“What we found is that there are many things that can and should be done internally within the authority before the authority asks drivers to pay more,” said DiNapoli.
The audit found several problems and inefficiencies with the way the Thruway Authority operated. DiNapoli concluded the Thruway Authority: Significantly underestimated federal funding, failed to implement aggressive cost cutting measures, and failed to collect millions in unpaid E-ZPass tolls and fees.
“27.5 million in uncollected EZ-Pass? I think the Thruway Authority has to take a step back revue their management practices and capital projects,” said State Senator George Maziarz.
Another questions raised by the audit: Should the Thruway Authority continue to manage the state canal system?
“It's probably time to take the canal away from the Thruway Authority and start to focus on how the canal should be financed and how it should be utilized as an economic tool,” said Dinapoli.
The audit concluded with a series of recommendations aimed at getting the thruway authority back on track. Among the recommendations: A top-to-bottom analysis of the Authorities operations, explore raising revenue through private sector advertising and sponsorship, identify non-essential projects that can be deferred until after 2012, and prioritize future projects.
“Its easy to raise tolls but the New York State Thruway Authority should take a hard look in the mirror before it pushes another toll hike on New Yorkers,” said DiNapoli.