BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - When the financially-strapped State Thruway Authority backed off on a planned toll increase for large trucks a few weeks ago, New Yorkers heaved a sigh of relief.
But the authority still has to balance the books, which could mean layoffs, and other cost-cutting measures.
The authority felt it had cut as many costs as it could when it proposed the toll hike for commercial trucks. But in the face of blistering criticism from the business community and upstate elected officials, the authority pulled the toll plan off the table and looked at other cost-cutting measures, such as delaying capital improvements, in some cases indefinitely.
Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said, "And there were many projects that were in a previously proposed capital construction program that were left unfunded."
And the Thruway Authority is putting its 3,000 workers on notice that it is considering wage freezes and layoffs.
We received a copy of an e-mail sent to employees, telling them the agency is doing everything it can to prevent layoffs. The e-mail also indicates while a final decision regarding layoffs has not been made, it is necessary to begin planning for this contingency. It is signed Tom Madision, the Thruway Authority's executive director.
Thruway officials confirmed the e-mail, and that the agency is in the process of assessing worker seniority, which can determine who gets laid off.
There have been published reports as many as 360 jobs at the Thruway Authority could be on the chopping block, but some reductions have been accomplished by retirements.
Board vice chair Donna Luh told News 4, when it comes to cutting, everything is on the table.
"That is exactly what we are doing. We are taking a look at everything, looking at vacant position, and such, not filling them. Just taking a look at everything," Luh said.
The Thruway is also looking at automating toll collection, which could displace hundreds of workers.
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