Fulton County protests DOT list

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County government is formally protesting what it sees as neglect in federally funded state Department of Transportation road and bridge projects for the county.

“I don’t think this county is getting its fair share,” county Planning Director James Mraz said Monday.

He told the Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee that DOT has made public its Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, or STIP, for 2014-17. He said STIP is a state listing of DOT projects it intends to use federal funds to pay for.

Mraz said DOT’s Utica-based Region 2 has five counties, including Fulton County. He said 30 of the 35 planned projects in the region are in Oneida and Herkimer counties. He said those two counties are to receive $119 million of the $126 million in work being planned for the region. Meanwhile, he said, the draft STIP only includes five projects totaling $6 million for Fulton, Montgomery and Madison counties combined.

“There’s only two in there for Fulton County,” Mraz said. “The state roads in this county are in deplorable condition.”

He said one of the two projects is a $1.4 million replacement of the Hill Street bridge in Gloversville in 2014.

Fulton County’s other planned DOT project is on Route 30A, between Route 29 and Harrison Street, which calls for construction in 2017. Mraz said that proposed $2.1 million project calls for alignment work, intersection rehabilitation and traffic signals.

In his monthly report to the committee, Mraz said board Chairman William Waldron sent a letter to DOT expressing Fulton County’s concerns about a lack of federally funded projects compared to the other counties in Region 2.

He said copies of the letter were sent to state Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, and state Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport.

Reached today in Utica, DOT public information officer James Piccola said DOT’s Planning Department has received Fulton County’s letter. He said DOT is formulating a response, but the department has no comment at this time.

Mraz said the draft STIP proposes to use almost $11 million in federal funds to pay for DOT staff and consultants to inspect bridges over the next four years. But he said state roads in Fulton County need help immediately.

“There needs to be some work done on these roads,” Mraz said.

As the program exists, he said, the state has not dedicated enough resources to improving local state roads.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.