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Governor Cuomo addresses goals for Buffalo in 2020 State of State

His 2020 address mentioned removing the Skyway. The goal is to complete the environmental review process in 2021 and begin final design shortly after.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In the 2020 State of the State Address, Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his goals for the new year and mentioned his hopes for Buffalo. 

He told the crowd, "Let's redevelop Buffalo's beautiful waterfront and reimagine the Erie Canal."

But the governor believes the Buffalo Skyway is standing in the way.

His written address says in part, "By removing the Skyway and investing in new infrastructure, New York State will free up over a dozen acres in downtown Buffalo and over 75 additional acres along the four-mile corridor, allowing Buffalo to capitalize on the City's most unique asset – its waterfront."

Congressman Brian Higgins told 2 on Your Side over the phone he's pleased with the governor's comments.

"The fact of the matter is, the Skyway has outlived its usefulness. It is structurally deficient. It is functionally obsolete. Those are all engineering terms to say, 'You need to do better, Buffalo,' " Higgins said.

The State of the State wasn't the first time we've heard the governor talk about the potential of tearing down the Skyway.

Last September he led a state-sponsored design competition for an alternative to the Skyway, offering a $100,000 prize for the best proposal.

Paul Tronolone, the vice president for policy and planning at Empire State Development, told 2 On Your Side, "I think the competition sort of gave that future vision of what could happen on our outer harbor or inner harbor if this impediment went away."

Now the state is in the process of gathering an even better understanding of what that could look like. 

In 2020, the state will continue the environmental review process, which is expected to wrap up in the first half of 2021. Beginning final design will take place shortly after, according to the State of the State written address.

"I think that if we let the process play out, we have to figure out how it works with the overall infrastructure," Tronolone said. "But this commitment to actually do that amount of analysis and public participation to do it demonstrates that we're committed to making change happen there."

Higgins added, "This is moving the ball forward."

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