“Yesterday’s audit issued by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on the Port Authority’s finances, which comes on the eve of the Port Authority Board voting on a massive toll increase proposal, shows exactly why the Port Authority’s current leadership should be re-evaluated.
The Comptroller’s audit showed that the Port Authority spent over $85 million in overtime in 2010 alone, and that the Authority’s management ‘fell asleep at the wheel’ in achieving its goals to control overtime costs.
This follows a July audit issued by the State Comptroller’s office which showed that the Authority lacked documentation for over $1 billion in service contracts and agreements and that it is potentially missing out on tens of millions of dollars in savings.
In addition, recent media stories noted that the Authority has allowed costs for rebuilding the World Trade Center to go $2 billion over budget, and that it routinely loses tens of millions of dollars a year on facilities.
At a time when every dollar counts, these actions are simply inexcusable.
The Authority’s leadership is also allowing a vote to be taken on this proposal only two weeks after it became public and holding just one day of public comment hearings. That’s not the level of transparency that the public should be given on a proposal of this magnitude.
Families and businesses have been tightening their belts and doing more with less to make ends meet. They’ll have to work even harder to do that if these toll increases are approved. That’s the example the Port Authority should be following, but clearly is not.
How can the Port Authority justify asking families and businesses to pay substantially more in tolls, while at the same time fail to control overtime costs, allow capital construction projects to go billions of dollars over budget, and fail to document over $1 billion in service contracts? The answer is that they can’t, and that’s exactly why Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie should re-evaluate the Port Authority’s current leadership and reject this toll increase proposal.”
New York State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) is Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.