Press Release: Group Forms To Save Interstate 81 in Syracuse

A diverse coalition of residents, elected officials, employers, union members and community groups dedicated to preserving and enhancing I-81 in Central New York join forces to form

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Today, a diverse collection of concerned citizens, elected officials, employers, unions and community groups announced the formation of, an advocacy group committed to preserving and enhancing Interstate 81’s current Interstate Highway designation and alignment through Central New York. The initial briefing was held at downtown’s new Courtyard and Residence Inn.

“I-81 is an economic backbone for our area, a vital artery that links city neighborhoods and suburban and rural areas with Downtown Syracuse and many key destinations,” said Tony Mangano, spokesman and local business owner. “It plays a critical role in the region’s economy, public safety and accessibility. We must ensure that its current function is preserved, and is committed to working toward that goal.”

As portions of I-81 in Central New York will soon reach the end of their useful life, transportation officials in Albany are in the process of deciding the highway’s future in the Syracuse area.  Much of the discussion so far has focused on the I-81 viaduct that serves Downtown Syracuse. believes that any plan chosen by officials in Albany must preserve and enhance the highway’s current alignment and Interstate Highway designation through the region, particularly the stretch of I-81 running through Syracuse.

The members of believe there are multiple solutions to the problem, and they are committed to seeing that the solution chosen is not one that will damage the safety, quality of life and economic health of Central New York. is opposed to any plan that would divert the highway away from Syracuse.  This includes a “boulevard” plan being considered by State officials that would re-route I-81 to the east, away from the City.

T-John Goodman, owner of Sweet on Chocolate in Downtown Syracuse and a Save member, said: “Altering the current flow of I-81 in our area, particularly the stretch serving Downtown Syracuse, would be a blow to the region’s already fragile economy and a blow to our reputation as a ‘20-minute city.’  For my small business, every sale matters, and any change to our city’s convenient traffic flow that could discourage customers from coming in to the shop would be a devastating hit for me and my employees.”

 “Leaders of numerous towns in Onondaga and Cayuga counties are expressing their concerns about the negative consequences that a boulevard could have on our area,” said Onondaga County Legislator Kathleen Rapp. “It is crucial that these concerns in our community are heard by I-81 decision-makers as this process moves forward, which is why I am looking forward to working with to organize these voices over the coming months.”

As the state moves forward with the I-81 rehabilitation process, plans to play a role in the discussion, with the goal of ensuring that decision-makers hear the voices of all of those with an interest in the outcome, including those who fear that changing the highway’s current traffic pattern would undermine our region’s quality of life.

Over the coming months, will host events to discuss the I-81 issue with concerned residents and business owners; reach out to elected officials and decision-makers to serve as a voice for the community’s concerns; and work with towns throughout the region whose residents are concerned about the potential effects on their own neighborhoods. urges all concerned citizens to join our effort to preserve I-81 as a crucial feature in our region’s quality of life.

Founding members of include

Robert Andrews          Onondaga County Legislator, 9th district

Mark Atkinson            Mayor, Village of North Syracuse

Jim Bright                    Dunk and Bright

Todd Buchko               WonderWorks

Michael Chapman        Chairman, Cayuga County Legislature

Jim Corl                       Supervisor, Town of Cicero

Patrick Danial              Terakeet

John Dougherty           Onondaga County Legislator, 2nd district

Joseph Emmi               Super 8 Syracuse

Marc Emmi                  Hampton Inn Liverpool

Carmen Emmi, Jr         Homewood Suites

Joe Falcone                  Dominick Falcone Insurance

Deborah Gallagher       North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NAVAC)

Jim Gallagher               Holiday Inn

T-John Goodman         Sweet on Chocolate, Armory Square

Holland C Gregg III     Executive Director, Citizens to Preserve the Character of Skaneateles (CPCS)

Gary Hatfield               Supervisor, Town of Moravia

Jeff Herrick                  Supervisor, Town of Sennett

David Heymann           Sheraton Syracuse

Steve Hughes               Tim Hortons

Bruce Kenan                Destiny USA

David Knapp               Onondaga County Legislator, 12th district

Michael Lazar              Chaiman, Town of DeWitt Planning Board

Danny Liedka              Onondaga County Legislator, 7th district

Tony Mangano            Ramada Inn

Kerry Mannion            Member, Town of DeWitt Town Board

Brian May                   Onondaga County Legislator, 1st district

Gary May                    May’s Auto

Todd May                   Southern Wine and Spirits

Ryan McMahon          Chairman, Onondaga County Legislature, 15th district

Ed Michalenko             Supervisor, Town of DeWitt

Mark Nicotra               Supervisor, Town of Salina

Michael Plochocki       Onondaga County Legislator, 6th District

Kathleen Rapp             Onondaga County Legislator, 5th district

Teresa Roney               Supervisor, Town of Skaneateles

Christopher Ryan        Onondaga County Legislator, 8th District

Gary Searing                Supervisor, Town of Fleming

John Sposato               Sposato Companies

Richard Sykes              The Inns at Armory Square

Ann Marie Taliercio    UniteHERE 150

Judy Tassone               Onondaga County Legislator, 4th district

Ed Wagner                    Supervisor, Town of Owasco

Gary White                  Mayor, Village of Liverpool

Steve White                  Citizens to Preserve the Character of Skaneateles (CPCS)

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