FONDA - Mohawk officials Thursday expressed opposition to the proposed closing of the railroad crossings at Center Street and Broadway.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Greg Rajkowski invited state officials to tour the town and the village of Fonda.
Rajkowski invited Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald to the area.
Mohawk Town Supervisor Greg Rajkowski listens to a discussion about the Broadway railroad crossing at the Town Board meeting Thursday at the Town Hall.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors decided to send a letter opposing the proposed railroad crossing closings to an administrative law judge, who will make a recommendation regarding the crossings. The judge then will present findings to DOT, which will make the final decision.
CSX Railroad, the company seeking closure of the crossings, said they are dangerous and few vehicles use them.
Town Highway Superintendent William Holvig read a statement of his own Thursday, saying CSX hasn't justified closing the crossings. He said one solution may be to at least keep the Broadway crossing open to two-way and pedestrian traffic, regulated by a warning device. He said the state looks at these crossings as a money issue.
"They don't want to spend the money," Holvig stated. "It's easier to close the crossings and we're left with a public-safety nightmare."
Rajkowski said that from a public-safety standpoint, it makes sense to keep the railroad crossings open to ensure Montgomery County sheriff's deputies, state police, the Montgomery County Department of Public Works, fire personnel and emergency management and medical personnel can respond to emergencies.
He said DOT suggested the gate be opened on both sides in an emergency, but failed to "publicly" state that only the chairman of the Board of Supervisors can issue a state of emergency. Rajkowski said if that chairman can't be reached, "that gate is not going to work."
Rajkowski said he is working with other politicians to set up the Cuomo and McDonald tour. He said he would like them to meet with him and county Emergency Management Director Dwight Schwabrow.
Board member James Hoffman said town officials should stress that closing the crossings also would be an "inconvenience to the residents of Montgomery County."
Rajkowski said local businesses would be hurt, too, if the crossings were closed, and asked what would happen if "there's another flood" in the area similar to last year's flood.
Michael Anich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org