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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What Happened at the Dec. 13th Board Meeting

As everyone knows the wheels of government move slower than molasses in January, and I apologize for not getting back to you sooner with an explanation. But in the last few days I’ve finally found the “language” to describe what happened at the Town Board Meeting last Tuesday night. So let’s start with what we learned from Paul McAnany, the Regional Design Engineer during his presentation at the last Board Meeting.

Paul began by telling the audience that the funding for Route 15, the 20 million from the federal government secured by Randy Kuhl and the 30 million from the passage of the New York State Transportation Bond Act was no guarantee that the entire six miles of Route 15 would be completed. Of course, this put the audience on edge because what he was saying was the direct opposite of what we all believed to be the case in light of the recently passed New York State Transportation Bond Act. Many in the audience questioned Paul about the Bond Act wanting to know why the money supposedly earmarked for the Route 15 Improvement Project was suddenly “not available” according to him. Everyone in the audience knew that Route 15 was included in the Bond Act’s project list which I posted on the blog several weeks ago. That’s why we voted for it. Paul also led us to believe that the 20 million from the federal government was unavailable to us also. So you can understand why we were “confused”.

After a round of key questioning by members of the audience, Paul began to clarify what he meant. In short, Paul explained that the money the “Lindley Route 15 Task Force”, our own lobbying group, Bill Canfield, Fran Woodring and a host of other people who have worked to secure for the completion of Route 15, was considered “leverage” to acquire even more funding for the project “in stages”. Paul went on to explain that this is the procedure once a project is considered “a committed project” and used the I-86 project to illustrate his point. He said that once the I-86 project began the money needed to complete the “entire” project was not in place. Paul said, it never is and it’s up to the politicians pushed by lobby groups (us) to continually “look” for more funding from the state or federal government to finish projects.

The next question from the audience was: “Is Route 15 a committed project?” This is where it got confusing again. Paul stated that the “first mile” was committed because of the deal New York made with Pennsylvania years ago to provide a transition mile into New York. Funds are available. He then said that the funding for the “design phase” of the project for the second mile to the sixth mile in Lindley was “Not” allocated as of yet and it was up to us to lobby the politicians to get the money for the design phase, a phase that would take around “three years” to complete. Now we all thought the six miles to be completed “were ALREADY designed”. Not true, according to Paul. We also thought that the passage of the NYS Bond Act made Route 15 a “committed project”. Not necessarily true, according to Paul.

Then, during the middle of all the confusing information, Paul casually mentioned that the “Kuhl Road Detour” was well underway as if that would give us hope that NYSDOT was “actively” working on the project. Now this is the part where I should recuse myself because I’m intimately involved, but I won’t for the sake of getting this information out, but it was quite clear from the audience’ reaction that no one knew about the imminent construction of the Kuhl Road Detour, including Larry and me. The state plans to turn Kuhl Road into a detour when the first mile of the four-lane is “connected” to the two-lane. The state plans to re-route 15,000 vehicles a day, both northbound and southbound onto Kuhl Road for six to eight weeks while the “connector” is being built. They plan to build a “temporary bridge” on Kuhl Road that will be taken out WHEN ROUTE 15 IS COMPLETED, not after the connector is finished in six to eight weeks as was reported during the board meeting. Kuhl Road becomes the local access road to Lawrenceville. Traffic volume on Kuhl Road is expected to increase a thousand fold as it will carry the combined traffic of 80% of all local and county roads in the Town of Lindley to get to Lawrenceville. Traffic from the surrounding areas outside Lindley is expected to use Kuhl Road to also avoid the “treacherous funnel effect” of a four-lane choking down into a two-lane on Route 15. Kuhl Road will become the second most heavily traveled road in the Town of Lindley aside from Route 15.

NYSDOT is telling residents on Kuhl Road right at this moment that the detour and bridge are temporary for the duration of six to eight weeks. This is simply not true. After the “connector is built”, the two-lane section of Route 15 that runs into Lawrenceville will be barricaded, and all access to residents living past the connector will be shut off. The Kuhl Road Bridge MUST remain open until the entire six miles of Route 15 are completed when “old Route 15 would re-open” and even if money were allocated tomorrow the project would not be completed in less than 15 years.

