Our region is in the process of advancing a reconstruction project on the Kensington Expressway consisting of a 4,500-foot-long tunnel with the objective of restoring the former Humboldt Parkway at a cost of $1 billion. I believe it is time to set back and ask ourselves if this project is reflective of our priorities.
An April 22, 2021, article by Jerry Zremski of The Buffalo News notes that there are 100 miles of lead service lines supplying water to homes in Buffalo. The city stopped adding fluoride to the water in 2015 and it is not expected to restore its use anytime soon. During heavy rains, the city’s existing, antiquated combined sewer system results in wastewater flowing into streams, creeks and other area waterways.
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I believe safe drinking water and pollution of our recreation waters should have a far greater priority than building the tunnel that is currently being proposed. There are lower cost alternatives for the Kensington project that would preclude the need for a tunnel, a $100 million ventilation system and its $5-12 million in annual maintenance costs.
Our elected leaders have short-term goals (next election cycle) and a narrow focus on a relatively small area of the city. We need leaders who have a broad view of the future that will address the city’s infrastructure needs and encourage private investment. What we don’t need is the current narrow focus or “tunnel vision.”