NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Questions were erupting Wednesday evening about government waste on Staten Island, as neighbors were outraged about plans to repave several roadways.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, it is rare to hear complaints about a repaving project. But on Dewit Avenue in the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island, neighbor Isana Loshinsky called such a project “a waste of time and money, and just plain silly.”
The area was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy a year and a half ago. Homes are boarded up, and homeowners are being bought out by the state to make way for a storm protection zone.
For that reason, Loshinsky – one of the last to move – felt disgusted when she saw signs warning that her block was about to be repaved.
“I told my husband, what are they going to do, repave my street?” Loshinsky said. “We’re moving. They’re going to break down everything.”
Not far away on Baden Place, crews have already started doing some repaving work. And even worse, neighbors said the latest repaving effort is not the first since Sandy.” -19:02
“It makes no sense,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “It does not help anyone.”
Oddo said he has reached out to the New York City Department of Transportation commissioner, who put the brakes on the project.
Oddo also said he has been given the indication that Federal Emergency Management Administration money designated for repaving was going to be used on the project.
“All this does is give some crotchety old senator or congressman from another part of the country that loves to hate on New York fodder to point at the waste of New York City,” Oddo said.
Some roads set to be repaved aren’t entirely in buyout areas, but are still in neighborhoods that would likely see construction work in the future.
That reality has fueled questions about the logic of repaving now.
“A lot of people they’re still not at home,” said Natalia Demidove of Staten Island. “They still need to get home, and they do the road. It’s sad.”
“It would be funny if it wasn’t that sad,” Loshinsky said.
DOT officials have responded, saying the Sandy Buyout Program is not finalized yet, and that “the DOT is conducting a review of streets scheduled for resurfacing that fall within the prospective buy-out areas to determine next steps while making the best use of agency resources.”
DOT spokeswoman Nicole Garcia also said the department has a duty to ensure the safety of all roadways.
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