Trump’s infrastructure plans could lead to re-installing Thruway tolls

I grew up in Kaisertown. I watched the Niagara Section of the Thruway built right before my eyes. The Ogden toll barrier was in sight of our front porch.

That toll barrier collected millions of dollars from drivers over a period of more than fifty years. It slowed traffic pouring into the city. What a crazy idea – charging people in a mid-sized metropolitan area a fee to enter the central city.

That barrier, of course had a sister location along the Niagara River, near Breckenridge. That was so that area residents coming into the central city from the north towns could also pay to enter. There was no fee to leave the city.

A few years ago those barriers came down after an aggressive campaign by local political and business leaders. Traffic finally, after more than fifty years, flowed freely into Buffalo. Continue reading

The State doesn’t need to spend $25 million for a train station

As the state’s 2017-18 budget finally fell into place we found that among the financial decisions is a pile of goodies from the state. Governor Cuomo provided the Buffalo Billion II, which is actually one half billion dollars – a lot of money. There is also $385 million more stuffed in the budget for projects in Western New York and statewide that the governor and the Legislature will separately award. Continue reading

Going down the road with the highway bill; New York State’s public integrity rankings

When John Boehner was preparing to leave the House Speakership last month he said was going to clean up the barn before the new speaker started. He and other congressional leaders did get some things done during the last week in October. There was one corner of the barn that Boehner did not get to.

Congress that week approved the 35th short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, providing funding through November 20th. This was all to set the stage for a final resolution of the Trust Fund matter for a six year period. Continue reading