So much for ‘no cost’ to taxpayers.
For nearly two years we’ve heard from state officials at all levels- including the New York State Thruway Authority- who said overhauling rest stops along I-90 wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime.
It was the perfect plan, or so it seemed. Applegreen Limited entered into contract with the state to receive a 33-year lease on the plazas. It was ideal because the company, not taxpayers, would pay for the demolition and construction. In exchange, Applegreen would get to earn revenue from those properties over the next three decades.
The issue lies in new reporting by The Buffalo News. They report that Rochester-based LaChase, the construction company doing the work is seeking $260 million from state taxpayers to cover ‘cost overruns’.
“But unlike other state government projects suffering from soaring construction costs, in this instance, the builders themselves are contractually liable for overruns. Hochul’s administration appears to have little interest in supplying the funds, and the Assembly’s top lawmaker overseeing transportation is also wary,” the Buffalo News reported.
That said, as of an early-April report issued by lenders and investors it appears everything is on track. The documents indicate that costs are not overrunning, contrary to the claim otherwise.
Of course, this will be closely watched as new rest areas open across the Finger Lakes and Central New York.
Just two weeks ago, the Clifton Springs Rest Area reopened, which is by far the largest in the region so far.
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