A cutoff of state funds has halted work on a long-awaited upgrade of State Route 347 in Suffolk County, according to construction companies now pressing the Cuomo administration for a jump-start.
Back in 2010, the project broke ground and was “welcomed with great fanfare,” the Long Island Contractors’ Association says, when the then-Paterson administration approved upgrades along a nearly 15-mile stretch of the road that runs between Northern State Parkway and North Country Road. About 4.3 miles have been completed since, with the most recent phase finishing up in December.
But now the work is stalled, the contractors say. There is no money earmarked to resume the work in the upcoming year and the state’s capital program (used to fund major construction and infrastructure projects) “does not indicate any funding to support the remainder of the project,” the contractors’ say.
In a letter this week to the state Department of Transportation, LICA executive director Marc Herbst asked: “Can you kindly advise the industry of the department’s plans to achieve the completion of a project that is so vital to the Long Island region?”
DOT spokesman Joe Morrissey said the all the money currently allocated for Route 347 under the capital program has been spent.
“Additional funding for this project would need to be negotiated as part of the legislative budget process,” Morrissey said in an email. “Additional phases are also being considered as part of the development of the next capital plan.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislators will soon begin negotiating a state budget, which is supposed to be adopted April 1, the beginning of the state’s fiscal year.
The contractors’ group plans a public advocacy campaign to get the project resumed, Herbst said. That includes launching a website for local residents to weigh in and get information.