New York State budget includes funding for Project I-81
With the passing of the state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a record $32.8 billion for transportation infrastructure.
Some of this money plays a major role in central New York.
State lawmakers have approved $1.1 billion for construction of the Community Grid project, focusing on Interstate 81.
“Passing this extraordinary capital plan sends a strong signal that New York is rebuilding stronger than ever from the depths of the pandemic,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “With this master plan, we will give communities the infrastructure they need to unlock their full potential, improving connectivity, supporting transportation alternatives and redressing past injustices. I commend Majority Leader Stewart -Cousins and President Heastie for their help in getting this Finished.”
The project will replace the current elevated overpass structure, pushing traffic along north-south streets.
It also includes upgrading a section of Interstate 481 as part of the new I-81.
Lawmakers said the project would reconnect neighborhoods impacted by construction of the original freeway.
Many neighboring communities are concerned about reconstruction.
Some residents say they fear the project will repeat history, such as the demolition of the 15th Ward community in the 1950s when I-81 was first introduced.