New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced more than $144 million in infrastructure funding across the state. The funding is intended to support roadway, bicycle and pedestrian improvements. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports the City of Amsterdam was awarded millions to support two projects.
The Mohawk Valley region was awarded $9.4 million in funding as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Health Across All Policies Initiative. Within that region, Amsterdam is the recipient of nearly $7 million.
Of that, $2 million will go to Amsterdam for pedestrian improvements and another $4.9 million will be used to convert intersections into roundabouts. The funding, which is made available from through the Federal Highway Administration and was administered by the state Department of Transportation, will cover up to 80 percent of the cost of each project.
Last fall, Amsterdam was awarded $10 million in state funding as part of the governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa said the $17 million all together shows that the city is attracting positive attention.
“We’re excited, just ready to keep this ball rolling, the momentum going, and continue to move Amsterdam in a positive direction,” said Villa.
The city is seeking to use DRI funding to help construct a new recreation center. Villa said the recently awarded transportation funds will assist with the re-routing of an eastbound section of the Route 5 roadway for the rec center project.
“For the rec center to go up, Route 5 had to come out. So that one’s critical. The second thing is, all our traffic going west to east is just going straight by the city. We want to incorporate traffic to go into the city, not just a drive-by. So that will also correct that,” said Villa.
The funding will also allow for the construction of three roundabouts along Main Street.
Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort, a Republican like Villa, said the recently announced transportation funding is in addition to a total of $22 million in awards within the county in 2017 and 2018. That number includes the $10 million DRI award and another notable $6 million Restore NY state grant for remediation and demolition work at the former Beech-Nut factory site at Exit 29 in Canajoharie.
“And I think we’ve established the relationships, we’ve established the trust that we’re going to get these projects done and do them well and put that money to good use. So I believe that’s a part of it. And it’s also speaking up and telling the state and federal government what your needs are. I’ve always said that alone we might not have the capacity, but with all the resources at our disposal we can make big change,” said Ossenfort.
The investments in accessibility and transportation piggyback on the completion last fall of a five-mile multi-use trail between Amsterdam and Pattersonville in Schenectady County along state Route 5S.
Democratic State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said in a statement it was “exciting to see” the transportation dollars headed to Amsterdam after the completion of the trail section last year. He added:
“Pedestrian friendly infrastructure, accessibility, and safety enhancements are key elements to building vibrant, sustainable communities.”