Applauds CNY Lawmakers For Urging DOT to Maintain I-81’s Route Through Region

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2014

Contact: Mark Nicotra, (315) 313-5765, [email protected]

Seven State Legislators Say I-81 Must Remain In “Same General Corridor” And Keep Federal Highway Designation

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – today applauded seven Central New York state lawmakers for their letter to Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald calling on any plan for the future of Interstate 81 to keep the highway in the “same general corridor” it presently serves and to maintain its federal highway designation.

“We completely agree that diverting I-81 will have serious negative consequences for our region, and that any plan must keep traffic flowing along its present path — whether it be a tunnel, depressed highway, a new bridge or a different idea altogether,” said spokesman Mark Nicotra.  “These lawmakers are showing tremendous leadership on a critical issue that will affect our community for generations to come, and we hope to work with them going forward to ensure state officials make the right call.”

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote: “It is our position that, for the economic vitality of our region, whether there is a new overpass, a depressed highway or a tunnel, the ultimate design must continue to include an interstate highway as defined by federal highway standards, serving the same general corridor that Interstate 81 serves at the present time.”

They further stated: “Central New York continues to experience an economic downturn. Severing the north/south transportation artery will exacerbate the present problem and hurt commerce and tourism in our region for our future generations.”

The letter — signed by Sens. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, and David Valesky, D-Oneida, and Assemblymen Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse; Will Barclay, R-Pulaski; Gary Finch, R-Springport; Robert Oaks, R-Macedon; and Sam Roberts, D-Syracuse — was submitted to the DOT during the recent public comment period for the I-81 project.

About is a diverse coalition of concerned residents, elected officials, employers, union members, and community groups that have come together as officials in Albany determine how to deal with the aging portions of I-81 in our area. opposes a plan being considered to replace I-81 in Downtown Syracuse with a boulevard that would divert Interstate traffic away from the City and leave traffic congestion and air pollution in its place.

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