Cattaraugus County legislators urge New York to OK Route 219 funds

Posted on March 24th, 2016

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LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers added their voices to Route 219 supporters who want the state to focus on building Section 12 east of Salamanca as the first two-mile link to be constructed north through the county.

The County Legislature was unanimous in urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to commit funds to the Route 219 corridor and seek special funding for new highways in rural areas under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act before the end of April.

Sponsored by Joseph Boberg, R-Delevan, a member of the new Route 219 Corridor Development Committee, the resolution asks the state Department of Transportation to apply for Section 12 of Route 219 as a project in the 2016-17 Nationally Significant Freight and Highways Projects.

Boberg said afterward that it’s very important to get the Route 219 environmental studies funded in the 2016 state budget and he wanted the County Legislature to be on record as supporting it.

Another Route 219 resolution was sponsored by David Koch, D-Salamanca, which urged Cuomo and the State Legislature to work with the Seneca Nation of Indians on the Route 219 project.

“If Route 219 is ever to be completed, everybody has to be on the same page,” Koch said.

With an easement needed to cross the Seneca Nation of Indians Allegany territory, Koch said he’d like to see all the agreements and permits in place when the state goes looking for money for the expressway from the federal government.

The state will have to make good on remaining promises made by state officials in 1976 when the Lieu Lands agreement was made for the Route 17 Southern Tier Expressway (now called Interstate 86) to cross the Allegany Territory.

“It can only help the economy of Cattaraugus County,” Koch said of the expressway.

A spokesman for Continental 1, the lobbying group marshaling support for Route 219, said Wednesday, “It is still in the (budget) mix.”

Also, State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, continues to push hard for it in budget negotiations, said Meg Lauerman, executive director for Continental 1.

In the end, the resolution was co-sponsored by the entire County Legislature.