FINCH: THRUWAY AUTHORITY MISMANAGEMENT CONTINUES
Last August, Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) took aim at the embattled Thruway Authority for failing to detail a financing plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild.
Even after a $1.3 billion budgetary allocation and the beginning of construction, the authority has still failed to release a plan to pay for the bridge.
“Either the Thruway Authority is withholding financing details from taxpayers for political purposes, or there simply is no sound plan to pay for one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of the state of New York. Neither of those scenarios is particularly appealing,” said Finch.
So far, the Thruway Authority has confirmed that it will spend $750 million this year on bridge construction out of the $1.3 billion budgetary allocation.
Total construction costs are estimated to reach $3.9 billion.
During a budget hearing, Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco pushed Thruway Authority Executive Director Robert Megna to explain when the public could expect a financing plan for the bridge. Megna said he could deliver a plan after the budgetary process dictated how much of the $1.3 billion infrastructure investment would be allocated for the bridge.
“Saying that you are willing to spend $750 million during the preliminary phase of a $3.9 billion construction project is simply not a financial plan,” said Finch. “Megna claims that tolls will not increase. This would seem untenable without a major influx of taxpayer dollars into the project. My constituents deserve to know if their tax dollars are subsidizing downstate infrastructure projects while their roads and bridges continue to deteriorate.”
Finch noted that this lassiez-faire approach to capital investment would never fly in the private sector.
“If a manufacturing company wanted to build a new factory, it would need to provide a sound financial plan to investors and shareholders. Clearly, the governor and the Thruway Authority feel no such obligation to New York State’s hardworking taxpayers,” concluded Finch.