Funding for the I-81 project could come from a massive, $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan being considered by President Trump and congressional democrats.
Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met about two weeks ago, and they called the meeting constructive. In a recent visit to Syracuse, Schumer was optimistic that everyone is on the same page. At least for now.
"That's the kind of money we need to fund whatever changes might occur with I-81, so it has real local relevance. Now, the president is supposed to meet with us and tell us how he thinks we ought to pay for it."
And, that could be a key sticking point in negotiations. He says their next meeting is expected in about a week. Meanwhile, Schumer says Central New Yorkers have to get on the same page about the state’s recommendation.
"Now the community has to come forward: local officials, community officials, business leaders, everybody, and tell them what thye like and don't like about the plan. We have a little time to get a consensus here. But as I've said before, unless there's community consensus, doesn't mean 100 percent, we won't get funded. I'd urge the community to come together. I'm not going to dictate what it is. Whatever the community wants, I'll fight for funding."
The state is still at least a year away from making a final decision. And, it’s unclear if, and when, the president and congress might agree on an infrastructure bill.