(DEPEW, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-I-C, Depew) today announced that he has contacted New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, to perform an extensive audit on the New York State Thruway Authority. The New York State Thruway Authority recently announced that they have proposed a twenty percent increase in tolls by 2010.
"New Yorkers are facing high gasoline costs, not to mention increased heating fuel costs in the near future that is straining their family budgets," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "Now is not the time to talk about increasing any tolls, nor taxes, for the foreseeable future. We must start living within our financial means and that goes for the New York State Thruway Authority as well. The public-at-large have real questions as to the current toll actions being spearheaded by The NYS Thruway. They are demanding answers and I am going to hold hearings in Buffalo to ensure that their concerns are addressed. I, and my fellow colleagues in the State Legislature are ready to pass legislation to ensure that NO tolls are increased in western New York."
Senator Volker is calling for delaying any and all toll increases proposed by the New York State Thruway Authority until a thorough audit is completed and the State Legislature can review the outcome of the audit. Additionally, the State Senate will propose having public hearings on the outcome of the State Comptroller’s audit to allow for the full disclosure, openness and transparency of the operational and programmatic goings on at the New York State Thruway Authority.
Last year, the State Senate 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. The removal of the toll plazas coincided with the removal of I-84 in downstate New York. This meant that there was no decrease in revenues by the NYS Thruway Authority. Many in the media have stated that lawsuits brought the removal of the toll plazas. This is not correct and a blatant distortion of the facts.