Higgins: speed up Skyway study before pouring millions into improvements

Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 01, 2017

U.S. Representative Brian Higgins wants to see New York State expedite its Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the Buffalo Skyway and publicly release its current timeframe for the study. Higgins wants the Department of Transportation to complete the study soon, in order to decide how much money should be spent to rehab the aging structure.

The EIS was authorized in December and will examine potential changes to the Skyway going forward, including rehabilitation, replacement or removal. Higgins has been a strong advocate for the removal of the Skyway saying it has outlived its function and hinders waterfront development.

The DOT is set to spend $27.5 million on repairs to the Skyway next summer.

Higgins wants the state to only spend enough money to keep the Skyway safe until the EIS can be completed and a long-term plan agreed upon. He thinks the EIS will recommend removal.

“An objective EIS should come to the conclusion that the most cost effective and safe path forward is to demolish the Skyway in favor of a more modern alternative option, such as a lower span structure or a lift bridge,” Higgins said in a statement.

“The time is swiftly approaching where the Skyway will need yet another paint job, which itself comes with a price tag in the range of $15-20 million," Higgins said. "How much longer will we throw good money at this badly outdated transportation infrastructure?”