A press conference was held at the Terryville Fire Department, Station 2, on Old Town Road in Port Jefferson Station on February 15 for local leaders to discuss a flush of federal cash gift-wrapped specifically for the Town of Brookhaven.
Congressman Nick LaLota (R-First District) is being credited with securing the funds through a highly competitive federal grant from the U.S. Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program.
There were only 510 recipients of the grant nationwide, twelve of which were in New York, with Brookhaven being the only one in Suffolk County.
$380,000 has been awarded to the Town of Brookhaven to contribute to the town’s “Vision Zero” program, a plan that seeks to eliminate all traffic and traffic-related deaths. The fire station was picked for the location of the conference due to a traffic fatality that occurred recently about a quarter-mile away.
Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro explained that the nearly $400,000 received from the federal government was out of $800 million given out nationwide. Still, this nearly covers the cost of Brookhaven’s Vision Zero program, which will cost around $475,000 to complete.
The project is in the phase of identifying major causes of traffic-related deaths, identifying problem intersections, and what solutions can be used at which locations to further mitigate traffic casualties. This includes signaled and unsignalized intersections, crosswalks, and ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps. Losquadro says the program will implement change through “safer design [of roadways] and traffic-calming measures.”
Losquadro’s main point: “You can’t legislate morality.”
Congressman LaLota explained that despite his time on Capitol Hill being brief so far, he’s gotten the chance to explain to his colleagues just how expensive Long Island is:
“When I tell them how our taxes go through the roof, they go through the roof.” He also explained that New York has the fifth-worst return on investment when it comes to taxes paid to Washington and benefits received through taxes.
“For every $1 we send to Washington, we get ninety-three cents back.” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said that the town needs to continue to be the “squeaky wheel.” He highlighted that the town has 3700 miles of road, more than any other town in the county.
Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Center Moriches) was also in attendance, saying that “we need to keep the money and put it to good work.”