A number of high-profile resignations at the New York State Thruway Authority is renewing concerns about its shaky fiscal foundation. Executive Director Tom Madison and Chief Financial Officer John Bryan left the agency Wednesday. Chairman Howard Milstein stepped down at the beginning of December.
“There are more questions surrounding the Thruway’s finances than ever,” said E.J McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy. “This basically highlights and underscores all those questions.”
The departures come just weeks after the authority passed a budget with a $27 million deficit. Meanwhile, the authority hasn’t said how it will pay for the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is estimated to cost $4 billion. It did say in a report to investors it would have to raise tolls nearly 70 percent in the next few years to cover its expenses.
“All they’ve had to say is ‘we’ll continue to have a good balanced budget and to hold expenses in line and do things right.’ It’s kind of been a series of bromides,” said McMahon. “They’ve really said very little.”
The Thruway Authority oversees the state’s toll highway and canal system. More than 95 percent of its revenues come from tolls. The authority said it would create a task force to identify new resources to pay for the bridge, but so far it has not. And there are reports that the state’s Inspector General is probing the authority’s operations.
Jennifer McCormick, Governor Cuomo’s Deputy Secretary of State Operations, will run the authority while new leadership is chosen.