Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) called for action on the long-stalled Williamsville toll barrier relocation project. In a letter to Federal Highway Administrator Victor M. Mendez, Rep. Hochul requested that Administration expedite the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which has been pending for several years. Rep. Hochul also expressed her support for the Amherst Town Board's Freedom of Information Request to receive a full accounting of federal funding allocated for the project.
"It is critical the Administration acts now to ensure this long overdue project moves forward," said Rep. Hochul. "I am hopeful a conclusion to this matter can be met in order to advance this important project, ease health and environmental concerns, and relieve motorists and businesses of an unnecessary financial burden."
Once results of the EIS are released, New York State Thruway Authority officials can move forward with the project. In 2006, area residents believed this project would progress, and local leaders have been planning this move as far back as the late 1990s but have seen no action in recent years.
Relocating the Williamsville toll barrier from heavily populated suburbs will help alleviate health and environmental risks posed to the public. An EIS was requested to address these concerns, as well as to address the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) concerns over the potential impact on wetlands.
Hochul has been advocating for Western New York's motorists throughout her career in public service. As a member of the Hamburg Town Board, in 1998 she began a long fight to remove toll booths from the New York State Thruway which continued into her tenure as Erie County Clerk.