Several prominent elected officials and business leaders in the Syracuse area joined forces to oppose any plans to divert the stretch of Interstate 81 that runs through the city.
A new group called Save81.org held a news conference Thursday morning in downtown Syracuse to voice its opposition to proposals that would reroute I-81 away from its current traffic pattern. One plan being considered by state transportation officials would turn the elevated portion of the highway into a boulevard with stop lights and cross streets.
The group specifically opposes the boulevard option. They believe the chosen plan should "preserve and enhance the highwayâ??s current alignment and Interstate Highway designation through the region, particularly the stretch of I-81 running through Syracuse."
Members of Save81.org say such a plan would increase traffic congestion and drive business away from the downtown area.
The group's members include several state lawmakers, hotel owners and tourism officials. Supporters say removing I-81 from downtown Syracuse will revitalize the city.
â??I-81 is an economic backbone for our area, a vital artery that links city neighborhoods and suburban and rural areas with Downtown Syracuse and many key destinations,â?? said Tony Mangano, Save81.org spokesman and local business owner. â??It plays a critical role in the regionâ??s economy, public safety and accessibility. We must ensure that its current function is preserved, and Save81.org is committed to working toward that goal.â??
Members of Save.81.org include:
Kathleen Rapp, Onondaga County Legislature 5th District
Robert Andrews, Onondaga County Legislator, 9th District
Mark Atikinson, Mayor, Village of North Syracuse
Michael Chapman, Chariman, Cayuga County Legislature
John Dougherty, Onondaga County Legislature, 2nd District
David Knapp, Onondaga County Legislature, 12th District
Danny Liedka, Onondaga County Legislature, 7th District
Brian May, Onondaga County Legislature, 1st District
Ryan McMahon, Chairman, Onondaga County Legislature, 15th District
Michael Plochocki, Onondaga County Legislature, 6th District
Christopher Ryan, Onondaga County Legislature, 8th District
Judy Tassone, Onondaga County Legislature, 4th District
Mark Nicotra, Town Supervisor, Salina Town Board
Edward Michalenko, Town Supervisor, DeWitt Town Board
Edward Wagner, Town Supervisor, Owasco Town Board
Teresa Roney, Town Supervisor, Skaneateles Town Board
Joseph Ranieri, Town Clerk, Geddes Town Board
Gary Hatfield, Town Supervisor, Moravia Town Board
Michael Lazar, Chairman, Town of DeWitt Planning Board
Kerry Mannion, Member, Town of DeWitt Town Board
Gary White, Mayor, Village of Liverpool
Jeffrey Herrick, Town Supervisor, Sennett Town Board
Gary Searing, Town Supervisor, Fleming Town Board
Greater Syracuse Hospitality and Tourism Association
Jim Bright, Owner, Dunk and Bright
Tony Mangano, Owner, Ramada Inn
Patrick Danial, Terakeet
Todd Buchko, General Manager, WonderWorks (Destiny USA)
T-John Goodman, Owner, Sweet on Chocolate
Joseph Emmi, Super 8 Syracuse
Marc Emmi, Hampton Inn Liverpool
Carmen Emmi Jr., Homewood Suites
Joe Falcone, Dominick Falcone Insurance
Jim Gallagher, Holiday Inn
David Heymann, Sheraton Syracuse
Steve Hughes, Tim Hortons
Bruce Kenan, Destiny USA
Gary May, Mayâ??s Auto
Todd May, Southern Wine and Spirits
John Sposato, Sposato Companies
Richard Sykes, The Inns at Armory Square
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)