To be claimed
Type: bill Chamber: lower
Type: bill Chamber: lower
Type: bill Chamber: lower
Chair, Joint Conference Committee
Former Member, Labor Committee, New York State Assembly
Member, Legislative Commission on Rural Resources
Former Member, Local Governments Committee, New York State Assembly
Former Member, Small Business Committee, New York State Assembly
Former Member, Suffolk County Charter Revision Commission
Member, Agriculture Committee
Member, Higher Education Committee
Member, Housing Committee
Member, Ways and Means Committee
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $36.2 million project to make safety and mobility improvements along a 1.2-mile section of State Route 347 between Terry and Gibbs Pond roads in Smithtown will begin this week. This project is the fifth in a series of Route 347 corridor projects planned to improve safety and reduce travel delays by transforming the road into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles through the towns of Smithtown, Islip, and Brookhaven. "Long Island is one of the most populated regions in the state and it is critically important its transportation network has the capacity to safely and reliably accommodate heavy commuter, tourist and business traffic," Governor Cuomo said. "Continued upgrades to Route 347 are transforming this corridor into a safe, modern road that accommodates not only cars, but also the many pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit users that rely on it each day." As part of this project, a continuous third travel lane will be constructed in each direction between Terry and Gibbs Pond roads, as well as a separate bike and shared-use pedestrian path on the south side. Travel lanes will be narrowed to reduce speeds and a reduced 45 mph speed limit will be imposed. Additionally, the project includes the installation of bus stops with solar lighting for transit riders, high-visibility crosswalks and countdown timers for pedestrians and extensive landscape installations, including planted medians, a rain garden and bio swales. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "This project continues Governor Cuomo's mission of renovating Long Island's aging roads and bridges with projects, big and small, that protect and improve the environment and integrate the transportation system into the fabric of the local community." Originally built in the 1950s as a farm delivery route, Route 347 grew along with the suburban development boom into a major east-west corridor. In 1969, an average of 48,000 vehicles per day used this roadway, while today approximately 71,000 vehicles use the road each day. The planned vision for the entire Route 347 corridor includes the "Parks to Ports and Harbors" unifying theme to tie together many assets and local destinations such as Blydenburgh County Park and Port Jefferson Harbor. Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I strongly support making these improvements necessary to our local roadways and bridges. The continued improvements to Route 347 will help increase our community's transportation safety, as well as strengthen our infrastructure and economy. This is one of the biggest reasons why I helped lead the successful effort this past December to get a five year, fully funded highway bill passed and signed into law. Moving forward, I look forward to continue working closely with Governor Cuomo to ensure our region's infrastructure needs are best met as a result of great cooperation and teamwork between different levels of government." Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said, "The reconstruction of Route 347 is essential to ensuring the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists living, working, and enjoying our community. The significant improvements to this vital and well-traveled roadway will stimulate local businesses and invigorate the area's economy, and I look forward to the project's completion." Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick said, "I appreciate Governor Cuomo's focus on the aesthetics of the 347 project as well as his attention to the efficient movement of traffic. The project so far has been a big success and has been well received by residents." Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for prioritizing and supporting infrastructure investments in Suffolk County. In order to encourage and support economic growth in our region, investments in our transportation infrastructure are necessary." As part of Governor Cuomo's Drivers First initiative, access to businesses will be maintained throughout construction and most construction activities that require travel lane closures will be conducted during night time hours.
