Onondaga County legislature prepares to vote on road-paving proposal

Onondaga County legislators are preparing to vote on a proposal to repave Harrison and Adams Streets in Syracuse, as well as streets in Clay, Camillus, Onondaga, Van Buren and Elbridge.

The proposal, drafted by Onondaga County Chairman Ryan McMahon, would allocate roughly $2 million from both state grants and county surplus funds to repave the streets.

"Even though it's not our job in county government to do it, we're going to try to work in a metropolitan way to solve the problem," said McMahon.

"It's an embarrassment to have those roads look the way they do," said Onondaga County Legislator Linda Ervin.

The County Executive's proposal originally focused funding solely on Downtown Syracuse, but was changed in the legislature to improve roads leading into the city in the hopes of drawing more people to Syracuse.

"Whether they live out here or anyplace else, they still go downtown, for a number of reasons because they have to," said Ervin. "And so, it's affecting everyone. It's not just affecting city residents. It's affecting everyone who comes downtown."

Those against the proposal believe individual municipalities should maintain their own roads.

"It's a sound argument, but if we want to stay in our own fiefdoms, we don't really ever solve the problem," said McMahon. "So, if the town is still doing the town but the town doesn't have money for those roads, what do we do about the roads?"

Syracuse Common Councilor Nader Maroun welcomes the county's proposal. "I think the parnership of the city and the county - particularly a lot of people coming in from the county, use the county roads - so it would be great," said Maroun.

Onondaga County legislators will vote on McMahon's proposal on Tuesday at 1 p.m. If passed, the county will work out intermunicipal agreements with all five towns and the City of Syracuse over the next month so construction can begin this season.