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June 2013 Column - 2013 summer projects a start, but more needs to be done in county


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

The 2015 Erie County budget will be released by the county executive later this month. Based on meetings and hearings with the administration, I believe that the Legislature’s message of...

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oneilj - Posted on 11 June 2013

The county executive has finally announced the roadwork plans for 2013, and not a moment too soon as there is a lot of work to do in a short season.

For some time now I have been requesting that the county finalize the 2013 list of projects and mobilize crews to get as much work done as possible this season. We have a tremendous range of work that needs to be done from pothole filling to reconstructing roadways. Bridges and culverts are also in need of attention and repair.

The nearly $13 million that the county executive has marked for roadwork are necessary funds to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. Also, by spending the county’s share, we have leveraged almost $24 million in federal and state funds.

The work that is slated for this summer includes Lake Avenue bridge in Orchard Park, Savage Road bridge in Sardinia and Zoar Valley bridge in Concord. Also, $1.9 million has been marked for Zoar Valley Road, a roadway that has been closed in the past because of its horrendous condition.

I received notice just recently that starting June 10, Zoar Valley Road will be closed from Trevett Road to Hammond Hill Road until mid-July to stabilize that section of the road.

However, noticeably absent from the project list were some roadways that I think are most in need of attention, including Lake Avenue in the Town of Orchard Park, Eden Evans Center Road and Boston-Springville Road, all of which are located in my district. These and other roadways were recently flagged by news outlets, saying they are among the worst in Erie County.

Most frustrating about this process has been the fact that we have funds for road repair that aren’t being spent. Specifically, there is $1 million in the transfer tax fund. Designated for roadwork, that money should be spent this year on a number of projects. The longer we let roads sit unattended, the more they deteriorate and the more expensive it will be to repair them. I support spending the money now, taking care of as many of the repairs as we can, and hopefully save money in the long run. When the county has bridges and roadways that aren’t even passable is when we should absolutely be using funds for their intended purposes. The administration has to do better for the people of Erie County. Residents need safe, reliable roads.

The people of Erie County deserve that we invest their tax dollars in things that will benefit them. I’ve fought during my entire tenure in public service for our roads, because I believe they are the most important asset to our community. Good roadways provide easy travels for residents, better commerce for business owners, and a pleasant experience for travelers. We need to make sure the investments in our roads are strong and sufficient for the short and long term.

 

For additional information about roadwork scheduled in Erie County or other issues, please contact my office at 858-8850 or email john.mills@erie.gov