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October 2016 Column - Improving 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.


Many who travel the Transit Road corridor between Walden and Broadway or read my monthly columns are well aware of the issues causing major traffic problems. With a narrow roadway due to the existing railroad bridges, accidents and other problems are far too common. Several community stakeholders including myself, the Village of Depew, State Senator Patrick Gallivan, State Senator Tim Kennedy, and both the towns of Cheektowaga and Lancaster, have begun working together, along with the New York State Department of Transportation, to advocate for the funds to widen the road.

A couple weeks ago I sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and met with the NYDOT to discuss the situation. I’m very happy to inform you that the state has set aside the funds to start to address the issue. Starting next year, the state will begin removing one of the railroad bridges on Transit Road, which will provide the necessary room to begin improving safety. In addition, the state will resolve a long-time headache by installing a designated turning lane on Transit Road at George Urban Boulevard. Long-term plans from the state include improving the Walden Avenue intersection and ultimately widening the entire stretch of Transit between Broadway and Walden.

Earlier this month, I had the honor of attending the ribbon cutting for the new WNY Freedom Lounge at the Buffalo Niagara Airport. The lounge serves a private rest area for our military service members and their families, as well as veterans, where they will have light refreshments free of charge. Staffed by volunteers, WNY Freedom Lounge is non-profit corporation run by veterans to provide our service members with a private spot to relax while waiting for flights. I was in awe at the large turnout to support the opening of the lounge and wish them the best of luck as they fully open!

As October starts, we will soon begin the county’s annual budget process. I am proud of the fact that during my first two years in office our Majority Caucus has successfully cut taxes while practicing fiscal restraint and ensuring funding for the services that our constituents expect and deserve. By October 14th, the County Executive will submit his annual budget proposal.  As the Legislature reviews the proposal, I can assure you that my colleagues and I will continue to control spending and ensure we have a fiscally responsible budget.

I hope you are enjoying the warm fall so far and as always if I can ever be of assistance, please call me at 858-8856 or email ted.morton@erie.gov.