VESTAL, NY – A war of words has erupted between Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and Binghamton Mayor Rich David over the closure of a single lane of roadway.
Garnar took credit today for the pending removal of construction equipment from the westbound lane of Old Vestal Road in front of the Binghamton Johnson City Joint Sewgae Treatment Plant which is undergoing a massive renovation.
The road has been restricted to eastbound traffic only for 3 and a half years, and the closure has gone on 2 years longer than planned.
After receiving complaints about the delay from Vestal Supervisor John Schaffer, Garnar recently told Binghamton, which is lead agency on the project, to remove the construction trailers and crane.
He says the fact that they were moved so quickly proves that they probably could’ve been removed months ago.
“You’ve got businesses up and down this road that are being absolutely killed because nobody’s using this road anymore. You’ve got major congestion problems. The police chief from Vestal is saying it’s taking longer for ambulances to get here. God forbid if they have to get here. The road needed to be reopened and that’s why we ordered the city to get the equipment off the road so we could go in and fix it,” says Garnar.
Mayor David issued a series of scathing news releases in response claiming that the city was operating under its own time table and was not bowing to Garnar’s pressure.
David called it “the petty political protests of a petulant Broome County Executive.”
Garnar criticized the former county administration for not entering into a formal agreement with the city for its use of what is a county road.