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Assemblymen rip Thruway Authority

By Lombardo David
Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three local members of the Assembly are criticizing the New York State Thruway Authority for a lack of transparency.

The authority's Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a meetingFriday at 2:30 p.m., but an agenda for the meeting has yet to be released. When I asked Thruway Authority spokesman Dan Weiller this afternoon whether it was available, he said no.

The follow-up question was when will the agenda be available, which Weiller hasn't answered in the five hours since the question was posed. It's possible the agenda might not be set yet, but he didn't say that either.

"This is the exact type of secrecy and closed-door dealings that continue to plague New York," said Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, in a statement. "We cannot and will not be open for business until this behavior from our agencies and authorities ends."

This sentiment was echoed in a statement by Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, who said, “I once heard Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward say that the most dangerous threat to representative democracy is ‘secret government.’"

Tedisco added that the lack of an agenda indicated the Thruway Authority doesn't want people to know what they're doing with tax dollars. This is a problematic statement considering Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison has noted that no taxpayer dollars are used for their operations.

"This is yet another sad example of a rogue authority that is putting the needs of faceless bureaucrats first rather then the impact on taxpayers and small businesses that rely on the Thruway for their livelihoods," Tedisco said. "It underscores the need to take the power to raise the tolls out of the hands of these bureaucrats who are not accountable to voters and require members of the Legislature, who just went before voters, to approve any toll or fee increase, as I have proposed."

The critique was also reiterated by Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose.

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