Time Warner Cable subscribers can view the segment here.

Another toll hike is likely looming for New York State Thruway commuters. A proposed 2015 budget outlines projected revenue numbers that one public policy expert said don’t exactly add up. Karen Tararache has the details.

The president of the Empire Center for Public Policy, E. J. McMahon said, “Sometime in the next few years the thruway will be raising tolls. In all likelihood that is pretty clear by looking at their finances.”

But what you may not know yet is the proposed 2015 NYS Thruway budget outlines a 44 percent increase in tolls in the next four years.

“By 2018 if they don’t change anything else, they will be $300 million short of what they need to balance their budget,” McMahon said, which broken down in layman’s terms means, “The toll from Albany to Buffalo which is now $12.85 for a passenger car will have to go up to $18.50.”

According to McMahon, though the Thruway has already made substantial employee cuts in the past few years to save on costs, the New NY bridge project would ultimately result in commuters seeing their toll hike from $4.75 currently to $15 in 2018.

“It’s a big system. It has big ongoing capital needs and there has to be a long term plan to get a grip on those needs in addition to getting a grip on the cost of this bridge, which if it comes in on budget will cost just under $4 billion,” McMahon explained.

On page 29 of the proposed budget, an independent engineer projects the thruway will receive $664 million in revenue.

Flip a few pages later and the toll revenue target is listed at $694 million, a $31 million difference that has to be accounted for somehow.

McMahon added, “You might as well start raising the toll in small increments now when the money is clearly needed.”

But even that solution is short term, McMahon said.

He suggests options may lie within repealing the state’s scaffolding law which drives up the insurance costs for highway workers or another option may be to revisit wages for union laborers.

A statement issued from the thruway authority said that they are “evaluating what actions may be necessary to address operations, capital and debt service needs.”

Their next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 15 in Albany.

You can view a live stream on their website.

© 2014 Time Warner Cable News

You may also like

Faced with $10B deficit, MTA says it’s eyeing cutting overtime spending

Alfonso Castillo The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is adding urgency to the agency’s efforts to curtail overtime numbers that critics say remain alarmingly high. The MTA said at Wed Read More

EDITORIAL: End the LIRR gravy train

The MTA's accountability and time management issues differ with each branch. At New York City Transit, there are questions about whether all employees work their full shifts. Because of the size of those operations, that's where more taxpayer and rider dollars are. At the LIRR, which is governed by the Federal Railway Labor Act, a lack of modern record keeping allows overtime abuses. A report by the Empire Center watchdog organization showed some stunning examples. Read More

EDITORIAL: OFF THE RAIL$ (RAILS) Behind the Tough Talk

Notably, the OT surge was highest at the Long Island Rail Road, up 30 percent last year and more than double the 2013 level, the Empire Center reports. And The Post has highlighted some hard-to-swallow extreme LIRR cases, with one guy working the equivalent of 16 hours a day for the whole year. Read More

EDITORIAL: Here’s how the LIRR union contracts send overtime soaring

The LIRR racked up $225 million in OT last year, according to the Empire Center — consuming nearly a third of the $740 million in fares Long Island commuters pay. Put another way, without this burden, the average commuter riding from Huntington to Penn Station every day could pay $253, not $363. Read More

MTA To Investigate Reports Of $400M In Employees’ Overtime Pay

Despite a year fraught with delayed, canceled and stalled trains, as well as the seventh fare hike in less than a decade, a new study released by Empire Center found that MTA’s overtime rose by nearly 16 percent last year. Read More

77 LIRR Employees Made More Than $250K Last Year

The number of LIRR employees who made more than $250,000 increased by nearly 50 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to payroll data found on the Empire Center for Public Policy's transparency website, SeeThroughNY.net. Read More

EDITORIAL: Fix New York state’s overtime and pension abuses

New Yorkers were shocked by the recent revelation by the Empire Center for Public Policy that Long Island Rail Road Chief Measurement Operator Thomas Caputo received more than $344,000 in overtime payments last year, bringing his total salary to more than $460,000. Equally alarming is that this outlandish number will become the basis upon which his pension payment is calculated, which is expected to exceed $162,000 a year. Read More

EDITORIAL: Baby steps toward ending the LIRR’s overtime abuse

Wise moves. Following a recent Empire Center report, The Post has spotlighted outrageous MTA overtime abuse, particularly at the LIRR, where one worker pulled in nearly a half-million bucks in 2018, thanks to 3,864 OT hours. Logging 4,157 extra hours, another boosted his pay nearly sixfold. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.