To the editor:
Governor Cuomo’s proposal to merge the state Bridge Authority and Thruway Authority is an opportunity to streamline government services by bringing together two organizations with overlapping roles and resources. There will be no disruption to the operations of the Bridge Authority: tolls will continue to be kept among the lowest in the nation, serving the authority’s operational and capital needs and keeping its long-term capital plan intact.
Both authorities operate roads and bridges. They keep roads in good repair, ensure bridges are structurally sound and clear snow in the winter. Bringing these authorities together will streamline administrative functions to reduce duplication, achieve economies of scale in purchasing and contracting and deliver savings to toll payers.
Thruway is also converting completely to cashless tolling by the end of 2020, while the Bridge Authority is planning to move forward with the initiative at its crossings. A merger between the authorities would allow an experienced team at the Thruway to efficiently and effectively implement cashless tolling at the Hudson Valley bridges moving forward. In addition, both authorities use E-ZPass for tolls, and the Thruway Authority already processes the Bridge Authority’s E-ZPass transactions and issues its E-ZPass tags. Streamlining these duplicative processes just makes sense.
The Thruway Authority collects approximately $800 million in revenue annually and the Bridge Authority about $62 million. While the two authorities will merge operationally, their revenue and how it is utilized will — and must be — invested to support their operations and capital programs.
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, all of us across New York State government are constantly re-examining how we do business to improve efficiency and lower costs. Government should work for the people, and it should do it at the lowest cost possible on behalf of hard-working New Yorkers. This merger is just the latest example of that effort as we continue to strive to make New York State a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Matthew J. Driscoll
Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority