Power for tolls? by E.J. McMahon | NY Torch

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) could be taking the money-losing state Barge Canal off the back of the Thruway Authority under the fiscal 2017 state budget that will be proposed today by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Assuming this Buffalo News report is true, it would explain how Cuomo intends to finance his proposal to freeze Thruway tolls for five years even while building the $4.8 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement.

Robert Moses, call your office! by E.J. McMahon | NY Torch

Apparently looking to make a big splash with a pre-budget rollout of downstate infrastructure initiatives, Governor Andrew Cuomo aimed for the biggest body of water he could find: the Long Island Sound.

The "2016 agenda" Cuomo unveiled before the Long Island Association today included revived plans for a third track on the main line of the Long Island Railroad, improvements to regional airports and other development projects. But the governor couldn't resist capping off the agenda with a real attention-getter: a $5 million feasibility study of "a tunnel connecting Long Island to either the Bronx, Westchester County or Connecticut."

Highway project highlights waste by Ken Girardin | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo last week announced the completion of a construction project in Orange County, four years after the state Department of Transportation (DOT) deliberately added at least $4 million to the cost by improperly steering jobs to Hudson Valley unions—and cost taxpayers up to $22 million for the way it did it.

New Thruway Authority head faces long list of problems | The Buffalo News

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tapped Robert L. Megna last week to head the New York State Thruway Authority, the appointment was widely recognized as a Capitol veteran wise in the ways of Albany.

But Megna – who enjoys Cuomo’s confidence as his longtime budget director – may be inheriting problems too daunting even for an Albany wizard. Not only must he manage the 570-mile Thruway, he also is saddled with paying for the biggest construction project in the state – a new $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge – and an ancient and expensive canal system. Then there are these challenges for 60-year-old Thruway.

NY fuel tax drops — a little by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

The impact of declining crude oil prices, already visible at the gas pump, has now rippled through to New York State’s petroleum business tax (PBT). Effective Jan. 1, the PBT on motor fuel has dropped by a whopping six-tenths of a penny, to 17.8 cents per gallon from 18.4 cents per gallon, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.