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THRUWAY OFFICIALS RUN UP TRAVEL TAB

State Thruway executives, under scrutiny over possible toll increases, have amassed more than $250,000 in travel expenses since 1993, a newspaper report said Sunday.

According to a Thruway document obtained by the Albany Times Union through the Freedom of Information Law, 21 officials have charged the authority $257,863 for trips, meals and accommodations.

That figure includes more than $4,200 in flights from Florida to New York and Albany for William Warren III, a Thruway board member from Rochester who lives part time in Florida.

It also includes national and international conferences, such as a 16-day European trip by two officials attending conferences in Paris, Germany and Switzerland, the newspaper said.

Thruway spokesman David Ardman defended the spending. He said it would be unfair to require board members, who are not paid for their time, to foot the bill to attend meetings.

Ardman also defended the executives' trips to conferences, saying those meetings helped keep Thruway officials up to date with the latest in engineering and technology.

The authority's three board members, plus 10 department heads, also receive unlimited use of Thruway vehicles.

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