Seneca Nation & DOT reach agreement on road work

Aug 6, 2012

After months of delay, some much needed road repairs will be made to state highways and bridges on Seneca Nation lands south of Buffalo.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald and Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said in a joint written statement Monday they have agreed to a "framework" to allow the start of rehabilitation work on Interstate 86 and other state owned roads on the Seneca's Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. 

Citing a "violation" of Seneca law, the Nation had been barring state from moving forward with the road work.

Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter and New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald  released the following statement Monday about work on the Southern Tier Expressway:

“The New York State Department of Transportation and the Seneca Nation of Indians agreed today to a framework to allow the start of much-needed rehabilitation work on the Southern Tier Expressway and other New York roads that pass through Seneca territory. The agreement, approved by the Seneca Council, means the contractor will deploy to the site as soon as feasible.”

State Senator Catharine Young issued the following statement: 

"People across the Southern Tier and the traveling public are jumping for joy at this news," said Senator Young.  "Fixing I-86 is a public safety and economic priority, and I commend Governor Cuomo and the Seneca Nation for working together to find a solution. Getting construction underway immediately will put people to work and alleviate increasingly dangerous roadway conditions. The highway literally was breaking into pieces. We couldn't be more thrilled that an agreement was reached,” said Senator Young.

"This year, the State Senate successfully worked hard to correct a funding inequity that occurred when New York City representatives controlled the State Legislature in 2009-2010. At that time, those in the
majority diverted $167 million of our region's road and bridge funding downstate. Now that we are back in charge, my Senate Majority changed the state budget this year to recoup our transportation dollars. It was
disheartening to see the I-86 repaving languish because the funding was in place. Now those dollars will be put to great use as part of our region's transportation plan,” said Senator Young.