JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County supervisors decided Monday to seek a $50,000 contribution from other local governments to help pay for a highway study.
The "connector" highway, if built, would run from Thruway Exit 28 in Fultonville through the town of Johnstown to an area near Route 30A at the Johnstown Industrial Park.
The federal government is offering a $400,000 grant for the study, but it would require a $100,000 local match.
Montgomery County government recently rejected spending $50,000 to help pay for the study. Fulton County is willing to pay a $50,000 share.
"I think we've got to start someplace," said Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael F. Gendron.
The board's Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee voted Monday to have Gendron send letters to area municipalities that might be willing to contribute to the study. The village of Fonda was mentioned as a possibility.
Fulton County supervisors didn't agree to either reject the federal grant outright or have their county pay the entire $100,000 local match.
"I think it's a tough precedent for the county to do it all," county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said.
The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in September authorized the $400,000 grant agreement for the feasibility and preliminary design study of the two- to three-mile bypass highway.
Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz was informed in August the $400,000 federal grant was approved as part of a project to do a $500,000 feasibility study. Both Fulton and Montgomery counties needed to come up with identical $50,000 shares for the study.
The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors' General Services Committee voted Oct. 16 not to have that county contribute to the study.
"I think we should be careful before we discount 80 percent federal funding," Gendron said. "This is an investment. It could be future jobs. I think we should try to fund it someway."
County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Fonda Mayor William Peeler indicated the connector highway is a "good idea."
Mraz said the project may achieve these four major objectives: reroute heavy, commercial truck traffic around the villages of Fultonville and Fonda; significantly reduce truck traffic, air pollution, noise, vibration and congestion in the villages; improve access to the proposed Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center in Perth; and provide a direct transportation link between I-90 to I-87 and the GlobalFoundries plant at the Luther Forest Technology Park in Saratoga County.
Mraz said the estimate of $500,000 for the feasibility study is "not based upon actual proposals," and the project may end up costing less, which would require less local money.
"I still think there's a lot of interest in Montgomery County," said Fulton County Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost.
While Gendron will be sending letters to other area municipalities, Yost said he will meet soon with Montgomery County officials to see if that county will reconsider the local match.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.