Tonawanda News — The Erie County Legislature’s Republican majority caucus has requested county Executive Mark Poloncarz designate an additional $5 million for road work that they say was not included in the 2014 road project list.
The request came in response to a relentless winter that has battered area roadways and left many littered with divots and holes.
In a letter delivered today to Poloncarz, the caucus requested his support of its proposal to spend $5 million of the county’s nearly $90 million undesignated fund balance for additional road work this year, according to a statement released on Friday.
The proposal came after a special session Friday during which the Legislature approved allocating $27 million for county infrastructure in a unanimous 11-0 vote. The plan sets up to $17 million aside for county road funds, with the expectation that federal and state funding will make up the difference.
The caucus plans to submit a formal request to Poloncarz on May 8, asking to pull the additional funds from the county’s fund balance.
Republican John Mills, the legislative chairman, said eight votes would be required for the use of those funds, with a 6-5 split favoring the Republican majority.
“Recognizing that time is of the essence, the Legislature called today’s special session to get critical repairs started as soon as possible,” he said. “We have a short construction season and any delay could cause significant problems for motorists. Today’s vote triggers substantial state and federal funding that will allow us to address numerous road and bridge issues.”
Mills, who did not specify what roads the caucus would favor for road repairs, said he also believes the county needs to turn more of a focus to infrastructure.
“Allowing minor issues to become major problems is much more costly in the long run, which is why we must address the concerns now,” he said.