Transportation infrastructure is one of the most basic responsibilities of County government and critical to every facet of our economic and daily life. Whether it is getting to work, shopping, driving our children safely to school or moving goods and products to market, a transportation infrastructure system is at the center. My administration recognizes the importance of improving and maintaining a roadway system necessary to serve the demands of our residents and businesses, as well as to build the foundation for economic growth so we can compete in the Hudson Valley.
Creating and maintaining our transportation infrastructure is a vital component of Rockland County’s economic well-being and essential to much needed job creation and retention for our community. With this in mind, our Highway Department, guided by Superintendent Skip Vezzetti, has led something of a two-year road and bridge “renaissance” in Rockland County:
- Union Road in Spring Valley: The $10 million Pascack Brook bypass-culvert project designed to help attack perennial flooding in the neighborhood. Completed in 2014.
- Oak Tree Road in Orangetown: A $1.9 million bridge replacement over the Sparkill Creek was completed in 2015.
- Montebello Road in Ramapo: A $3.5 million replacement of the historically-significant bridge over the Mahwah River was completed in 2015.
- Waldron Terrace in Sloatsburg: FEMA-funded $700,000 bridge replacement over Stony Brook, completed in 2015.
Superintendent Vezzetti has five major projects queued up for 2016 and beyond:
- Orangeburg: The $12.4 million replacement of the Orangeburg Road Bridge, which spans the CSX railroad tracks. Federally funded.
- Ramapo: Forshay Road reconstruction: $7.6 million federally-funded drainage and pavement improvement project.
- West Haverstraw: Federally-funded replacement of the vehicle bridge on Samsondale Avenue, which crosses the CSX tracks.
- Grand View-on-Hudson: River Road reconstruction: A $7 million federally-funded drainage and pavement improvement project
- Grand View-on-Hudson: Grandview Avenue culvert replacement, planned for the summer of 2016.
These projects represent some of the Highway Department’s major initiatives since the start of my administration. However, they do not include the dozens of miles of roads that have been repaved, resurfaced and redesigned during the past two years. Today, our County roads and sidewalks are smoother and safer than in any time in recent history.
As I have said many times, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to maintain and improve the roads, bridges and sewer systems that previous generations built for us. It is a responsibility we cannot ignore or postpone. Waiting will cost us four to five times the amount of taxpayer money. In simple terms, it’s less expensive and more cost-effective to enhance our infrastructure now than to wait until it needs to be completely rebuilt.
The end result of this renewed attention to our roads is safer infrastructure, which means greater capacity in the network, resulting in less congestion and decreased travel times, which improves our quality of life and attracts businesses and job creators to locate in Rockland County. This is the least we can do for future generations – our children and grandchildren who will call Rockland home.
The bottom line: My administration will not delay investments in critical infrastructure. Doing so would diminish our ability to compete with surrounding counties which have already made the commitment. Delays would also result in major and more costly repairs in the future, as well as impact safety. And, frankly, that would be unacceptable.