New Syracuse group opposes I-81 diversion option, members include state lawmakers

A new group called held a news conference to voice its opposition to proposals that would reroute I-81 away from its current traffic pattern.

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 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.

Members of say such a plan would increase traffic congestion and drive business away from the downtown area.

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."

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, 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 is committed to working toward that goal.â??

Members of 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.)