"Finger Lakes Parkway" Approved by New York State: Includes Bridges Across 5 Lakes
Area residents furious with plan & related boating restrictions.
4/1/2022 Update: APRIL FOOLS
Late Thursday night the New York State Senate formally approved plans for the "Finger Lakes Parkway" - a project that will likely change the character of the region forever.
While some may benefit from reduced commuting times, the new limitations to recreational activities on the water have vacationers and residents up in arms.
The "Parkway": Six Lanes with Bridges Spanning Five Lakes
While called a "parkway" the project is actually a 76 mile straight shot highway connecting downtown Syracuse and the I-390 / I-86 connection in the Southern Tier. State officials are quick to point out that this new parkway will shave nearly an hour off the popular trip from Syracuse to downtown Hornell. "Every month dozens of people make that trip" says Joshua Digs, spokesman for the department of transportation "That alone will save residents several hundred dollars in gas money each month. With the current gas prices, the project practically pays for itself in a few years".
How the Parkway Came to Be: Politics and Pandemic Funds
A project like this was inconceivable just a few short years ago, but state politicians on both sides of the aisle saw the billions in pandemic Federal Universal Budget Underwriting funding (F.U.B.U.) - and couldn't help but find ways to spend that money.
Last March, just 48 hours before final disbursement of the F.U.B.U. funds to New York State, a member of the Congressional Budget Office (C.B.O.) alerted governor Cuomo's Finance Committee Team (F.C.T.) that the funds could not be used to fund settlement of harassment lawsuits aimed at sitting governors. That left Cuomo's team with just two days to find a "shovel ready" project that would cost $3.7 billion.
As the story goes, after hours of brainstorming with no success, State Senator Donny Mazuli walked over to a map on the wall, drew a line from Syracuse to I-86 and said "That oughta cost $3 billion" and went home. The team looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and agreed.
5 Bridges: 5 Different Designs
In true bureaucratic fashion, the state decided to "mix things up" with the bridges to keep not only their donors (ie, specialty bridge contractors) happy, but also to avoid offending people who don't like certain types of bridges. "If 1 person is offended by 1 bridge - that is 1 person too many" said Jason Moldenhauer spokesman for the New York State Department of Offensiveness Monitoring (N.Y.S.D.O.O.M.)
The Keuka Bridge-Bluff-Tunnel-Bridge (K.B.B.T.B)
The highlight of the project will be the world's first ever bridge-bluff-tunnel-bridge (B.B.T.B) combination that crosses across the east branch of Keuka Lake, through the Bluff and across the west branch of Keuka Lake.
The K.B.B.T.B was designed by the engineering and consulting firm of Loofs & Paril P. L.C. The firm has a long track record leading critically important projects, including the 2020 Trump campaign, the 2021 New England Patriots playoff preparations and anger management therapy for Will Smith.
Owasco: His father has a bridge named after him, so it's not surprising that Andrew Cuomo lobbied to have a bridge named after himself as well. The Cuomo Brothers Bridge sponsored by CNN is being designed by a hand selected team of engineers and architects from Wellesley College.
Seneca: Just a bridge.
Skaneateles: Rumor on the lake is that local entrepreneur and philanthropist Adam Weitsman will personally pay nearly $200 million dollars for an upgraded bridge that includes a guest house for visiting celebrities.
Cayuga: The Cayuga Bridge will be a wooden replica of a bridge first built in 1802. While true to history, the bridge has structural limitations and will limit traffic to 3 cars at any given time.
"Net Environmental Impact" Rules Bring Boating Limitations
Federal "Net Environmental Impact" (N.E.I.) rules require that any environmental impact created by the project must be equally offset by other changes to create a "net zero" impact from the project. And because the bridges require significant disturbance of the lakes and shoreline that are home to Trout, Bald Eagles and freshwater dolphins - the following boating rules have been put in place for the 5 impacted lakes:
May - September: Motorized Boat Access limited by last name:
A-M: Boating allowed Tuesdays and Thursdays
N-Z: Boating allowed Mondays and Wednesday.
When questioned about these new rules, New York State Commissioner for Environmental Conservation, Don T. Yabalivit said "I've never been upstate, but I know first hand the importance of keeping our water clean. Our downstate lakes and rivers are filled with Coney Island Whitefish (Condumus Statenislandus), and we do everything we can to protect them."
Does Elon Musk hold the Answer?
Frustrated Albany insiders say the project is a done deal - there will be a transportation route from point A to point B - but that there may be flexibility in the details.
"The only option to save the region is by turning this highway into a tunnel" said transportation expert Avril de Poisson "and Elon Musk is the only one who can do it".
It may sound far fetched, but there are reasons to think Musk may be interested.
He owns a tunneling company that was surprisingly passed up to build the tunnel through the bluff. Sources say the snub was on direct orders of President Biden, who was awakened from his morning nap and asked "Are you ok with Musk for the job?" he replied "Musk is always good for the job. Been wearing the stuff since I was 14. Ladies love it......oh - Elon Musk? He's a dog faced pony soldier. No f*ing way"
If Elon Musk wants to get back at President Biden and help one of the most beautiful areas of the country - he should come to our aid and take on this project. With the help of the F.C.T. he can get F.U.B.U. funds for the FLX approved by the C.B.O. before E.O.D. and start work A.S.A.P. so he can finish the project P.D.Q.
Please Tweet @ Elon for his help!
We have heard rumors of an online public meeting today to discuss the project, but this has not been confirmed. We will share details as we get them.
In the meantime, please sign the petition below and send your thoughts to Albany!