I-81: We must choose the option that is best for all of Central New York.
This is in response to and support of the recent letter by 9 town leaders who strongly object to disrupting the current route of Interstate 81 as it runs through the city of Syracuse. Responses to this letter were mixed: from those supporting keeping the current viaduct to those challenging these leaders to producing facts to support the claims in the letter. As Chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature, I want to assure those readers that there is strong factual basis in the letter submitted by these leaders.
Since the start of the I-81 viaduct project, there have been a variety of independent polls completed. Many of these polls were commissioned by officials running for office in order to speak confidently for their constituency. In the most recent poll conducted by Save81, 59% of respondents prefer maintaining Interstate 81 as an interstate highway along its present route through Syracuse.
Most town boards in Onondaga and Cayuga Counties, as well as the County Legislatures, have issued resolutions against the removal of the I-81 viaduct or support for a hybrid option. Business owners and citizens from all over Central New York have proclaimed support for maintaining a high speed roadway close to the interstate’s existing route. The citizens of the area have spoken and the elected officials are doing their duty by representing these opinions publically.
It is critically important that more in depth reviews are completed by the NYS Department of Transportation before a final decision is made. Specifically, a hybrid solution with a tunnel or depressed highway, as well as, a community grid option. The Access Syracuse plan should be included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
We must choose the option that is best for all of Central New York. New York State cannot replicate the mistakes of the past and pick winners and losers. Citizens have spoken and asked that the main artery connecting Central New York not be severed.
Chairman, Onondaga County Legislature