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Cost overruns confirmed on Thruway rest stop construction: Will taxpayers foot the bill?

New York State’s plan to revamp its aging rest stop plazas along the State Thruway has faced unexpected cost overruns, contradicting initial claims that taxpayers would not have to foot the bill. Mike Elmendorf, President & CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, cited the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine as significant contributors to the increased expenses, which have affected the construction industry as a whole.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The restorations, affecting 23 rest stops, are being carried out by a joint venture between Rochester-based LeChase Construction and international corporation AECOM Tishman, operating under the name ESC Partners. According to Elmendorf, the cost of construction materials has risen exponentially, making the project more expensive than initially estimated.

Although the exact amount needed to cover the cost overruns remains uncertain, The Buffalo News reported a figure of $260 million last week. Elmendorf, however, believes the actual number is lower, though he could not provide specifics.


The Hochul administration is working closely with Applegreen, a company that has secured a lease agreement to own and operate the new facilities in exchange for covering construction costs. Despite the financial setbacks, Elmendorf remains confident that the project will be completed, emphasizing that the situation is not unique to the State Thruway rest stop renovations, but rather an industry-wide issue.



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