Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said he and newly confirmed U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg see eye-to-eye on the Interstate 81 viaduct replacement project in Syracuse.
This comes following Wednesday's virtual meeting with the department's representatives.
Mayor Walsh is supporting the community grid option, which would tear down the elevated expressway, improve existing streets in that part of the city, and would reroute expressway traffic to Interstate 481 east around the city.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also supports the idea and promised to replace the roadway as early as 2022.
Walsh said Syracuse has been scarred by I-81, which runs through the heart of predominantly black neighborhoods and it's time to finally make the transition.
“We are very much aligned in some of our values and wanting to right some of the wrongs of some of the past federal transportation projects, including 81,” Walsh said. “Use this project to lift up people, particularly those that have been hurt by these types of projects in the past.”
The Federal Highway Administration is still reviewing the draft environmental impact statement for the project at this time and it's still unclear how the $2 billion project will be funded.