ALBANY, N.Y. — A new budget includes a $32.8 billion, five-year capital plan for programs and proposed projects administered by the New York State Department of Transportation.
The adoption of this new capital plan, the largest investment ever in the state’s transportation infrastructure, represents a $9.4 billion (40.2%) increase over the prior five-year plan period.
“The new transportation plan prioritizes and refocuses investments on state and local roads and bridges in smaller municipalities; makes our state’s communities more resilient to extreme weather events; and incorporates strategic investments to reconnect neighborhoods and facilitate regional economic growth, while creating thousands of new jobs,” a news release stated.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the plan extraordinary and much needed.
The plan, she said, “sends a strong signal that New York is building back stronger than ever from the depths of the pandemic. With this blueprint, we will give communities the infrastructure they need to unleash their full potential, enhancing connectivity, supporting transportation alternatives, and correcting the injustices of the past. I applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for their help in getting this done.”
The cornerstone of the new transportation capital plan is the targeted and record level of investment directed toward local roads and bridges in smaller municipalities throughout New York.
Under the enacted transportation capital plan, direct support for local roads and bridges increases to more than $6.1 billion over the five-year period, an increase of nearly $2.5 billion (69%) including the doubling of funding available through the BRIDGE NY program and the new Operation Pave our Potholes initiative. In parallel, the enacted capital plan provides the resources necessary for the Department to maintain and renew state-owned assets.
State officials say that the adoption of this plan will drive historic levels of funding for local governments, make supply chains more efficient and better position the private sector to create highly skilled well-paying jobs.
- Revitalizing the South Bronx by reconstructing the Bruckner Sheridan Interchange at Hunts Point (New York City Region) – This project, currently in construction by the New York State Department of Transportation, will transform neighborhoods in the South Bronx by correcting the planning mistakes of the past by prioritizing health and safety. The construction of the new highway interchange; entrance and exit ramps; and rehabilitation of the Bruckner Viaduct will reduce commercial truck traffic in local residential areas; improve mobility, operations and safety; and mitigate poor air quality and harmful emissions in the South Bronx, one of the communities with the highest asthma rates in the nation. This project will also support the sustained growth of the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, which provides up to 60 percent of the produce, meat and fish consumed by New York City residents and visitors, by providing direct access to the campus. The Hunts Point Distribution Center employs more than 6,000 workers. In addition, the project will construct a new 1.5-mile shared-use path providing a connection to the 138th Street bike path heading to Randall’s Island, Manhattan and Bronx River Greenway. The enacted budget includes $550 million toward the final phase of construction. All phases of this project are scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2025.
- Reconfiguring the Oakdale Merge (Long Island Region) to alleviate congestion where Sunrise Highway (Route 27), Montauk Highway (Route 27A) and other roadways converge. The state has committed $30 million to begin the federally required environmental review process for reconfiguring the Oakdale Merge in Suffolk County. The merge can no longer accommodate the approximately 126,000 vehicles that traverse the area daily and reducing recurring delays will mitigate harmful emissions impacting adjacent communities and improve quality of life for Long Island commuters.
- Begin a study to discuss covering a portion of the Cross-Bronx Expressway (New York City Region) and consider alternatives for reconnecting communities severed by construction of the viaduct to create new open public spaces, enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety along local streets and reduce the harmful impacts of noise, air and heat pollution adjacent to the Expressway. This assessment represents a critical step toward removing unjust physical and economic barriers to residents of the Bronx.
- Converting the Route 17 corridor in Orange and Sullivan Counties (Mid-Hudson Region) — Landmark investments in the Mid-Hudson Valley have resulted in the expansion of Woodbury Common and the construction of Legoland and Resorts World Catskills Casino. Over the past several years, projects have been completed by the Department of Transportation to further upgrade sections of Route 17, including reconstruction of the interchange at Exit 131, where Route 17 meets Interstate 87 and Route 32 (Woodbury Common) and reconstruction of Exits 122 and 125 (Legoland) to meet interstate standards. Up to $1 billion of the capital plan will be used to accelerate the conversion of the Route 17 corridor in Orange and Sullivan counties to Interstate 86, fueling transformative levels of economic growth in the region and improving quality of life by alleviating congestion.
- Constructing the Community Grid in the City of Syracuse (Central New York Region) — Interstate 81 serves as an essential travel corridor for the Central New York Region, especially the downtown Syracuse area. The Community Grid project has been highlighted by President Biden as reflective of the Administration’s priorities on equity, economic opportunity and transforming neighborhoods left behind. The enacted capital plan includes $1.1 billion, the balance of the $1.9 billion project commitment, toward replacing the elevated downtown viaduct structure with a new Community Grid that would disperse traffic along local north-south streets, upgrading a section of Interstate 481 and redesignating it as the new Interstate 81. The project will reconnect neighborhoods severed by construction of the original interstate and rejuvenate the downtown area with the construction of safe pedestrian and bicycle access for users of all ages and abilities.
- Raising the Inner Loop freeway in the City of Rochester (Finger Lakes Region) — The state has committed up to $100 million in the new capital plan toward raising the Inner Loop North freeway in the City of Rochester. This new phase builds upon the successful completion of the Inner Loop East project administered by the City of Rochester in 2017, which raised and reconnected a two-thirds mile below-grade expressway into an at-grade boulevard. The new Inner Loop North project will reconnect several separated communities within downtown Rochester; provide direct links to the Genesee River and the High Falls District; connect and expand upon the investments from the ROC the Riverway program; promote connectivity; create new world-class greenspaces; and facilitate opportunities for economic development, including new infill development.
- Restoring the Majestic Humboldt Parkway in the City of Buffalo (Western New York Region) — The new transportation capital plan includes up to $1 billion to reconnect the east-west neighborhoods across the depressed section of the Kensington Expressway corridor and re-establish the green space originally provided by Humboldt Parkway without compromising the long-term capacity of the important regional transportation link provided by the expressway. The existing Expressway is critical to the region and has both operational and structural deficiencies that require significant investment to address. This project will promote a community-based approach to restoring the historical and cultural significance of this corridor severed by construction in 1958.
- Replacing the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge (Capital Region) — The Livingston Avenue railroad bridge provides a critical link for passenger rail service from the Northeast Corridor to Albany-Rensselaer. This new transportation plan includes up to $400 million to replace the existing, Civil War-era bridge with a new, modern structure capable of supporting higher-speed passenger rail, freight rail, maritime transport, and bicycle-pedestrian access.
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