BUFFALO, NY — Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) sent a letter to New York State Governor George Pataki, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Department of Transportation Commissioner Thomas Madison filing official notice of the hazardous conditions on the Buffalo Skyway.
“I have a responsibility to my constituents to point out unsafe conditions and seek resolutions that protect the welfare of local residents,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “As winter approaches, the combination of lake-effect gusts on icy, elevated roads puts Skyway motorists in a vulnerable position one hundred feet above the ground. That level of risk on a public roadway is simply unacceptable.”
Congressman Higgins cited a letter printed in The Buffalo News in which a 33-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department calls the Skyway a deadly structure, pointing to 1,269 calls for police or emergency services over a 3 year period, 167 of which resulted in personal injury or death.
In addition to weather related hazards, Congressman Higgins noted poor maintenance and the lack of a shoulder as additional public safety factors.
“The City of Buffalo, County of Erie and 10 other municipalities have gone on record sharing my view that that the Skyway inhibits access to the Buffalo waterfront, acting as a barrier to potential local economic development, nevertheless the State continues a dismissive attitude about transportation priorities in Western New York,” said Congressman Higgins. “While Albany officials may not share in the local consensus about the future of the Skyway related to outer harbor access, they have a moral obligation look-out for the public safety of the thousands who travel the Skyway each day.”