Rep. Katko requests extension of public comment period on I-81 project

U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) urged the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration to extend the public comment period on the I-81 Viaduct Project to ensure Central New Yorkers have an opportunity to review the details of the plan and give their feedback.

An updated Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released in July. The DEIS contains thousands of pages and outlines the scope of the I-81 project and its impact on Central New York State. It’s release triggered a 60-day public comment period that ends on September 14, 2021.

Katko said that he had received constituent feedback requesting an extension of the public comment period by 30 days.

“More than a decade in the making, the I-81 project is a truly transformational project that will impact Central New York for generations,” Katko said. “Like my constituents, I am eager to move forward with this project. But we must do so in a deliberate way that ensures all voices in our community are heard. The release of the project’s DEIS is an important step forward in determining the future of I-81, and it presents an immense amount of information that will directly impact communities throughout our region. Central New Yorkers deserve enough time to review the critical details provided by the DEIS, and deliver their informed input on a decision that will significantly affect their daily lives.”

Citing the scope of the DEIS, as well as the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Katko’s letter requested the public comment extension to address concerns constituents had over their ability to fully participate in the process and to make their voices heard.

“As you know, the I-81 Viaduct Project is a truly transformational project, promising significant opportunities for Central New York and directly impacting thousands of families and businesses throughout our region,” Katko wrote. “Understandably, the DEIS for the I-81 Viaduct Project is a massive document that spans thousands of pages and a wide range of supplementary materials. For local residents, business owners, schools, healthcare providers, and community leaders, the highly detailed and often technical information within the DEIS is critically important, affecting their daily lives and the future of the region as a whole. It is vital that all of these stakeholders have an opportunity to provide informed input on this transformational project.”

Liz Carey

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