November 13, 2012
The New York Thruway Authority canceled a second meeting regarding a proposal to raise truck toll rates 45% for trucks with three or more axles, and may be looking at alternatives to the controversial plan.The New York Thruway Authority had originally scheduled a meeting for Friday, Nov. 9, which they postponed until Nov. 13 with no reasons given for the delay.Once again, the meeting was postponed and no reasons were cited for the continued delay. No future meeting was scheduled at the time this went to press.The reasons behind the May proposal to raise toll rates for truck traffic stems from a promise to bond holders to keep the Authority's debt ration at a certain level. A New York business coalition, Unshackle Upstate, has criticized the authority's inaction on the proposal, continued postponement of the meetings and lack of published agendas for any of the previously scheduled meetings."With the second cancellation of its board meeting in less than a week, the Thruway Authority board has clearly demonstrated the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued the Authority for decades. How are we to believe that the Thruway Authority is ready to act in the best interest of tollpayers when they can't even conduct a standard board meeting?" said Brian Sampson, Unshackle Upstate's executive director.The Buffalo News reports that Donna Luh, vice chairwoman of the Thruway Authoritys board, expressed frustration and anger with the board's actions. Im beginning to think that if the 45 percent [toll hike] is needed, why are we playing games with it? Im beginning to think that 45 percent is not a figure we need," she told the paper.The Associated Press reports that amid public opposition to the proposal, the Tollway Authority is looking at alternatives."The proposed toll increase for trucks is a complex issue that requires more evaluation before it is presented to the Board to consider," said Thomas Madison, executive director of the state authority. "The Thruway is looking at a number of options and doing extensive research and it will continue to do this due diligence work before another meeting is called and a recommendation is made."However, no details of what those options might be have been released.