Dems Insist They’re Moving on an Upstate Road and Bridge Plan

ALBANY—What about that road and bridge plan?

Republicans blasted Democrats for not including a plan to fund road and bridge projects upstate when they passed a bailout for the M.T.A., and have since asked where things stood.

State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, chairman of the chamber's Transportation Committee, said he was dismayed that a report to the legislature from the Department of Transportation, scheduled to be delivered by Oct. 1, still hasn't arrived.

"October 1st it did not come out; I did send a letter to the commissioner on that Friday indicating my dismay in the report not being out," Dilan said. "When we passed the M.T.A. stuff we had made a commitment that we would be preparing a five-year capital plan for the rest of the state before the current one expires."

(DOT spokesman Charles Carrier told me the agency is "wrapping up" the report, and that it will be submitted to the legislature sometime this week.)

When the bill was passed in May, State Senator Tom Libous said upstate roads and bridges "are being forgotten in the gluttony." Several weeks ago, Senate Republicans were quoted wondering where the plan stood. Most of the Democratic state senators hail from New York City, and Republicans are consistently attacking them on a regional basis. None of the Democrats in the state's power structure–except for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand–hail from north of New York City, and Republicans are targetting Democratic members in upstate districts.

Dilan told me things are in motion on the road and bridge plan.

"I'm starting my hearings on October 30 in Buffalo, and then I expect to go to Syracuse," he said. "Everyone across the state is waiting for us, and we're honoring that commitment, with or without D.O.T."

Dems Insist They’re Moving on an Upstate Road and Bridge Plan