A lot of vertical construction – factories, restaurants, hotels, lofts – is going on in the Queen City. But what about the horizontal structures – roads, bridges, storm drains, sewers? We depend on them every day.

Take a closer look. Consider a visit to Canalside to look at the sidewalks, crosswalks and streets. Try to navigate the area with a stroller.

Or let’s say you are an EMT riding in the back of an ambulance treating a patient, heading toward the new hospital complex. Imagine getting stuck in traffic because there are no turning lanes or shoulders.

Try navigating our Western New York trucking routes from Canada to Pennsylvania. Count how many underweight bridges there are, or try out the brutal southern corridor of Route 219. Even worse, try transporting fragile cargo across the western section of Interstate 90. Plan on going slow through Silver Creek. The highway is so rough, the state had to lower the speed limit.

I’ve heard people say, “If you build it, they will come.” What if they can’t get there because a bridge is shut down or roads are impassable?

One last thought: What’s worse than throwing money out the window? Giving it to the government in the form of EPA fines every time it rains, because our combined sewer systems can’t keep up with the flow.

But don’t be alarmed. I’ve also heard we are building to lead. How we choose to lead remains to be seen.

Carley Hill
Fair Apportionment of Infrastructure Revenue