As Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney finishes up her post at the New York Power Authority, she also begins a new appointment by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Mahoney is the new Chair of the Thruway’s Board and she says the first task is dealing with a $25 million dollar operating deficit.
Mahoney is joined with several new team members including former State Budget Director Robert Megna who serves as the Thruway’s Interim Executive Director.
“It’s like Bob is the County Executive and I’m the Chair of the Legislature. I’m not responsible for the day to day, but I’m responsible for setting the policy and how we’re going to make it possible for the operations team to do what it does with a balanced budget and without having to raise tolls.”
Mahoney says she’s never heard of an agency passing a budget with a deficit, until she started this job. In case she did get confirmed for the post, she attended some meetings in advance. That’s when she heard from Western New York residents who dealt with record snowfall and storms this past season.
“A lot of folks got stranded on the Thruway. So, there are some issues that are gonna have to take priority before new initiatives are addressed. I know people are concerned with the cost of tolls. So we have to make sure that we can do what we need to do.”
Mahoney says there’s also the issue of paying for the ongoing Tappan Zee Bridge Project. She adds the appointment by the Governor came as a surprise to her.