While I greatly enjoy the panoramic views of the harbor and the lake at some point the Skyway will have to be demolished.
It does not make financial or functional sense to do it now. Long term traffic planning should be left to the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council. If any money is spent now, it should be spent on developing an alternative to the Skyway – consider a “Tifft Street Arterial” utilizing the existing railroad right of way to connect the Hamburg Turnpike with the I-190 – utilizing local streets is a terrible idea.
I would prefer funds to be spent on inner city projects like reclaiming the neighborhoods destroyed by the Kensington and Scajaquada expressways. Congressman Brian Higgins, based on his passion to improve our waterfront and his knowledge of how federal funding works is understandably trying to obtain funding to demolish the Skyway now – “strike while the iron is hot.”
Herein lies the problem with federal funding.
Instead of providing funds when long range transportation planning, structural safety concerns and financial modeling dictate we must grab and spend the funds when available. What would make more sense would be to put a trillion dollars in a revolving loan fund which would be used to fund projects when they are needed. States would borrow the funds on behalf of themselves or subordinate entities which would have to pay them back. The federal contribution would be to allow borrowing for periods congruent with the useful life of the road or structure (for example, sewer systems could last 75 years or more), absorb the interest expense, and (perhaps on a sliding scale based on local incomes/taxing ability) provide some subsidy against the actual amount borrowed. I think even conservatives could like that plan.