Completion of Two Projects Helps Transform Corridor into Urban Greenway Governor Cuomo announced completion of two projects worth $56.1 million to help transform State Route 347 on Long Island from a high-volume corridor into a safe, multi-modal, environmentally sustainable boulevard for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. The improvements are part of a series of projects planned to enhance safety and reduce travel delays on the Route 347 corridor by transforming the busy road into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles through Smithtown, Islip and Brookhaven, in Suffolk County. "The transformation of Route 347 will support businesses, improve safety and keep traffic moving for the hundreds of thousands of motorists who depend on this vital part of Long Island's transportation system," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm proud to see these projects completed as yet another example of New York investing in key infrastructure in every corner of this state." Paving for a $25.6 million project to reconstruct State Route 347 at its intersection with Route 112 in the town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County was completed July 29, with landscaping and finishing work scheduled for completion this fall. A separate $30.5 million project to reconstruct State Route 347 between State Route 111 and Mount Pleasant Road in the town of Smithtown, Suffolk County was completed earlier in July. New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "The shared-use path, new pedestrian signals and crosswalks and new bus shelter make this a truly multi-modal project that will increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and enhance connections for transit users, important goals for Governor Cuomo in all transportation projects. By making all these options available along the corridor, we are encouraging people to leave their cars at home, and -- with new solar and LED lighting and abundant tree planting -- we have transformed this section of Route 347 into an environmentally sustainable corridor." The $25.6 million Brookhaven project included construction of a third travel lane in each direction on Route 347 near the intersection with Route 112. In an effort to reduce crashes at the intersection, left turns are no longer allowed from Route 347 onto Route 112. The construction contractor for the project was Scalamandre and Sons, Inc. of Freeport, Nassau County. The $30.5 million road reconstruction in Smithtown included construction of a third travel lane in each direction. Travel lanes were narrowed and the speed limit was lowered to 45 mph. The construction contractor for the project is Posillico Civil, Inc. of Farmingdale, Nassau County. Both projects included building new bus shelters and installing new traffic signals and pedestrian signals, and adding high visibility crosswalks and pedestrian crossing countdown timers. An off-road shared-use path also was built at both locations. New landscaping and tree plantings along with solar and LED lighting beautify the areas and increase their environmental sustainability. New drainage will improve storm water runoff. Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "This grant will go a long way in providing Suffolk County roads, like Route 347, which stretches across the towns of Smithtown and Brookhaven, with the funding necessary to make improvements to our community's transportation safety, as well as strengthen our infrastructure and economy. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I strongly support improving our local roadways and I'm proud to partner with Governor Cuomo on this initiative to strengthen Long Island's infrastructure." Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said,"Route 347 is an essential traffic artery for everyone who lives and works in this region. These two infrastructure investments will improve the quality of life for current and future residents and also invigorate the local economy. The improvements already made to Route 347 have increased public safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists and have enhanced the beauty along this major corridor. We look forward to the remaining projects ahead and eventual completion of this significant highway improvement project." Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick said, "The project through the Smithtown Route 347 area has turned out better than expected. I have received many compliments from constituents as to how attractive the roadway is and how pedestrian it has become. The greenway concept is a welcomed innovation by the State DOT. Our roadways are looking better than they have in a long time." Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "Rt 347 is a vital roadway that our residents and businesses rely on daily. I applaud the Governor for making the reconstruction of the road a priority and focusing on safety and reduction of traffic congestion that will benefit our entire community." Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said, "We applaud the governor's initiative to continue the reconstruction of NYS Rt. 347. The already completed construction in Smithtown to C.R. 111 is efficient, safer and visually appealing. The new plan, continuing east, will do the same." Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said, "The Route 347 corridor is one of the busiest in Brookhaven Town and has a long history of serious accidents, especially at the intersection of Route 112. The reconstruction of the intersection is a vast improvement for motorists and pedestrians alike, and I thank the Governor for his commitment to making our roads safer." Originally built in the 1950s as a farm delivery route, Route 347 grew along with the suburban development boom into a major east-west corridor. In 1969, an average of 48,000 vehicles per day used this roadway; today approximately 71,000 vehicles use the road each day. The planned vision for the entire Route 347 corridor includes the "Parks to Ports and Harbors" unifying theme to tie together many assets and local destinations, such as Blydenburgh County Park and the Port Jefferson Harbor. A similar $26.7 million project to reconstruct the portion of Route 347 between Route 111 and Route 454 in Hauppauge was completed in 2013. Construction is ongoing on a $39.2 million project to address the portion of Route 347 between Mount Pleasant Road and Terry Road in Smithtown and is expected to be completed next year. A project to reconstruct the portion between Terry Road in Smithtown and Gibbs Pond Road in Nesconset, Suffolk County is being developed and the remaining sections will be addressed under multiple projects in future years.
