Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is holding four town hall meetings to gather input on the Interstate 81 project on downtown Syracuse. The first meeting is this evening at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Cayuga Community College in Auburn.
Katko sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has said he will seek federal funds for the elevated viaduct's replacement. Katko has not taken a position on which of the options should replace the viaduct, which has reached the end of its useful lifespan. Replacement options include a community grid, a tunnel, or rebuilding the current viaduct.
The state Department of Transportation is expected to release a draft environmental impact statement in the next sevreral weeks that could include a recommendation.
The community has been largely divided on the replacement options. Many in the city of Syracuse, including Mayor ben Walsh support the comminuty grid option, which would route through traffic around the city on Interstate 481. But many in the suburbs, including all 19 town supervisors in Onondaga County, are against the grid, saying the increase in traffic would be detrimental to their communities.
The next town hall will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. at DeWitt Town Hall. Two other meetings will be held in Salina and Syracuse. Dates for those meetings have not yet been announced.