The absolute kicker to this dilemma for all affected is the fact that NYSDOT designed a “detour and access road to Lawrenceville” NEXT to the connector paralleling Route 15 where it would not adversely affect anyone and serve the same purpose as the Kuhl Road Detour. NYSDOT “abandoned” this design because they were worried about safety for their construction workers for the six to eight weeks while the connector was being built. Instead, they chose to adversely affect nine residents on Kuhl Road and spend thousands more than what the detour and access road next to the connector would have cost.

Basically, this is what we learned at meeting. What I’ve reported about the Kuhl Road Detour came from conversations with NYSDOT officials that took place after the December 13th meeting. This is an emerging story and I will keep everyone updated when I feel comfortable that I’m getting “correct” information.

11 Comments:

Anonymous kathyb said...

Well...glad to know that we voted to borrow and pay interest on $30 million dollars for a project that won't be completed for at least 15 years and can't possibly start for at least 3. Wonder what the elected officials up in Albany do with that money in the meanwhile??

Maybe we need to ask a few more questions of some key people and get in contact with some of the other towns whose projects were in the Project List to see what's happening with their projects. I have a feeling we might be able to build a pretty big lobbying group if we did.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Kath: I've already communicated with the "politicos" and they may have a different story to tell about the "funding process". Please be patient. In a couple of more days I'll have the most accurate information if it exists.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know as one voter who voted for the rt.15 funding if i had known then what i know now i would have not voted yes . i guess the state of new york does not care how they screw the people and how many people may die on rt. 15 in 15 years.shame on the state of newyork. How many people will die on kuhl rd. now?

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess we little people in this part of the state know where we stand with the Republican Party candidates. Makes one want to vote for a Democrat- Has any one contacted our Democratic State Senators to see if they are more influential? Worth a try -when is election year?

9:21 PM  
Anonymous kathyb said...

Anonymous said...
"Guess we little people in this part of the state know where we stand with the Republican Party candidates. Makes one want to vote for a Democrat- Has any one contacted our Democratic State Senators to see if they are more influential? Worth a try -when is election year? "

For the record, NYS is run primarily by Democrats- thus the problem. You might want to do your homework before you make any more ridiculous statements. The only part of NY state that is primarily Republican and/or Conservative is upstate NY and there is not enough population in upstate to undo the damage from the downstate legislators.

The Democratic legislators down in Albany can't get a budget passed on time to save their lives, wouldn't know what planning for the future meant and could care less if any money ever finds its way to upstate, so please don't go there.

Anyone who would pass a bill forcing the taxpayers (through Medicaid) to pay for Viagra for sex offenders has got to be nuts - and that only scratches the surface! If they didn't spend our money so unwisely, we would probably have the funds we needed to finish Rt. 15 already.

Randy Kuhl led a rally some years back to break the state into NY and western NY because of that very problem. Our tax dollars keep going down to Albany but rarely find there way back to us.

If you did your homework I think you might just appreciate how much our Republican and Conservative representatives had to fight to get us the highway funds that they did.

You might want to take a look at the voting records of all the representatives for NYS first, so you have real information to work with before maligning our local representatives. I will send the link over to Sally so she can post it on the blog for anyone who is interested to use.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kathyb said...


For the record, NYS is run primarily by Democrats- thus the problem. You might want to do your homework before you make any more ridiculous statements........

VERY well said Kathy! great post!

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we stop this Red State Blue State thing and all get together and write our local political reps. We've got this thing by the tail now, and only getting together and writing these guys is going to round this thing into shape. The money is there, we have to express strongly the need; one more time into the breech. ( What great civil war general said that?)

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Sounds like General Grant....

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Democrat Senators carry so much weight-then lets get them in our corner Like the above said -get all parties to work together.
Hilary did come to see the diesil buses -maybe she should take a ride on Rt.15 in Lindley.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous kathyb said...

I would highly agree that once we have all the facts we should work together to make our voices heard. They say "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"- if we work together we can make a heck of a lot of noise!

Sal is working on getting all the facts right now and I know she will post them just as soon as she has them. It is our responsibility, as citizens and taxpayers, to back her up in the battle.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sally: Give them the addresses they can write to. A lot of people sound motivated

1:14 PM  

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