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Hinchey: Pond Eddy Bridge Replacement Plan Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

Hinchey is also concerned that the project would require interruption of the free flow of the Delaware River for at least one year, negatively impacting recreational use of the river, hurting the local tourism industry. Interruption and changes to the River's flow could also threaten the natural resources of this section of the Delaware, which is classified as Special Protection Waters by the Delaware River Basin Commission.

The full text of Hinchey's letter follows.

March 21, 2012

Ms. Joan McDonald


New York State Department of Transportation

50 Wolf Road

Albany, NY 12232

Dear Commissioner McDonald:

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed demolition and replacement of the historic Pond Eddy Bridge in Sullivan County. I urge you to reconsider NYSDOT's commitment of funding for the proposal by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to construct an expensive new crossing over the Delaware River at Pond Eddy. This project would serve only a small number of Pennsylvania residents along a landlocked, single-lane road in Shohola Township and adversely impact important historic, scenic and recreational resources in the Upper Delaware corridor.

PennDOT's current plan to remove the existing Pond Eddy Bridge and construct a new 40-ton capacity "bridge to nowhere" would squander limited infrastructure funds which could be better used towards the backlog of bridge and road projects in New York. According to the Federal Highway Administration, NYSDOT has programmed more than $5 million for the construction of a new bridge at Pond Eddy that would handle only a few dozen daily vehicle crossings by residents of Pennsylvania. I understand that the estimated $12 million construction costs of a new bridge far exceeds the total market value of the few homes and private lots that a new structure would ostensibly serve. Such use of New York's limited transportation funding to serve a handful of out of state residents seems inconsistent with the State's commitment to fiscal responsibility and counter to any rational prioritization for available infrastructure monies.