New York State Thruway Authority Chairman Resigns

December 4, 2014 Updated: December 4, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y.—The billionaire appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to oversee the Thruway Authority has resigned as the agency deals with the fallout from how it handled last month’s massive snowstorm in western New York.

Howard Milstein, in a letter, said it’s an appropriate time to step down as chairman and return to his other philanthropic and businesses interests, which include Manhattan real estate.

He said in a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that in nearly four years they reorganized staffing and management at the Authority and the state Canal Corp. and have begun the historic project to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge, with construction running on time and no cost overruns expected. “The bridge is a well designed structure using state-of-the-art technology,” he wrote.

At $3.9 billion, the new twin spans will be among the most expensive public works projects in U.S. history. Yet even a year into construction, New York hasn’t detailed how it plans to pay for it and how much will be passed on to motorists in the form of tolls.

The toll is currently $5, though it’s expected to rise to make payments on the bonds and loans that will finance construction.

Milstein’s resignation, submitted Nov. 13, was effective Nov. 30.

His departure from the unpaid position, first reported by The Buffalo News, came as the Authority faces criticism over the four-day closure of a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway in western New York during the storm that shut down much of the Buffalo region the week of Nov. 17.

Before being nominated as Thruway chairman by Cuomo in 2011, Milstein contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the politician’s campaigns.

From The Associated Press