Thanks for nothing, comptroller.
That was the message from Thruway Authority executive director Thomas Madison, who said in a statement that Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s analysis of troubles at the Thruway Authority is nothing new — and said DiNapoli didn’t do more over the years to warn of the Thruway’s fiscal troubles.
“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,” said Madison, who took over at the Thruway last year as part of the Cuomo administration.
DiNapoli said earlier today that his office has completed 14 audits and follow-up reports on the Thruway’s operations since 2007.
Madison said that the Thruway this spring conducted its own independent review, 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,” Madison continued. “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.”
Madison said that tolls for large trucks on the Thruway are 50 percent to 80 percent less than comparable states.
DiNapoli, though, said in his report that motor fuel taxes and other costs are higher in New York than some eastern states, and the Thruway tolls for large trucks are 43 percent higher than on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
“Heavy trucks, not passenger vehicles, should bear these added costs, so that tolls can be kept as low as possible for all motorists,” Madison said.
UPDATED: And DiNapoli responds:
“Clearly the new Thruway management has not bothered to read the many audits and reports this office has completed over the past five years. They are engaging in meaningless finger-pointing. Instead of taking a hard look at cutting costs, they are taking the easy road of proposing yet another toll hike. I look forward to reviewing the specifics of how and when the Thruway is cutting $400 million in expenses,” DiNapoli said in a statement.