Lawmaker Blasts Suffolk County Exec. For Budget Cuts

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A dangerous road is at the center of a budget fight on Long Island.

Smithtown Boulevard has seen dozens of crashes, but fixing it has been taken out of next year’s budget.

Tom Archer said he has lost count of how many times he’s helped victims of car accidents on the boulevard.

“There’s a blind curve coming from a hill above you. There’s no signage. There’s nothing to warn you that it’s a high-risk area,” he told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Wednesday.

Back in 2007, the victim was his own son. Ben Archer was 15 when he was hit by a car while riding his bike. The accident left Ben severely brain-damaged.

He’s now living in a nursing home, unable to speak. But his father is speaking out, upset that a plan to straighten Smithtown Boulevard has been cut by the budget ax.

“I don’t want to see anybody else get hurt,” Archer told Gusoff.

The road straightening project was one of 13 capital improvements slashed in Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s budget. So was a plan to help 3,800 homes that chronically flood.

Legislator John Kennedy paraphrased a famous 1975 Daily News headline he said is applicable to this latest instance.

“Bellone to Smithtown: Drop Dead,” Kennedy recalled.

Kennedy argued the cuts are unfair to his Smithtown district because of a political rivalry.

“Smithtown, without a doubt, is being disproportionately reduced,” he told Gusoff.

Bellone said the cuts are fair and across the board.

“The Capital Program was cut by 27 percent…because of Suffolk County’s fiscal condition,” Bellone said in a statement.

Some taxpayers agreed that spending had to be cut.

“I don’t know if straightening the road is going to do it, people gotta use common sense,” one resident told Gusoff.

But Archer argued that some cuts put lives at risk

“The way it is right now, it is a tempest in a teapot and it’s just waiting for somebody to get hurt,” he told Gusoff.

There have been more than 69 car crashes on Smithtown Boulevard since Ben Archer was hit. Tom Archer said political squabbling needs to be put aside and the road must be made safer.

Bellone also called Kennedy’s “drop dead” comment incendiary rhetoric.

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