Recovery Funds Used for Local Road Work

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Recovery Funds Used for Local Road Work

Postby StephanieCutts » Fri May 08, 2009 1:27 pm

Town OKs funds for Walt Whitman Road work

By A.J. Carter

The Huntington Town Board on Tuesday approved the town’s share of a major road project funded largely through federal stimulus money and took significant steps to reduce global warming, pledging to adopt measures designed to increase energy efficiency in the Town and reduce the production of greenhouse gases.

The $7-million project to reconstruct Walt Whitman Road in Melville has been in the planning stages for several years. The town’s share of the cost will be $2.3 million and the federal contribution will be $4.8 million in economic stimulus funds approved by Congress and President Barack Obama in February. It is part of the $1.1-billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds allocated for highway and bridge infrastructure in New York State and one of the first local projects approved in the Long Island region.

Walt Whitman Road improvements include the addition of sidewalks, turning lanes, and general road restoration. Formerly part of State Route 110, this section of road was deeded to the town decades ago when the state straightened and widened Route 110. Walt Whitman receives heavy residential and commercial use as both buffer to the residential communities and as a "service" entrance to businesses on the west side of the Route 110 corridor. Modernization of this arterial road is critical to the health of the Route 110 corridor, which serves as the economic and employment engine of the Town of Huntington

“Our shovels are ready and we look forward to beginning this vital transportation project that will ease congestion, help the environment and create much-needed construction jobs,” Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said.

In a resolution sponsored by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson and co-sponsored by Petrone and Councilman Stuart P. Besen, the Town Board adopted the United States Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, urging the federal and state governments to enact policies and programs that reduce global warming pollution levels and calling upon Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation.

“Today we join over nine hundred mayors, supervisors and town leaders in signing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Change Agreement,” Cuthbertson said. “This document symbolizes our continued commitment to Clean Cities, by adopting specific guidelines that will ultimately reduce our carbon footprint and make Huntington a more sustainable Town. With the addition of nearly $2 million in federal funding from President Obama to meet these goals, we look forward to working with our friends in the environmental community to develop creative municipal projects and incentives for our residents.”

“Global warming is not a scientific theory. It’s real, it’s here and everybody needs to pitch in to reverse the conditions that have imperiled this planet’s future. With this vote, Huntington is on record that we will do our part by reducing the town’s carbon footprint and by urging our colleagues at other levels to do the same,” Petrone said.

Some of the measures the town has committed to take include:
-- Conducting an inventory of global emissions in Town operations, setting reduction targets and developing an action plan;
-- Adopting and enforcing land-use policies that reduce sprawl and preserve open space;
-- Promoting transportation options such as bicycle trails, incentives for car pooling and public transit;
-- Increasing the use of clean, alternative energy through developing renewable energy resources and using waste-to-energy technology;
-- Purchasing Energy Star equipment and appliances for Town use;
-- Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements and practicing and promoting sustainable building practices;
-- Attempting to increase the average fuel efficiency of Town fleet vehicles;
-- Evaluating opportunities to increase efficiency of wastewater treatment systems;
-- Increasing recycling rates in Town operations and in the community.

“Whether it is upgrading your home to include renewable energy, or the Town working to replace its aging fleet with hybrid vehicles, these are all simple ways to truly make a difference,” Besen said, “and just as every level of government can institute smart energy solutions, every age group can begin living by them today in order to insure a cost efficient, cleaner, safer tomorrow.”
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