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Fahey: Thruway Authority Failing Western New York | News

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Fahey: Thruway Authority Failing Western New York

Assembly candidate says Authority must be held accountable for their job-killing “bait and switch”

BUFFALO, N.Y. – “The New York State Thruway Authority demanded Western New Yorkers pay a toll increase, and then they shortchanged us by $200 million,” said Chris Fahey, Democratic candidate for the vacant 145th N.Y. State Assembly seat. Fahey is calling for the Thruway Authority to live up to their end of the bargain and invest in our roads as they said they would when they asked for the toll hike. 

“The Thruway Authority must be held accountable for their job-killing ‘bait and switch’. We’re stuck paying the tolls, even though they have failed to live up to their end of the bargain,” Fahey said. “They have repeatedly postponed several large-scale projects in Western New York – which they promised in exchange for a recent toll increase. Their failure has cost Western New York hundreds of construction jobs in the near-term and hindered economic competitiveness in the long-term.  We need to fight for what was promised to us and hold the Thruway Authority to its commitments.”

When they proposed their 2005-2011 Capital Plan, the Thruway Authority said they would invest $593 million in Western New York. They asked for a toll increase to pay for it and promised local motorists substantial road and bridge improvements, as well as the resulting economic activity. 

The Capital Plan proposed several large-scale projects in the beginning of that six-year period in other regions of the state and back-loaded Western New York projects into the later years of the program. Now that we have reached the conclusion of the six-year program, the projects for Western New York have been repeatedly postponed. This postponement of several projects has resulted in our region losing out on about $200 million.

At the end of the Capital Plan, the Authority has only invested $390 million – significantly less than the $593 million promised – but Western New Yorkers are still paying the tolls. Meanwhile, the New York City region received $100 million more than was initially proposed in the Capital Plan.

“The Thruway Authority shortchanged Western New York by $200 million, but they overspent by $100 million in the New York City region,” Fahey said. “This is an issue of fundamental fairness. Western New Yorkers deserve answers, and we deserve our fair share of infrastructure investment.”

 Fahey outlined several projects that transportation experts say were promised in the 2005-2011 Capital Plan and postponed, including:

  • Concrete pavement restoration to the I-90 in West Seneca – which is notorious locally for the wavy road surface that rocks motorists.
  • Grand Island Bridge deck rehabilitation and bridge repairs.
  • Pavement reconstruction and bridge rehabilitation between LeRoy and West of Batavia.

Fahey noted that in recent years, Western New York has been shortchanged more than $350 million in transportation investment, if you combine this $200 million Thruway shortfall with the funding shortfall our region suffered after the Department of Transportation committed a human error in its aid calculations prior to Fiscal Year 2008-2009.

As an important component of his plan to move Western New York forward, Fahey intends to make the fight for fairness in transportation investment a top priority as the next Assemblyman for the 145th District. You can read more about Fahey’s plan to create and protect jobs and improve quality of life at www.chrisfahey.com.

The 145th Assembly District includes the towns of West Seneca and Orchard Park and portions of the Cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna.   A special election, to fill the seat vacated after the election of Mark Schroeder as City Comptroller, will be held March 20, 2012.

For more information on Chris Fahey and his plan for Western New York visit www.chrisfahey.com

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