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August 5, 2019 1:15 PM, EDT

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Announces $206 Million for Freight Projects

Old Kosciuszko Bridge destroyed The old Kosciuszko Bridge is imploded on Oct. 1, 2017, in New York. The eastbound span of the new bridge has opened, with the second span scheduled to be finished by 2020. (Michael Noble Jr./AP)

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced $206 million will be devoted to freight-related projects across the state.

The funding, announced Aug. 2, will support the 1,200 highway miles the state has designated as part of the National Highway Freight Network. The projects bolstered by this funding will address infrastructure and operational improvements in order to reduce congestion, improve reliability and productivity and decrease the cost of freight movement. The American Transportation Research Institute has reported congestion cost the trucking industry $74.5 billion in 2016.

“The efficient movement of commerce is critical to the economic competitiveness of our state,” Cuomo said in a press release. “By investing in these critical projects, we are continuing to support more than 3 million freight-related jobs and the global shipment of goods produced and manufactured in every region of the state.”

This funding will support an array of road and bridge projects throughout the state. Some $35 million will be used to lengthen entrance and exit ramps along Interstate 495, also known as the Long Island Expressway. Another $13 million will be put toward the replacement of the I-490 bridge over the Erie Canal in Perinton.

The projects are meant to help prepare for the anticipated 50% growth in freight tonnage the state expects to see by 2040.

“Through these unprecedented investments in enhancing the freight network, Governor Cuomo is reaffirming his commitment to ensuring the economic viability of New York and improving the competitiveness of businesses statewide,” New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said. “The projects announced today will also enhance safety and support New York’s leadership in deploying strategies that mitigate congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

This spate of funds adds to the $1.5 billion that has previously been announced for highway and freight projects. Such funds include $873 million for the replacement of both spans of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Queens, and $50 million for a connector road linking to Albany International Airport.

Other previously announced projects include geometric improvements to State Route 112 on Long Island, for which $55 million was allotted, and the reconstruction of the interchange connecting Interstates 390 and 490 near Rochester, for which $63 million was announced.

Officials identify projects based on the Statewide Freight Plan, which offers a framework for addressing current and future freight infrastructure needs. NYSDOT developed the plan after consulting with experts on subjects such as logistics, warehousing, shipping and receiving.

“Reducing congestion, increasing safety and decreasing the cost of freight transportation is critical to the continued growth of our state’s economy,” said Assembly Member William Magnarelli, chair of the Committee on Transportation. “The efforts will result in saving time and money, reducing emissions and increasing safety on the roads.”