Thruway Authority needs to share data on finances
On Aug. 25, Western New York will join the world in admiring the newest addition to the Thruway system with the opening of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. While on one hand, I am pleased to see the state invest in infrastructure, I still wonder who will foot the bill for this $4 billion modern marvel?
It was recently suggested Western New York would help “pitch in” toward the effort. To some, it seems like the neighborly thing to do. I, however, still have questions about this: How can we send money downstate for bridges when our infrastructure here at home is crumbling?
While I acknowledge our Grand Island Bridges are currently being worked on, I say we deserve better. Currently we have a perpetual disaster where nightly bridge construction leaves a series of white-knuckle worthy “bumps” over the expansion joints resembling ramps when driving over the north Grand Island Bridge. This dysfunction, combined with the daily toll congestion, creates a 5-mile traffic jam gantlet some 23,000 commuters must negotiate.
The situation calls for transparency. The Thruway Authority needs to be held accountable in keeping the public as informed on bridge construction as it does financial matters. Today marks 100 days since I filed a Freedom of Information Law petition on behalf of Western New York demanding answers on Thruway finances. And so, I renew my call on the Thruway Authority to do what is right and open its books to us. We deserve the truth.
Brian R. Michel
Community Advocate, WNY for Grand Island Toll Barrier Removal