboring states of Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A review of websites indicates that for a 150-mile trip, the cost for a truck is $22.50 in Massachusetts, $27.75 in Ohio and $38.65 in Pennsylvania. The cost of that trip in New York State.? A whopping $45.85, 18 percent higher than the next most expensive of these states.
Both an internal audit recently conducted by the Thruway Authority and an independent audit conducted by the Comptroller back in 2008 identified wasteful spending habits at the Thruway Authority. Before asking hard working New Yorkers to foot the bill for that spending, the Thruway Authority simply must stop reckless spending and get its financial house in order.
Financial mismanagement on the part of the Thruway Authority does not warrant a bail out by taxpayer and toll payers. In fact, saying it was someone else’s fault is simply an excuse.”