JOHNSTOWN - Montgomery County may not be willing to pay its share for a study on whether to build a highway in Fulton and Montgomery counties.
Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shayne Walters said Wednesday he'd be happy to see Fulton County pay Montgomery County's $50,000 share of the cost.
"I'll hold the check for [Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael F. Genderon] on the table if he wants to write it out," Walters said.
Walters said Fulton County appears to be more willing to do the project than Montgomery County.
The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 10 authorized a $400,000 grant agreement with the federal government to conduct a feasibility and preliminary design study for development of the "connector" highway. The agreement includes Fulton County's $50,000 share.
If built, the highway would run from Thruway Exit 28 in Fultonville to Route 30A near the Johnstown Industrial Park.
Fulton and Montgomery counties are considering whether to study the feasibility of building a new highway.
Project plan: A highway running from Thruway Exit 28 in Fultonville to Route 30A near the Johnstown Industrial Park.
What's needed: $50,000 shares from both counties for a $500,000 feasibility and preliminary design study.
What's available: $400,000 in federal grant funding.
Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz was informed in August the $400,000 Federal Highway Administration grant was approved as part of a project to do the $500,000 feasibility study.
Fulton and Montgomery counties would be expected to kick in $50,000 shares for the study.
According to the Federal Highway Administration website, the money would "help study the proposed Fonda Connector Project in Montgomery and Fulton counties by identifying a preferred route, performing preliminary engineering and preparing a project cost estimate."
Mraz said Fulton County is waiting for the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors to talk about the issue.
Walters said the project proposal is on the agenda for an Oct. 9 meeting of his board's General Services Committee in Fonda.
Mraz said Fulton County has three options if Montgomery County rejects paying its $50,000 share.
The county could: reject the grant; get "another partner" to put up the money; or pay Montgomery County's local share, Mraz said.
He said the feasibility and preliminary design study ultimately will determine the cost of the new highway.
"I think it's a great idea," said Stratford Supervisor Robert Johnson. "I think we need it and I hope we can accomplish it."
Mraz previously said the connector highway project could achieve four major objectives: reroute heavy, commercial truck traffic around the villages of Fultonville and Fonda; significantly reduce truck traffic, air pollution, noise, vibration and congestion in the villages; improve access to the proposed Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center in Perth; and provide a direct transportation link between I-90 to I-87 and the GlobalFoundries plant at the Luther Forest Technology Park in Malta, Saratoga County.
Walters said the connector highway, if built, may bring more commerce to the region, but he said Montgomery County is suffering through another "tough budget year" with another state tax cap, and it might not be cost-effective to allocate $50,000 at this time for a study.
Getting residents' approval for a highway that may come through the Switzer Hill Road area of Montgomery County also would be difficult, Walters said.
"You've got to get over the tough stumbling blocks," Walters said.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.