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Politics and Government

Should Thruway Authority merge with transportation department?

The leader of the New York state Assembly Republicans is proposing to do away with the state’s Thruway Authority and merge it into the state Department of Transportation, in an attempt to avoid excessive toll hikes.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says his plan is a response to the multiple toll hikes on the Thruway in recent years, including a new proposed 45 percent toll hike on trucks. He says if the Thruway Authority were part of state government, it would have to open its books to the public, and make toll hike proposals part of the state budget.

“You’ve got an agency that won’t answer the bell, in terms of questions about how its finances are run, why is so much money needed,” Kolb said. “They’re not answering the public.”

Kolb’s proposal would also require that Thruway board members no longer be political appointees, but have some expertise in the transportation field.  

The Thruway Authority is still deliberating on whether to raise the truck tolls. They have scheduled, then canceled, three separate meetings since September. No date has yet been set for a vote.