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Letter: Expansion of Route 219 should be a top priority

Expansion of Route 219 should be a top priority

For 40 years, stakeholders have supported the expansion of Route 219 from a treacherous two-lane local road to a safe four-lane interstate highway. Highway users of New York’s Southern Tier, Pennsylvania and Maryland agree that the benefits include connectivity, safety, construction jobs and the positive economic impact on the towns and cities along Route 219.

Recently, the FAST Act was signed in Washington to fix roads and bridges with our 70 cent per gallon gasoline tax. This is a new opportunity that, if Albany takes advantage, will yield economic benefits to our region. This is one project that our entire community can get behind.

Completion of Route 219 is a top priority for Cattaraugus County, and there is an opportunity right now for the state to make an investment here with long-lasting impact. Completion provides safety for everyone, better access to Buffalo and the growing Canadian market, and easier access to Cattaraugus, Buffalo and Niagara Falls tourism destinations.

The FAST Act also allows using earmarked but unspent funds on projects like this. We need a four-lane north-south interstate freight corridor to support the Buffalo Billion’s solar panels manufacturing and products from 43North and Start-Up NY.

We have funding, an achievable plan and community and political support to complete the stretch of Route. 219 just north of I-86, including repairing what is currently a nightmare of an interchange. How often do these opportunities align so perfectly for our region?

We must move ahead. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to fund Route 219!

Daniel J. Rider, PE

Williamsville