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Audit finds Thruway Authority facing 'considerable' challenges

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The Thruway Authority is being nudged by state auditors to develop a better plan to meet future costs. An audit released by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli raised concerns that current revenue might not cover the costs of maintaining the 750-mile system in the long-term.

“What state comptroller DiNapoli’s auditors found was, that despite some significant cost savings, efforts by the Thruway Authority and some sufficient funding from the state, the Thruway Authority still faces some considerable financial challenges as it moves into the future,” Assistant Comptroller Brian Mason told WBFO.

Since 1992, the Authority has been responsible of overseeing and maintaining the Thruway. Despite the concerns in the report, Authority officials remain optimistic.

“Thruway Authority officials reacted positively to the audit,” Mason responded. “They indicated that they would take in consideration of comptroller’s recommendation to develop and implement a long-term, comprehensive capital program to help insure that they are sufficient revenues available to fund the capital projects and programs.”

The Thruway’s annual operating losses increased from $126 million to $227 million in 2014. The Authority are also facing declining road conditions.

“Only about ten percent of the highways and 20 percent of the bridges have been replaced and, or reconditioned and it’s anticipated that the Thruway Authority will need significant revenues in the future to fund a capital program to keep the infrastructure system in good operating condition,” Mason added.

Even with increased operating losses and total liabilities, Mason believes the Authority has not been mismanaged. He said the Authority has been successful in terms of reducing certain operating costs, particularly personnel cost, which attempts to improve their financial standing.