Wednesday November 14, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- After canceling a second meeting amid public opposition to a proposed toll increase, the state Thruway Authority is looking at alternatives to what it had called a "modest" 45-percent increase for truckers.

"The proposed toll increase for trucks is a complex issue that requires more evaluation before it is presented to the Board to consider," said Thomas Madison, executive director of the state authority. "The Thruway is looking at a number of options and doing extensive research and it will continue to do this due diligence work before another meeting is called and a recommendation is made."

The authority headed by appointees of Gov. Andrew Cuomo had called a special meeting on Friday with little notice and without providing an agenda. After Assembly man James Tedisco and the business group Unshackle Upstate criticized the move while the attention of the public and media was focused on recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the authority postponed the meeting to Tuesday. That, too, was canceled.

The group urged the authority to start a deep audit "to right its fiscal house and avoid an irresponsible toll hike."

In May, the authority proposed what it called a "modest" 45-percent toll increase for commercial trucks, which was projected to be in place this fall. Opponents of the increase say it will hurt New York state’s shaky economy, driving up consumer costs as well as hampering trucking operations.