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Tompkins officials continue mulling future of public transportation

The Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council (ITCTC) has issued their draft improvement plan for 2020-2024 and is now looking for feedback from the public on the plan, which is currently projected to include 32 specific projects though some shuffling is bound to happen.

There will be a meeting held on Tuesday, April 9, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Heyman Conference Room in the Old Jail Building. Feedback is welcome from the public on what projects they would like to suggest including or other tweaks they have may to the program. Projects are sponsored by municipalities and completed using federal funding.

“The [Transportation Improvement Plan] (TIP) represents the five-year program of capital surface transportation projects for Tompkins County that utilize federal funds,” the announcement reads. “The program was developed in collaboration with the New York State Department of Transportation utilizing regional goals and project screening criteria. The draft program being reviewed includes fifteen (15) projects continuing from the current TIP plus seventeen (17) new projects. Total program funding is $38,102,800 over five years.”

Anticipated impacts of the improvements should, if successful, benefit safety, infrastructure, congestion, system reliability and environmental sustainability. The projects range in total cost from as low as $200,000 (for a rehabilitation of the Route 34 Bridge over the railroad) to as much as over $6 million for changes to Rt. 13/34/96. The majority of the projects, at least at the time of this projection, will be sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation, thought others are slated to be sponsored by the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County.

The largest project the City of Ithaca is sponsoring will be the Elmira Road overlay and signal replacement, which will cost nearly $2.3 million. Tompkins County’s largest sponsorship is for work on County Route 109 over Fall Creek Bridge, which will cost $1.68 million.

The improvement plan also includes a list of success metrics and safety goals that should be met over the five years, with most having to do with rates of fatalities or serious injuries. The ITCTC states in the draft plan that increasing safety through the improvement program is one of its primary priorities.

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