Updated 04/13/2012 08:03 PM
Municipalities question I-98 project
A resolution passed by the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators in March was sent to all surrounding towns, villages and counties, in support of the Interstate 98 project. But in Franklin County, some municipalities are hesitant to pass the resolution while others are against it. Our Cara Thomas tells us these towns say the money could be better used elsewhere.
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MALONE, N.Y. -- Discussion surrounding the Interstate 98 project has been on the agenda at every town, village and county board meeting in the North Country ever since the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators passed a resolution in support of the project in March. The resolution was passed on to all towns and villages in the area hoping to gain further support to move forward. But some municipalities in Franklin County, like the Village of Malone, have concerns.
The Mayor of the Village of Malone, Todd LePine, said, "Is it a good idea? It could be a good idea, but could the money be better spent on other things at this time? Because we know the federal government is trillions of dollars in debt, do they have that three or four or five million dollars that it's going to cost to build this? Do they have it?"
In their most recent board meeting, the mayor wanted to get the trustee's opinions. What did they think of the I-98 project? One trustee was completely against the idea and others were hesitant, wondering if a four lane highway is truly necessary.
"What are the other options? Have those been studied? You know, really, what are the other options?" asked LePine.
The Village of Malone says they have a few concerns regarding the I-98 project, but overall they do not oppose the plan. They just think the money could better be used elsewhere.
Mayor LePine said, "There's bridges, there's roads that need fixing now. Why not fix them? Instead of spending study money let's take some of the projects that are there and make them happen."
LePine says with the amount of money needed to construct the highway, village trustees doubt whether I-98 will ever come to be.
Tupper Lake is another town opposing the resolution. Officials say they fear the proposed highway would force travelers to bypass Tupper Lake altogether, hurting the town rather than helping it.