With I-81 decision nearing, the time to speak up is now

With Gov. Cuomo saying in November that the next step in the Interstate 81 decision-making process is coming in January, it has never been more important to make your voice heard about the need to maintain this important route.

And that’s exactly what we’re hearing from our community.

Ed McGuire of Syracuse recently wrote in the Post-Standard:

“Once again I see the Community Grid option being shoved down our throats on the front page of Sunday newspaper. The article hypes the additional tax benefits to the city if the land below the current raised highway becomes available for development. Of course St. Joseph’s Health trustees have endorsed the Community Grid option. I’m sure that they, along with other hospitals in the area, Syracuse University, and other corporations that know all the tax loopholes, are salivating at the thought of getting their hands on that land.

“The notion that development of that land would substantially increase tax revenue for the city of Syracuse is simply another pie-in-the-sky fantasy. Instead, it would put additional strain on city resources and taxpayers who bear the burden of supporting those services for the benefit of tax-exempt property owners.”

James Oliver Secor of Manlius wrote:

“While getting up to speed, many of us have become well aware of the advantages offered by the tunnel/boulevard combo. This scheme addresses several important concerns.

“It seems logical that with the hybrid approach, express traffic and local traffic both receive due consideration. One critical concern expressed by contributors to your column, is the accommodation of ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. During heavy traffic (gridlock) and/or the occurrence of accidents, these vehicles would have a choice of using an alternate route, i.e. the thoroughfare or the community grid, which ever is faster.”

If you agree that maintaining high-speed access into and through Syracuse is essential, please join Ed, James and others in making some noise. Write a letter to the editor about how I-81 serves you. More info on submitting a letter can be found here.

While you’re at it, send a quick message to the governor, the state Department of Transportation, and your federal and state representatives about how I-81 serves all Central New Yorkers.

Give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter, too, and share posts with your networks to help us spread the word about why we all need to come together in support of a high-speed option that benefits everyone.