Thruway Authority Looks to Cut Costs

January 6, 2013 Updated Jan 6, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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January 6, 2013 Updated Jan 6, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - With the threat of Thruway toll hikes off the table, officials are still looking at ways to cut costs.

Everything is on the table, according to board members of the Thruway Authority, including jobs.

The Thruway Authority has a long road ahead of it -- figuring out how to keep its budget balanced and roadways clear.

After a proposed toll hike fell through, the Thruway Authority is now at square one -- trying to figure out where to cut.

Donna Luh, a Thruway Authority board member, says that includes "Hundreds of millions of dollars in operating and capital expenses in 2012, and we're planning additional cuts in the future."

Thousands of employees have also been told about plans to streamline, eliminate vacant positions and a hiring freeze.

Automated tolls are also a possibility.

Employees have even been told about the possibility of layoffs, even though Luh emphasizes that would be a last resort.

The Thruway Authority, Luh says is "Taking a look at every dollar that we're spending." She explains they are looking at "All areas. It's not just one, it's all areas."

Luh says drivers will not notice a difference.

However, big cuts do not sit well with those who use the Thruway.

One of the big questions -- what happens to maintenance of the roadways.

Rick Lemb, a truck driver, said "they're already bad enough" in some areas, and cannot imagine maintenance cuts.

Other drivers had, it could hit them in the pocket.

Willard Barnhart says "Mudflat brackets or car mufflers or anything like that -- you run over them and you're stuck for two hours." He explains "Any kind of accident or anything happens, then you're stopped, and you're not making any money."

However, the Thruway Authority says it has to cut spending somewhere, after the public demanded to toss out the idea of toll hikes and make cuts inside the agency.

A meeting later in January. is expected to further outline cuts.