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TOWN SEEKING U.S. FUNDS FOR TRAFFIC STUDY

Cheektowaga is hoping a small portion of federal transportation money can be thrown the town's way to study solutions to the traffic congestion along the William Street-Losson Road corridor.

Rep. Jack F. Quinn, R-Hamburg, recently penciled in a William-Losson traffic improvement study onto his already extensive wish list of local projects he would like to see funded in the new Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act legislation still being worked out on Capitol Hill.

Quinn, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is seeking millions of dollars over the next several years for various Western New York transportation projects, such as building a new four-lane stretch of Route 219.

Quinn recently added to his wish list $1 million to study relief efforts along the heavily traveled, much-complained-about corridor, after hearing from frustrated town officials, William Street residents and motorists.

"One of those things we're trying to get funded is a William Street-Losson Road Traffic Mitigation Study," said Ronald Hayes, director for community development in Quinn's local office.

"Our emphasis is to mitigate the traffic at William and Losson," Hayes said.

"We don't want to try to quick-fix it, which may cause a traffic problem somewhere else."

The money for Quinn's list of special projects is by no means guaranteed.

The bill sets federal transportation priorities for the next several years and the funding is very competitive.

Cheektowaga officials are encouraged the William-Losson traffic situation is getting federal consideration.

Traffic along William has increased dramatically since the 1992 opening of the Thruway's William Street interchange.

Traffic complaints have increased, too, particularly from angry residents who say the William Street-Losson Road stretch is being used as a pass-through for fast-growing Lancaster.

That's why some see the traffic problem as a regional issue and why Quinn's office is keeping in contact with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Committee on a related study.

The NFTC is conducting a $50,000 study intended to identify a north-south corridor route in Lancaster so the town can set aside property for it.

If the findings in that study indicate a new Lancaster route would relieve congestion on William and Losson, any dedicated ISTEA dollars could go to help expand the Lancaster study or begin some relief efforts, Hayes said.

Councilman Thomas M. Johnson Jr., one Cheektowaga official working on the corridor's traffic issue, would like to see any Surface Transportation Efficiency Act money used to acquire property identified for a Lancaster relief road.

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