Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) has confirmed that there are no federal regulations preventing the Thruway Authority from erecting sound barriers along the William Street offramps in the Town of Cheektowaga.
Cheektowaga Town Board Members requested the Thruway Authority include noise barriers in the project expanding offramps at the William Street exit. Authority officials have denied this request citing state and federal regulations.
Congressman Higgins inquired with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and was assured there are no federal rules which prohibit or discourage the inclusion of sound barriers with the project in question. Congressman Higgins' letter to the Town Board clarifying this policy follows:
November 15, 2006
The Honorable Members of the Cheektowaga Town Board
Cheektowaga, NY 14227
Re: The Thruway Authority’s William Street Offramps
Dear Honorable Boardmembers:
I have read with great interest the recent accounts in the Buffalo News, the Cheektowaga Times and the Cheektowaga Bee about your ongoing dispute with the Thruway Authority regarding their failure to construct sound barriers alongside the William Street offramps, which they recently expanded.
On October 10th the Buffalo News quoted Thruway spokeswoman Sara Kampf as saying that “the project does not meet the requirements for noise abatement under state or federal policies.” Upon reading this statement, I inquired with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to determine its accuracy with regard to federal requirements.
USDOT indicated unequivocally that there is no federal law, rule, or other requirement that would require, prohibit, encourage or discourage the inclusion of sound barriers with the project in question. The project is not subject to federal noise mitigation regulations because it is not a federal aid project. To put it another way, if the Authority has declined to construct sound barriers it is because the Authority chose not to do so; there is no federal policy which prohibits or discourages their construction.
I hope this information helps provide some clarity. If I can be of further assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Fahey, my director of Special Projects at 716-852-3501. Thank you very much.
Member of Congress