BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Republican leaders of the Erie County Legislature criticized County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Tuesday, for passing up the first meeting of a new highway advisory committee. Lawmakers have been urging Poloncarz to designate a representative to the Erie County Bridge and Road Infrastructure Maintenance Advisory Board, but so far, Poloncarz has declined.
Poloncarz’s defended his decision, saying, “suburban individuals, highway superintendents, as well as politically-appointed individuals, who are just complaining about why a certain road is not done, and I didn’t think that was fruitful.”
With Poloncarz planning to spend $40 million more on highway improvements next year, county lawmakers set up the non-partisan advisory board to help set some priorities.
The committee, composed of suburban highway superintendents, and representatives of county legislators met Tuesday morning, but Joseph Lorigo, the County Legislature’s Majority Leader, said there was no one from Poloncarz’s office.
“Everybody was there, we are all on the same page as to what we want to get accomplished, and unfortunately the County Executive chose not to appoint anyone to the commission, and chose not to attend.”
Why did Poloncarz choose to skip the meeting? He has his suspicions: “I think it’s funny that some of the same legislators who are criticizing me for not doing enough roads are out there pandering to the public, saying we are going to cut your taxes, but we are going to give you more services.”
“Folks, if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn,” added Poloncarz, who then abruptly ended his comments on the subject.
Lorigo, a West Seneca Conservative said the bridge and road advisory board needs recommendations from the county administration to come up with a long-term plan, “We have this opportunity, with this new commission, to have a bi-partisan common sense discussion that takes politics out of it, to address the road issues, and he is saying, I refuse to participate.”
Cooler heads might be prevailing. Since Erie County Attorney Michael Siragusa is already on the advisory board, Poloncarz says the county attorney can also act as his delegate for future meetings of the committee.