MAYVILLE - Legislators will vote today on a motion to urge state lawmakers to fulfill the state's commitment by completing the Interstate 86 conversion project.
The motion, discussed during a Public Facilities Committee meeting last week, is being sponsored by a half-dozen county legislators and refers to former Gov. George Pataki's I-86 revitalization efforts.
"I am one of the co-sponsors on this and obviously I-86 is absolutely essential to connect business and transportation across the Southern Tier," said Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point, during last week's committee meeting. "When the portion of it was completed from the Findley Lake area it was a huge change from flat tires and the very frustrating welcome to Chautauqua County pot holes.
"So, as it continues on, I think we need to have as much pressure as we can to continue that construction piece. So this is just a 'hey, out here in Western New York, we need to keep this thing going.' So I think it is just a good idea to continue whatever pressure that we can on the governor's office."
In the late '90s, Pataki commissioned a 10- to 12-year construction program to convert Route 17 to I-86; the project officially began December 1999.
An economic development benefits study was then drafted in 2000, and was "widely accepted and quoted at all levels of government which called for an aggressive eight-year construction period and projected the conversion of New York state Route 17 to I-86," according to language in the motion.
The study estimated the conversion project would result in a $3.2 billion "direct economic benefit" to communities along the I-86 corridor.
Legislators supporting the motion are hoping to urge the state Legislature to expedite funding and resources to finish the conversion project through Broome, Delaware, Sullivan and Orange counties. County lawmakers say such funding would provide "vast economic benefits" and an immediate boost to the Southern Tier region.
If approved, the motion will be sent to the governor's office as well as various local and state lawmakers and the I-86 corridor counties.