Even on the busiest weekend of the year, you probably won't find yourself thinking, "Boy, it's getting on about time that they widen this road," except maybe on a few tight turns in the bigger villages of Tupper Lake, Potsdam or Saranac Lake. And these are only an issue if you're driving a big rig. Yet some in the North Country still are under the delusion that we need to put a full-on, controlled-access interstate highway where Route 11 is now
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#1 Mar 10, 2010
The I-98 project should defintely be put on hold until the state is in better fiscal shape and let them bring some jobs to the north country first, then think about future accomodations. Alcoa, Reynolds, and GM got their products out of here for decades with things just the way they are.
Since: Jan 10
#2 Mar 10, 2010
I agree put on hold for now. I have known and still know and talk to truck drivers at times. They hate going in between I-87 and I- 81 to deliver there goods.One lane kills these guys for time and most importantly money.I think this will help us out up here, some say not but we will see what happens.
#3 Mar 10, 2010
The rooftop highway is nothing more than a poor excuse for Jason Clark so that he can ignore the bigger problem. Immediate economic development for Massena. Just another leech on the Massena Taxpayers.
Since: Jan 10
#4 Mar 10, 2010
I was talking solely about rooftop highway issue, not with the problem you got with Jason Clark.
#5 Mar 10, 2010
Who do you think the front man for the rooftop highway is? It's Massena's Jason Clark. Instead of dorking around with this farce of an issue the town and village fathers should redirect his efforts towards small business development in Massena. Granted, it's not as sexy as, lets say a windmill factor that will employ 25,000 people (right Jason?), but it's the small business man who will make Massena successful again.
#6 Mar 30, 2011
'Rooftop highway' boosters eyed for cuts
(03/30/11) The not-for-profit that has spearheaded the push for an Interstate highway between Watertown and Plattsburgh is under fire. Massena's mayor says the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena hasn't been audited in 8 years and isn't doing enough to create jobs. David Sommerstein reports.
Jason Clark, director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, has become the leader and figurehead for the rooftop highway, or I-98, as he calls it. He’s young and returned home to Massena to stop others like him from leaving for jobs. Here’s Clark talking in 2009.
Every time I came home the one thing that really stood out is, where’s the highway?
By his own admission then, one of Clark’s main focuses at the Business Development Corporation, or BDC, has been the rooftop highway. He recently helped secure 20,000 dollars from St. Lawrence County to promote the project with pamphlets and ads.
But the BDC’s 120,000 dollar a year funding comes from the village and town of Massena. It’s charged with economic development. And some local officials want to see Clark do more in their neck of the woods.
He is not doing enough about luring businesses into this community.
Jim Hidy is the village of Massena’s mayor. He’s proposed completely defunding Clark’s organization in this year’s budget. Hidy says he supports the idea of a rooftop highway. But he says the BDC has 300,000 dollars in reserve. And it hasn’t been audited since 2003.
When you’re working with public money, and in their bylaws it states that they’re to have an annual audit, to not have an audit in several years is…it’s not acceptable.
Jason Clark says the audit situation is a matter for the BDC board, and he expects it to take up the issue at its next meeting.
Clark says he has been busy promoting the Interstate project the last couple years. He’s been lining up hundreds of resolutions of support from boards and local lawmakers.
We’ve gotten commitments from our federal officials. We’ve gotten commitments from federal highway officials. Now we’re waiting on commitment from the Governor.
That’s so important because the state Department of Transportation has so far been against a full-blown divided highway between Watertown and Plattsburgh. The DOT prefers small improvements to speed up traffic along the Route 11 corridor.
Clark says the BDC is making progress on economic development in Massena.
Contact bases in the Canadian markets, several grant proposals. In the last four years, we’ve generated over half a million dollars in grant money for Massena.
One of those grants is developing a rail spur for Massena’s industrial park.
Massena’s village board is divided on the proposal to cut the BDC’s funding. The issue will be decided as a part of the budget process over the next few weeks.
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