Math Error may have Cost WNY Millions

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 6:34 PM EDT

By WKBW News

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 6:34 PM EDT

Albany (WKBW) A mathematical error at the State Department of Transportation could have short changed Western New York by millions of dollars. Now one State Senator is crusading to get that money back.

The Senator is Tim Kennedy. The problem is a human error that left this region without promised money for improvements in transportation. And the cost is $167 million dollars.

At a hearing Thursday in Albany with Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, Senator Tim Kennedy wanted the answer to one question: Where is the money the DOT promised Western New York because of a mathematical mistake?

"There is no mistake from my perspective. What's past is past," Commissioner McDonald responded.

"Quite frankly her response was troubling. She attempted to claim there was no mistake but that was in direct contradiction to what she has said in the past both in writing and in talking points," Senator Kennedy said in a telephone interview after the hearing.

Kennedy has been leading an effort to recoup $167 million from the Department of Transportation, lost out on because of a human error in the 2008-2009 regional allocations. But after Thursday's hearing, Western New York is no closer to seeing that money.

"There is no appropriation in the budget for that. As I have said in multiple correspondences with Senator Kennedy, those are planning targets, we take into account what we need to do to keep the system at a state of good repair," McDonald said.

The error occurred under the previous administration, and Commissioner Joan McDonald says Buffalo should focus on the one billion dollars investment from the Governor moving forward. But for Senator Kennedy that is not enough.

"It's not just frustrating but it's motivating. So we're going to continue to press to get clarity, to make sure that Western New Yorkers get their fair share of infrastructure funding that we deserve," Kennedy said.

One of the positives that came out of Thursday's hearing was a shared sense of cooperation with the Senate and the D.O.T. to work together in the future to make sure that a problem like this does not happen again.