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Spending on study for highway rejected

October 17, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - Montgomery County won't pay $50,000 to study the feasibility of building a highway from the Thruway to Johnstown.

The county Board of Supervisors' General Services Committee rejected the spending Tuesday, leaving Fulton County to decide whether it wants to pay the full $100,000 local share of the study. The federal government would pay for the remaining $400,000 cost of the study.

The resolution in Montgomery County, which was sponsored by Minden Supervisor Tom Quackenbush, would have had Montgomery County pay 10 percent of the cost to identify a preferred route, perform preliminary engineering and prepare a project cost estimate to construct the highway connector from Thruway Exit 28 in Fultonville to Route 30A near the Johnstown Industrial Park in Fulton County.

The Federal Highway Administration would provide 80 percent of the project funds if Fulton and Montgomery counties would pay the remaining 20 percent.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors last month approved its share of the funding.

Fonda and Fultonville have heavy truck traffic because of their proximity to the Thruway and the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Fact Box

Proposed plan

Fulton and Montgomery counties have been

considering 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: A $100,000 local share for a $500,000 feasibility and preliminary design study.

What's available: $400,000 in federal grant funding.

Mohawk Supervisor Greg Rajkowski said he would look forward to the study's results, but as a member of county government, he is concerned about the cost of the study.

"I can't sponsor this resolution because it would cost $50,000 of county money. We're in crisis mode, and I can't see putting out $50,000 for a study," he said.

Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, who serves as the clerk for Fultonville, said he has received calls from concerned citizens on Fonda's Switzer Hill Road who oppose a new highway in their area.

"I can't see disturbing another area," DiMezza said. "We've already invested millions of dollars into the road system in Fonda, which is moving smoothly now that the work is done."

St. Johnsville Town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano said while he had no say in the matter on the committee level, he would vote to approve the payment, stating that cooperation between Montgomery and Fulton counties could be beneficial.

"Sometimes we partner in Fulton County and we have to work together. Looking long-term down the road, we have to do economic development jointly. I guess I see this differently. I would have supported it, but I'm not on the committee," Stagliano said.

Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael F. Gendron said this morning he was disappointed with Montgomery County's decision.

He would not say whether Fulton County would pay for the entire $100,000 local share of the study.

Previously, Fulton County Planning Director James 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.



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