Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why tolls at NY/NJ Port Authority are so high...

Obscene salaries at the Port Authority explains those soaring tolls

Ever wonder how the Port Authority spends its take from soaring tolls? Promise not to jump off a PA bridge, then take a peek at some crazy new data on what the authority’s paying employees.
One PA cop, Joseph Macaluso, pulled down a whopping $348,095 last year. That’s right: $348,095 for a cop. A chief maintenance supervisor, Stephen Olmo, raked in $325,880, including $186,846 in overtime.
It sounds surreal. But data just released by the Empire Center show that the average PA employee got $100,253 last year, up from $97,673 in 2014. 
An executive, Michael Francois, topped the list at $366,698. But three dozen employees took in $250,000 each, including 25 PA cops. And 170 PAPD officers pulled down $200,000-plus, again thanks to juicy OT.
Why does the PA even need its own cops?
To be fair, not all the cash from PA tolls, which have shot up five straight years now, goes to outrageous pay; some also covers outrageous pensions.
Last year, 44 retirees got more than $150,000 each in pensions. A stunning 437 got six-figures-plus. 
Is anyone watching the till? Motorists — and passengers who pay added fees at PA-run airports — are paying through the nose to prop up obscene PA pay and pensions.
That’s hardly the only big waste: The agency just spent $4 billion, or $80,000 per daily rider, for a gaudy PATH station.
OK, part of the problem is that this $8 billion-a-year agency is run by two states, New York and New Jersey. Its board and top officers answer to two governors. And no one’s accountable to the public.
But if Govs. Cuomo and Chris Christie can’t stop the hemorrhage of PA money, maybe they should move to scrap the whole agency and start from scratch.
Before people start jumping off bridges.

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