Orange County Executive Says Route 17 Expansion is Vital; Should be Funded by Fed. Infrastructure Bill
John Jordan | July 12, 2021
GOSHEN—In a no-holds barred interview, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus recently told Real Estate In-Depth that if Congress passes a large federal infrastructure bill, one of the first projects in New York State that should be funded is the expansion of Route 17, which could come with a price tag of more than $1 billion.
The New York State Department of Transportation recently held a webinar on its ongoing study of the possible expansion of Route 17. The DOT study, which is expected to be released at the end of October, estimated the cost of the expansion at anywhere from $245 million to as much as $1 billion, depending upon the scope of the project.
Neuhaus said the Route 17 project “should be the first one done in New York State. They could do what they want in New York City, they have a lot of infrastructure issues too, but this is a region that is growing. You see massive commercial and residential development. Residential development in Southern Orange County is off the charts. You are going to need to match that with a transportation system that actually works.”
Neuhaus, who is completing his second term of office, also lambasted the prior leadership of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency and said that the agency for the most part was “riddled with conflicts.” He is calling for reform of the IDA and also criticized the plea deals with the three executives who are required to pay back a total of more than $1 million to the IDA, but will not receive any prison time for their felony guilty pleas.
The County Executive said, “I think the punishment does not match the crime.” He also said the plea deals “stinks to the public of rich man’s justice.”
The County Executive also discussed the county’s efforts in dealing with the COVID pandemic from the dark early days to the many people who volunteered at the mass vaccination centers. He said it was a proud moment for him “as an American to see people from all walks of life coming together. I had people that were wealthy, that were poor, people that were in other professions that just took a leave of absence to volunteer to be part of something bigger than them.”
The full “Five Questions With” feature with Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus will be published in full in the print edition of Real Estate In-Depth and will be available online on Thursday, July 15.