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Cuomo outlines array of infrastructure projects, including I-81 in Syracuse

Ellen Abbott
Interstate-81 in Syracuse.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the last of four speeches outlining his 2021 plans, detailed billions of dollars in new and ongoing infrastructure projects that he hopes can provide jobs in the post-pandemic economy.

Cuomo on Thursday laid out a vast array of projects, including the Interstate-81 reconstruction project in downtown Syracuse. Cuomo said the obsolete and poorly designed viaduct will be transformed into a modern transportation corridor, and the project will break ground in 2022. The state will conduct more environmental and public reviews this year.

Joe Morrissey, a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation said the draft environmental impact statement is still under review by the Federal Highway Administration. When that is complete, the document will be released to the public and a public hearing will be held. But because of the pandemic, it’s difficult to hold a large-scale public hearing.

“We are actively working with FHWA on potential solutions that meet the requirements under the environmental review process while emphasizing the safety of the public,” Morrissey said.

Other plans outlined by Cuomo include creating a new West Side transit hub in Manhattan that would rebuild the rest of the dilapidated Penn Station and revamp the New York Port Authority bus complex, which he described as an “eyesore.”

Cuomo also wants to expand the Javits convention center by 50% and extend the popular High Line walkway. Cuomo also wants to continue the Second Avenue subway into Harlem and complete a third track on the Long Island Railroad.

Upstate, the governor said an elevated walkway will be completed along the Hudson River in Albany, and the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester will be expanded.  A project to take down the Skyway highway in Buffalo along Lake Erie will also be completed later this year, and a Legoland theme park will open in the Hudson Valley.

“We will make these investments at a time when the interest rates are low, and when New Yorkers are looking for work,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the projects total over $300 billion.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.