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Delays on Daly Blvd. Project Could Prove Costly to City

By Mike Hudson

City Planner Thomas DeSantis has been
working on the three-phase John Daly Blvd. project for ten years. He is still at phase one. At this rate, the project will be completed sometime after gasoline-fueled cars are no longer in use.

The Department of Transportation has put the city of Niagara Falls on notice. The city is now officially in danger of losing federal funding on the John Daly Boulevard project.

The project would have continued John Daly Boulevard northward and connected it with Pine Avenue in an attempt to move traffic more effectively from one business district to the other, and encourage tourism and development in both business districts.

The plan has been on the drawing boards since time immemorial.
But in a Feb. 13 letter to City Engineer Jeffrey Skurka, state DOT engineer Ramsey E. Kahi wrote: “the design funds for this project were obligated by FHWA on April 26, 2002. These funds are now in jeopardy due to the ‘10 year rule’…if progress has not been made toward ROW Acquisition within the first 10 years of the project, FHWA may request repayment of the design funds.”

In short, the feds may move to get their funds back because the Dyster administration has done nothing to move the project forward with the acquisition of rights of way with an eye toward actual road building.

City planner Tom DeSantis and Mayor Paul Dyster have been calling all of the shots on the project for the past six years, so it would be grossly unfair to lay the foot-dragging blame at the feet of Skurka, our current city engineer.

While the project has cut across two administrations and at least four city engineers, the one city employee who has been at the project helm throughout the entire decade of delay has been DeSantis.

DeSantis should be called to account and made to answer as to why the city - already strapped for cash and facing possible bankruptcy – has allowed this project to sit and sit as consulting fees continue build up, and the state grows more impatient.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar05 , 2013