In Day Four of testimony at the joint budget hearings in Albany, Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald was asked several questions about the proposed I-98 highway that Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned in his State of the State proposal. He announced his administration would be spending $2.5 million dollars on a feasibility study to see if an interstate is needed to connect the cities of Watertown and Champlain, a vast stretch of land that runs around the northern part of New York.
McDonald told us after the hearing that with the renewed growth in the North Country, the time was right for another look at the idea. Although she didn't rule it completely out the commissioner admitted to us that DOT "probably" wouldn't end up building the highway, saying the traffic volumes looked at in past studies done in 2002 and 2006 "didn't merit the investment" but will look at other opportunities for transportation improvements. McDonald added the scope of work will go out to bid soon and DOT wants to get the study underway "quickly."