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March 2017 Column - Fixing Transit Road


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.


At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.


Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.


Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.


We’ve all experienced it. Driving down Transit Road in the heart of our community when all of a sudden the road tightens and your regular commute turns into a roller coaster as you head down and underneath the main railroad lines before climbing back out. Meanwhile, you’re hoping not to get sideswiped by a larger vehicle navigating the narrow stretch between French Road and Gould Avenue. Maybe you’ve seen one of our first responders racing to get to a call and due to the challenges of this stretch they accidently lose a side mirror on one of the bridges, an accident which has occurred all too often.

 

With several stakeholders, from businesses to governmental agencies, owning different properties and some of the railroad bridges, the need to provide massive infrastructure improvements has grown urgent. The past few years the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), which is responsible for this vital thoroughfare, has been hosting meetings with governmental officials and local businesses on how to go about resolving this issue. Through the work of various advocates, starting this year you will begin to see some improvement in this stretch with the expected removal of one of the abandoned railroad bridges and some road improvements.

 

Unfortunately, these measures do not go far enough in addressing these urgent issues. Local businesses have reached out to our community leaders to build pressure on the state to make massive investments into this crucial corridor to widen the road while providing public safety improvements. Recently, the Village of Depew, Town of Cheektowaga, Town of Lancaster, and the Town Highway Superintendent’s Association of Erie County all passed resolutions urging the NYSDOT to increase funding for this vital section of roadway.

 

This week I introduced legislation in the Erie County Legislature to join all of the other stakeholders in advocating for increased funding from the state. By the time you read this I expect that the resolution will have passed, adding to the voices demanding relief. I’m hopeful that the state will continue working with the community to ensure this comes to fruition.

 

As we approach road construction season, I’m hopeful that funding will be allocated and we’ll finally see repairs for long overdue projects, including Exchange Street in Alden and the completion of William Street in Lancaster.  I’m also hopeful we will see improvements made to Pleasant View in Lancaster as well.

 

I’m sure you’ve read a lot in the news about the ongoing challenges at ECMC with its efforts to build an addition. As the proposal continues to develop, I will provide an update as soon as I can. As always should you have any questions or concerns please give me a call at 858-8856 or send an email to ted.morton@erie.gov