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Tele-Town Hall Highlights HV Transportation And Infrastructure

Road work sign
Jo Naylor/Flickr

New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney recently held a telephone town hall on local transportation and infrastructure issues in the Hudson Valley.

Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat who sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, supported bipartisan legislation to prevent the bankruptcy of the Highway Trust Fund. The emergency measure passed last week by a vote of 367-55.

“I just helped pass bipartisan legislation that will prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money. This is the federal fund used to do critical infrastructure projects all over the country, and in New York, and in the Hudson Valley,” said Maloney. “This is absolutely essential to 6,400 active highway projects and transit projects just in New York. And losing these funds would jeopardize nearly 50,000 jobs if we hadn’t acted.”

The Senate was expected to vote this week on the bill that would inject nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund. Maloney informed callers from his 18th district about this, along with transportation and infrastructure projects for which he has helped secure funding. Meanwhile, Jeff from Tuxedo Park in Orange County is concerned about a road in his area.

“The road condition on Route 17N from Tuxedo to basically the little settlement of Arden is just a mess,” Jeff said. “It’s a minefield. It’s been patched and worked on, but it hasn’t been resurfaced in, I don’t know, it’s been years, maybe 8, 10 years, I’m not sure how long it’s been, but if you take a ride on that road, you’ll see what I mean.”

“Yeah, I know where it is,” said Maloney.

The caller said that if the proposed casino for Tuxedo were granted a license, the road would deteriorate further with increased traffic. Here’s Maloney:

“Yeah, listen, thank you for bringing my attention to that. Tell you what we’re going to do. We will go to bat for you on that. We’ll find out what’s going on,” replied Maloney. “There’s a guy in my office named Joe Donat. I’m going to talk to him about it and maybe he can reach back out to you or you can call him.”

Later during the call, Barbara from Tuxedo Park echoed Jeff’s concern about Route 17, calling it a disaster. She raised another matter.

“The other thing is the Ramapo River runs through Tuxedo and you mentioned that earlier yourself you’re aware of what happened in the past,” said Barbara.  

“Yeah,” said Maloney.

“And one of the things that the townspeople would really appreciate is if somehow we can get a project here in which they would dredge the river,” Barbara continued. “They have not done that and all the silt and the wash-down over the years has filled that river. And that’s part of the reason why that flooding is occurring.”

“That’s right, and we saw it, and you’re so right. And one of the things we’re working on is exactly these kind of project so that next time we’ve done the work so we don’t have the damage because unfortunately we’re seeing more of these superstorms and we obviously, we won’t be able to stop all those, but we can…” said Maloney. “ We just got, you should know, we just got $3.8 million to elevate a section of I-87 exactly for this reason, because of the flooding in that part of the world. And we’ve worked on Sandy disaster relief money to  make sure it’s coming back to communities like Tuxedo, like Washingtonville right nearby, like other communities in southern Orange,  and Blooming Grove got help. And we’ll keep at it. And we’re not done yet.”

He says he has a long list of projects for Superstorm Sandy disaster relief funding.

Eleanor from Beacon in Dutchess County had the following question.

“But I’m a senior citizen who can’t drive anymore. And the public transportation system is not very good and what can be done to improve it for people like me,” asked Eleanor.

Maloney offered to have someone call her and work with her to ensure she has access to services. She accepted.  Maloney also replied:

“We are, by the way, working on more buses, just so you know,” answered Maloney. “We are, I’m working on a federal grant program that will provide more bus service in Dutchess County and that will supplement the efforts that they do on the local level, like in Beacon and Poughkeepsie and elsewhere. There’s a federal grant program. It’s called the TIGER grant program. I’m working on that right now.”

In addition to hearing from his constituents on the telephone town hall, Maloney also invited them to participate in his Hudson Valley transportation survey. Maloney is facing Republican Nan Hayworth, his predecessor in the seat, in November’s election.

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