BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul says her proposed $32.8 billion State Capital Plan includes nearly $3 billion for infrastructure projects across New York state.

The governor’s office says these investments “represent a generational opportunity to reunite neighborhoods, promote economic growth and revitalize many of New York's most important urban centers.”

During a visit to Buffalo on Saturday, Hochul announced that the State Department of Transportation will begin an environmental review to assess alternatives to the Kensington Expressway. 

"Reconnecting neighborhoods that were severed by asphalt highways is a cornerstone of our bold infrastructure vision for a better New York," Gov. Hochul said. "Better infrastructure means better quality of life, and the communities around the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo and across our state deserve nothing less. These projects will help right the wrongs of the past through safer and reliable transit networks, landscapes designed to bring communities together, and routes that are friendlier for pedestrians and bikers."   

The governor says projects on the Kensington Expressway, the Inner Loop in Rochester and the I-81 in Syracuse are vital to reuniting communities.

The governor’s office voiced the need for the investments in a release Saturday:

“The highway expansions of the post-World War II era ripped through communities of color across the country, tearing apart the fabric of these neighborhoods in ways that still need repairing today. People lost their homes and their businesses; social connections were replaced by speeding cars and vehicle emissions. New York State was not immune to this destructive path, which hit low-income and minority communities disproportionately hard, from the Bronx downstate to Buffalo and Syracuse upstate, and many places in between.  

Governor Hochul is committed to repairing the damage of transportation mistakes from decades ago. Instead of loud, polluting highways, these projects will prioritize walking, cycling, active streets, and green spaces designed to tie together communities and small businesses. New York must use its infrastructure opportunities of today to revitalize communities torn apart by infrastructure decisions of the past.”

The Inner Loop North project to complete the removal of the Inner Loop freeway in the city of Rochester, Hochul says, aims to reconnect severed communities within downtown, provide direct links to the Genesee River and High Falls District, and facilitate opportunities for economic development.

In Syracuse, Hochul says the Interstate 81 project area aims to enhance equity and economic opportunity for neighborhoods that have “been left behind by the construction of the interstate highway system.”

"Many highway projects across New York State and the nation have cut through the heart of communities of color, tearing apart neighborhoods, displacing residents, and stalling economic development,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement. “This historic investment will begin the process of reversing those injustices. I applaud Governor Hochul's work and will keep fighting at the federal level to get New York the resources it needs to invest in infrastructure that brings communities together and revitalizes our cities. We must continue to fight for an equitable environmental and economic recovery for communities who have been historically left out."  


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