Letter: Why Has Overpass Project Stalled?

Project no longer seems a priority

Many of us in Putnam Valley and Philipstown have been concerned about the very dangerous intersection of Pudding Street and the Taconic State Parkway. It has been the site of accidents and near accidents over the years. There was a recent letter to the editor in another paper in which the writer wondered why nothing had been done about this.

For those who’ve either forgotten, or never knew, the recent history, Terry Gipson, who was our State Senator in 2013 and 2014, considered the safety concerns surrounding this intersection to be a top priority.

In 2013, Sen. Gipson secured a $1 million Department of Transportation grant to study the building of an overpass over the Taconic at Pudding Street. He held a community forum in August 2013 where the DOT gave a detailed presentation of how that $1 million would be used for engineering studies. Sen. Gipson and his staff stayed on this throughout his term, continually pushing to move this project to the top of the DOT’s schedule. Near the end of Gipson’s term, the DOT had agreed to this and stated they were ready to go forward with an overpass as soon as the needed funding–about $22 million–was available. Negotiations to secure this funding were underway.

That was the good news. But the bad news is that, in November 2014, our district elected a state senator who did not place this project as a high priority. There is much competition for state funding of projects like this, therefore it is necessary that our state senator constantly pushes the project with the state to keep the momentum going. We don’t have such a senator right now, and, as a result, the project apparently has stalled.

Terry Gipson served our district well, in this and many other matters, because he genuinely cares about the needs of the communities he serves and actually did the work required to get things done. I look forward to his return to office in 2017, after the November 2016 election, and I know that many in Philipstown, Putnam Valley, Kent and the rest of our Senate District agree.

Margaret Yonco-Haines

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