Pol, Union Call for Passage of Transportation Bill

A Long Island congressman joined with a construction union leader to call for passage of a transportation bill that would fund road work projects in the region to improve safety and ease traffic congestion.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) said the bill has fallen victim to congressional partisan gridlock in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. He and Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors Association, held a news conference calling attention to the issue on the side of Jericho Turnpike, one of the roadways in need of improvements.

“Too many of my colleagues believe that the federal government ought to only repair certain roads in Texas, but not improve roads for middle class, suburban drivers in the suburbs in New York,” Israel said Friday, just as millions of drivers hit the roads for the Memorial Day weekend. “There shouldn’t be ideology in road building.”

Israel said the long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill would create 500 jobs in Nassau and Suffolk counties but is in competition with a GOP version of the bill. The current transportation bill was recently extended but will expire at the end of next month.

The funding in the bill Israel touted would fix potholes on Jericho Turnpike, maintain the Meadowbrook and Southern State parkways, extend the lanes on the Long Island Expressway and add a bicycle lane in Oceanside.

Routes 110 and 112 would also be improved. These roads have a 12-year paving cycle as the surface deteriorate over time.

“They have scheduled in two years to repave Jericho Turnpike, but the federal dollars are not there to do the job, so the potholes and congestion will continue to grow,” Herbst said.