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CDTC Transportation Improvement Program Open House Tuesday

People wait to cross I-787 in Cohoes.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
People wait to cross I-787 in Cohoes.

The Capital District Transportation Committee is holding an open house Tuesday to discuss its nearly $500 million proposed spending plan.  

The CDTC is accepting public comment on the Draft 2019-2024 Transportation Improvement Program. “TIP” includes a list of transportation projects that utilize federal transportation funds in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties.  CDTC Executive Director Michael Franchini:   "Every three years we update our capital plan, it's a five-year capital plan and it basically describes how the federal transportation funds that come to our area, how those funds are programmed and which projects are awarded those funds. So that's what we do every three years. Our members, we have a very long process, it's actually about eight months worth of work where our members and the staff go over all the new project proposals, evaluate them and approve which projects are going to receive funding."

The draft plan proposes highway, bridge and transit spending projects in the Capital Region.   "There are 51 actually new projects on the five-year capital plan. Those new projects include bridge repair projects, bridge replacement projects, a lot of highway projects. It also includes bike/pedestrian projects. There are nine bike-ped projects that the primary function or objective to that project is bike-ped improvement. They include repaving the northway, they include repairs to 787 and some of the ramps. The Town of Bethlehem received funding for the Delaware Avenue Road Diet, Complete Streets Road Diet. The city of Albany received funding for several streets for paving. They also received some funding for the Skyway Project. The projects are really spread out over the four-county region. It's more of a criteria that our members use. There has to be a balance so that Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Albany County all get some projects. There's a lot projects. That's one of the reasons why we're having the meeting is to try and go over those and give people a sense of where the money's being spent."

The proposed plan replaces the existing 2016-2021 plan and represents federal fiscal years from October 2019 through September 2024.  Franchini hopes the open house will attract residents in any community where "complete streets" or other infrastructure projects are planned or scheduled.   "They should come to see what projects in their area are going to be built in the next five years, if they're interested. We'll also go over the process. You know, how it's done. How we program. How we evaluate the projects, and how much work the committee does to make sure that the best projects are programmed."

  Dave Lucas: "What kind of feedback have you had from the public so far?"

"We haven't had a lot of feedback, and that's why we try to have the public meeting and try to get people there. I think a lot of people aren't aware of the process that goes on when it comes to how to program the federal money. We've only had a couple of email comments up to this point, when it comes to how to program this federal money."

Next week's meeting is the last opportunity for the public weigh in.   "The meeting is at the Colonie Public Library on Albany Shaker Road. It starts at 4 o'clock, it ends at 7. There will be two presentations, one at 4 one at 6. And those presentations will be relatively short, just to give people an idea how we selected the projects and what they are, then staff will be available to answer any questions about the projects that have been programmed."

The public review process concludes June 3rd.  "The next step, after we looked at all the comments and the 60-day comment period ends, is to bring it to our, what we call our policy board, and those are the elected officials who represent our members, and it's up to them to vote and approve it, on June 6th."

2019-2024 TIP Public Review Materials:

Hardcopies are available by contacting CDTC or by visiting major libraries in the Capital Region.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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