Lawmaker pushes for toll-free commute

All of the measures are pending Senate approval before they can become law.

State Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, said he doubts the Senate will consider the bill this year or any year if a comprehensive analysis is not done.

"I don't think it has a sponsor in the Senate," Breslin said. "There needs to be some kind of proper analysis done on this."

Breslin said the Thruway relies on tolls as income in order to maintain the roadways and continually improve its services.

Gordon sent out a highly critical release of the Thruway Authority, citing an audit by the state comptroller critical of some of the board's financial policies. The audit stated there were no plans in place to collect significantly overdue, unpaid E-ZPass tolls and fines, and no checks in place to withhold payments to state agency vendors who have E-ZPass violations.

The audit also found that the authority's Canalway Trail costs $17 million to date, according to Gordon, and is about 40 percent over budget.

The state comptroller's office released some findings from its audit in late 2007 following the announcement by the Thruway Authority that it was seeking a new round of toll increases to take effect in July 2008, January 2009, July 2009, and January 2010.

The comptroller's report said, "The Thruway Authority should first undertake a thorough review of all policies and procedures to strengthen controls over costs and examine alternative revenue options."

Gordon sent out a release that said, "As a result of this evidence of mismanagement, he is sponsoring legislation to immediately remove the current members of the Thruway Authority Board in order to put a new board in place that will be more fiscally responsible, and effective to the needs of New Yorkers (A.10286)."

"Hard working New Yorker's shouldn't have to pay for the mismanagement of an out-of-touch board," Gordon said.

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