Leads Call for State Route 52 Improvements in Kent
L-R: Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, Kent Supervisor Jamie McGlasson and Yorktown Supervisor Matt Slater survey a battered stretch of Route 52 in Kent.
KENT, NY - Last December, Governor Hochul signed into law a bipartisan piece of legislation that would require the Department of Transportation to release a report on highway pavement and bridges. The report was due this past June and would have shed light on the status of important local projects such as Route 52 in Kent where local taxpayers have been waiting for the state to pave the thoroughfare. Matt Slater, Yorktown's Town Supervisor and candidate for New York State Assembly called on the Department of Transportation to release the delinquent report and says it is time Kent taxpayers get some help.
"New York State now has a requirement to be transparent with the state of our roads and its planned projects. Where is this report? State Route 52 is the main artery through this community and any motorist will tell you the current condition is terrible," Slater explained. "Residents throughout the 94th Assembly District pay some of the highest property taxes in the country and having safe state roads is not an unfair expectation. In the New York State Assembly, I will work with local and state partners to finally get this addressed for the residents of Kent and fight to make sure New York State provides the necessary resources for the communities of the 94th Assembly District."
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne who presently serves on the Assembly's Transportation Committee and previously served as the co-chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Transportation & Critical Infrastructure, said, "The majority of Putnam County's main corridors are state roads which often makes us overly reliant on state government to ensure we have a strong, resilient transportation system. While I am delighted to have worked diligently with representatives from DOT Region 8 to maintain various sections of the Taconic State Parkway (Putnam Valley), Routes 52 (Carmel) 22 (Brewster) and 6 (Carmel), the current conditions of Route 52 through Kent is completely unacceptable. Our ambulances, school busses, commuters and small businesses all depend on safe roads and sound bridges. The state needs to step up and do more to maintain its share of the transportation system in Putnam County. That includes Route 52 in the town of Kent."
During this year's state budget hearings, Fred Hiffa who served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation testified on behalf of the Rebuild NY Coalition regarding the state's transportation budget. During Hiffa's testimony, he pointed out that the Hudson Valley (Region 8) was among the worst conditioned roads in New York State with more than 60% of its pavements in fair or poor condition. Hiffa always pointed out that despite the infusion of more than $13 billion in federal aid for road infrastructure, an increase of 52% in funding, the state only increased funding for its five year capital plan by 6.5% annually over the coming five years. Mr. Hiffa was equally as alarmed by the $1 billion cut to NYSDOT's State/Local Construction program over the same period of time.
Kent Supervisor Jamie McGlasson said, "For years New York State has overlooked the needs of our community. Route 52 is a state road meaning New York State must rehabilitate it. It is simply insulting that our neighbors' needs were met but Kent was not a consideration. I appreciate Matt Slater recognizing the negative impact the current condition is having on our community and he is already advocating on our behalf."
Slater was first introduced to the issue by Kent Town Council candidate Shaun Boyd. Boyd, a local small business owner, echoed the impact the current conditions of the road had on the business community saying, "This is a reflection on our entire community especially our local businesses. The frustrating part is we need New York State to act but I am confident we can work together with the business community to emphasize this important need."