State DOT needs to put Skyway project on hold
Let’s say you’ve been driving the same car for 15 years, including Buffalo winters, and it needs some work. Do you spend a few hundred dollars on a tune-up and minor repairs to keep your “beater” going, or do you blow $3,000 on a new engine?
That’s exactly what the New York State Department of Transportation is going to do with the Skyway. It’s a $35 million project to remove and replace all of the concrete decking, complete with two or three years of associated traffic nightmares.
The public has been asking the DOT to provide Skyway alternatives for over 20 years, dating all the way back to the Southtowns connector study. After numerous requests, Rep. Brian Higgins finally got a Skyway alternatives report from the DOT in the spring of 2016. Unfortunately, the report lacked the necessary environmental impact statement (EIS) and was essentially worthless. He immediately asked for the EIS.
Now, a year and a half later, we learn from the DOT that work on the EIS will start sometime in 2018 and take from three to five years to complete. Clearly, the DOT has no sense of urgency regarding alternatives, and instead, feels comfortable spending large chunks of taxpayer money indefinitely on Skyway maintenance.
I suggest we all contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ask that this project be put on hold until the EIS is completed. Perhaps that will speed up the time frame and focus the resources of the DOT on the alternatives question.