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State transportation funding is a boost for efforts to rectify mistakes of the past

The recently adopted $156 billion state budget is continuing the governor’s critical contributions to Western New York by agreeing to at least look into righting some past wrongs.

The effort would reconnect Delaware Park and restore a historic East Side neighborhood. Perhaps that is setting a high bar, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo seems to enjoy aiming high. There’s no better example of that than the Buffalo Billion.

During a recent visit to town, the governor received a fittingly warm reception to the announcement of funding for some important projects, notably one that could lead to the reuniting of the Humboldt Parkway neighborhood.

While speaking at the Buffalo Museum of Science he unveiled a $6 million initiative to study covering a three-quarter-mile stretch of the Kensington Expressway between Best and East Ferry streets. The goal would be a tree-lined parkway over the highway that ripped apart the neighborhood. The study would be the first step in healing that wound.

The bill for the actual work would be staggering – the state Department of Transportation has estimated that the cost could surpass $500 million to fully restore that neighborhood.

On the other side of Main Street, the governor wants to spend $30 million toward the effort to turn the Scajaquada Expressway into an urban boulevard between Parkside and Delaware avenues. That project faces some opposition from motorists concerned about the loss of a crosstown route, but it would help reconnect the two parts of Delaware Park divided decades ago by the expressway.

The many millions of dollars for these projects begs the question: Where is the money coming from? The answer, Cuomo said, is bonding. These projects are done over time and last for decades.

Another long-term project – returning cars to Main Street in downtown Buffalo – would get $4 million in new state funding. That important local-state-federal project has been underway for years, and is years away from completion.

These are just a few of the transportation pieces in this state budget, all adding to the area’s resurgence one project at a time.