(DEPEW, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-C-I, Depew) today released a letter to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli requesting he conduct an audit of the New York State Thruway Authority's revenue projections, operations and capital plan, to determine whether the toll increase being considered by the Authority is necessary.
The letter, sent by Senator Dale M. Volker and Senator Tom Libous (R-C-I, Binghamton), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, calls for an extensive audit to be conducted on an aggressive time frame, in view of the fact that a proposed toll increase could be voted on by the full Thruway Authority Board as soon as March. Senator Volker discussed the toll hike issue with Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, who was in Buffalo yesterday. Senator Bruno said that, in addition to the audit, the Senate would look into other options that could avoid a toll increase.
"The Senate is fully committed to exploring any alternatives, including removing the state canal authority from under the auspices of the Thruway Authority, to help prevent a toll increase," Senator Bruno said. "Senator Volker and his colleagues, Senators Mary Lou Rath, George Maziarz and Cathy Young, are leading the fight to avert a toll hike and we will do everything we can to achieve that goal."
In addition to calling for an audit, Senator Volker called on the Thruway Authority to hold a public hearing in Buffalo.
"People in Western New York have very serious questions and concerns about the impact a 20 percent toll hike would have on their wallets and on the local economy," Senator Volker said. "I urge the Thruway Authority to come to Buffalo to give citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns and respond to them. It is vitally important to ensure that there is complete transparency and openness pertaining to this issue. Western New Yorkers deserve to know what their tolls are paying for."
In light of a possible audit by the Comptroller, a public hearing on the toll hikes and the exploration of alternatives, Senator Volker called on the Thruway to put action on the toll hike on hold.
"The Thruway Authority should put off any effort to move the toll hike plan forward until an audit is concluded and reviewed and other options are fully explored to determine what alternatives can be found to avert a toll hike," Senator Volker said.
Last year, Senator Volker was instrumental in getting rid of the two commuter toll plazas outside of the City of Buffalo. By making sure that the bond covenants with the NYS Thruway Authority were honored, no increase in tolls were discussed nor proposed at that time.