Hearing: MEMBERS' DAY Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to express my hopes and reservations on the President's Federal budget request for fiscal year 2007. After taking a week to carefully review the President's budget request, I have discovered some encouraging proposals that will assist the nation on the road toward assuring our independence from foreign oil, expanding math and science education and supplying our troops with the equipment they need to fight the War on Terror. While there are many encouraging proposals incorporated within the President's Budget there are some spending decisions that concern me; especially one that directly affects my constituents. That program is the USDA-NRCS Flood Mitigation Program and I want to focus on the President's decision to zero out its funding today. I agree that the government must be fiscally responsible with taxpayer's money. Federal spending, over the course of the past 5 years, has risen faster than at any time in the past four decades. In addition, the nation faces a costly war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina clean-up costs, and rising entitlement spending. The largest entitlement programs; Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are projected to cost $1.132 trillion this year and account for about 42 percent of the entire Federal budget, as Congressional Budget Office figures show. By comparison, Defense is 15.8 percent of the 2007 budget. As a result, budget deficits remain high and are expected to soar when the baby boom generation begins retiring in the next few years. We need to slow the growth of Federal spending in order to regain control over the spiraling costs of our mandatory programs. The recent passage of the Deficit Reduction Act will place the government on the path of fiscal responsibility and slowed growth. The economy is primed for this, as yesterday's announcement of the government posting its first surplus in 3 years demonstrates. Tax receipts surpassed spending by $10.98 billion in December--the result of congressional action to cut taxes and spur investment in our economy. Our policies are working, and Congress must now focus on cutting spending. However, such reform should not be made on the backs of America's most needy citizens. The President's call to curb Medicare spending; to reduce funding for critical national health research assets such as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute; a $100 million reduction in the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program; and the inclusion of an increase in the copay and enrollment fee for veterans seeking care from the VA are all issues that concern me greatly and must be addressed through congressional action. As a Member of Congress representing Eastern Pennsylvania and the greater Philadelphia region, I am concerned that Amtrak is severely under-funded in the President's request. Thousands of commuters rely on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor rail service each day to commute to their jobs, up and down the East Coast from Boston to Washington, DC. Although Amtrak has been the target of criticism for its management system and business structure, its operation is integral to the health of our economy. Additionally, as more Americans take the train each day, they leave their cars behind which means there are fewer cars on the road contributing to pollution as well as gasoline demand. I support the full funding of Amtrak rail service. The President's proposed $900 million for Amtrak falls woefully short of the estimated $1.5 billion necessary to prevent cuts in service and will not allow for future investment in America's rail system. However, one specific program that has a direct impact on my constituents in the 8th District of Pennsylvania concerns me the most--the elimination of funding for USDA-NRCS flood mitigation programs. I have written to Chairman Nussle on this subject, however, I wanted to come here and speak to you personally and have my concerns placed into the record. We must continue to protect Americans from the threat posed by natural disasters. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demonstrate this need clearly. Flooding continues to destroy homes, businesses and communities throughout America. I am concerned that the President's FY07 Budget eliminates all funding for USDA-NRCS watershed protection and flood prevention programs. The budget proposes $0 for Watershed Planning, $0 for Watershed Operations and $15.3 million for Rehabilitation of aging watershed dams in spite of the fact that these watershed programs have improved the safety of lands previously considered to be in a constant threat of flood damage. Even before Hurricane Katrina, flood damage in the United States was estimated to cost $2 billion annually. Hurricane Katrina has taught us that adequate infrastructure is vital to protect and maintain our communities' homes, businesses and roads from flooding. Zeroing out funding for watershed planning and watershed operations would have a severe effect on flood mitigation projects like elevating and flood proofing properties and implementing resource management systems across the United States. In my district alone, severe flooding has caused millions of dollars in damage to houses along the Neshaminy Creek. A combination of state and Federal funding has allowed many of these houses to be razed or elevated to prevent future damage. Those projects; and nearly 2,000 other projects like it across the nation would be restricted, if not terminated, if the President's request is to go forward. Therefore, I strongly support continued funding of the USDA-NRCS Watershed Programs. This funding is essential to the preservation of storm ravaged areas of our nation and I encourage my colleague's support of this necessary program. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the time to speak to you today. With that, I yield the balance of my time.
Tue 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
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