ALBANY – The Thruway Authority has again postponed a board meeting where it was expected approve its controversial toll hike.
The Thruway board was scheduled to meet this morning to take up as much as a 45 percent increase on trucks along its 570-miles – a move that business groups have labeled a $90 million tax increase that would be passed along to consumers.
But the board, on the agency’s web site this morning, has a posted a note saying the meeting is postponed. It gave no date for a rescheduled meeting.
The board was to have raised the tolls last Friday in a meeting at a downstate location. That meeting was put off just two hours before its start – and staff and board members had already traveled to locations to attend the distant meeting from the agency’s Albany headquarters.
Today’s meeting was scheduled to be in Albany – a rarity for the board under the Cuomo administration. Board meetings have almost all occurred in a New York City office at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
In a lack of transparency compared to many other state agencies, the Thruway last week and again this week declined to make public the agenda in advance of the now-scuttled meetings.
Business groups have been waging a fierce, last-minute lobbying bid to get the agency to consider other options – such as cutting costs by unloading non-Thruway expenses, like the state’s money-losing canal system .
Thruway officials in the past blamed the toll hike’s need on fiscal mismanagement of prior gubernatorial administrations that ran the agency. They also say the revenues are needed to show Wall Street rating agencies it is financial viable in advance of future borrowings expected to build a new $5 billion bridge Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants constructed downstate.