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 Kenneth 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.

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.

Thruway Authority earns another downgrade by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Moody’s Investor Service has just lowered the New York State Thruway Authority’s senior lien revenue bond rating by a notch, from A2 to A1, citing the authority’s failure to identify a plan for raising tolls sufficiently to finance the building of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Standard & Poor’s last month did much the same thing, for essentially the same reason.

The Empire State’s bumpy highway ride by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

New York spent 2.6 times the national per-mile average on state highways — but had some of the worst road conditions in the country in the most recent year for which comparable federal data have been analyzed in the Reason Foundation’s 20th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems.

TZB, we can’t toll (enough) for thee by Nicole Gelinas | | NY Torch

Over at Streetsblog, they’re talking Tappan Zee — wondering why Gov. Cuomo won’t release any new information about the financial plan for the multi-billion-dollar bridge (no, nobody knows how many billions, but probably more than six and less than twenty) until after asking contractors for proposals.

Sherman on the fritz: lesson for NYS by Nicole Gelinas | | NY Torch

[caption id="attachment_4605" align="alignleft" width="131"] Tappan Zee West?[/caption] Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels last Friday "ordered the immediate closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge ... pending further notice" after "the discovery of a concernin...