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Thruway Authority cancels another meeting

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Buffalo: Thruway Authority cancels another meeting
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Another important Thruway Authority meeting was canceled Tuesday and now some are demanding answers from an agency they believe is unresponsive, including one of its own board members. Our Solomon Syed has more on what this means for a looming toll hike on commercial drivers.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- As a 45 percent toll hike hangs over the heads of truck drivers, the Thruway Authority canceled yet another finance meeting, scheduled for Tuesday.

"We don't even know if our concerns are being heard," said New York State Motor Truck Association President Kendra Adams.

The authority wouldn't give YNN a reason for the postponement. A meeting agenda, which typically appears on the agency's web site, was never posted.

"I think they're a rogue agency,” Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said. “I've called them that many times."

Hearing that accusation from an Assemblyman is one thing, but how about an actual board member?

"I'm not pleased with how it's being handled," said Donna Luh, New York State Thruway Authority Board Vice Chairman.

Luh says she already arrived at the original meeting, set for Friday, when that one also got cancelled.

"It is frustrating, because we have issues to address," Luh said.

The seven member Thruway board was expected to approve the toll increase at Tuesday’s meeting, but now, there's some question whether they even have the majority votes needed to do it.

"If the vote was tomorrow, I would have a difficult time voting for the 45 percent increase," Luh said.

If the toll hike goes through, commercial drivers will have to pay $127 to drive from Buffalo to New York City, an increase of $88.

"We're just questioning what is going on and whether the 45 percent is even being discussed because no agenda has been released," said Adams.

They'll have to wait for the green light on that one. The meeting was postponed without a makeup date.

According to the Assembly's Republican conference, the Thruway's debt on general bond revenue totals more than $3 billion. Assemblyman McLaughlin has called for an independent forensic audit.

Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison released a statement about the issue, saying, “The proposed toll increase for trucks is a complex issue that requires more evaluation before it is presented to the Board to consider. 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.”

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