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For Immediate Release: August 18, 2006

THRUWAY AUTHORITY EXTENDS FORMAL COMMENT PERIOD FOR WILLIAMSVILLE TOLL BARRIER IMPROVEMENTS TO OCTOBER 6
Authority Further Extends Comment Period, Seeking Public Input

The New York State Thruway Authority today announced that in an effort to seek as much public participation in the Williamsville Toll Barrier Improvement Project as possible, it has once again extended the formal comment period to Friday, October 6, 2006.

Originally the comment period was scheduled to end on Monday, July 24, 2006, and then extended by four weeks to Monday, August 21, 2006.

“Members of the public and community officials have asked for more time to review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and we have listened,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael R. Fleischer. “Community involvement and public input will play an important role in the selection of the preferred project alternative that best serves the needs of the area.”

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) identifies the preferred alternative, which is to relocate the barrier from its present location to the Town of Newstead, Erie County, between Thruway Interchanges 48A and 49. The preferred alternative also supports the implementation of Highway Speed E-ZPass to further reduce delays and provide a means to address future traffic demands. The installation of Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes would allow E-ZPass customers to drive through selected toll collection locations at highway speeds using dedicated E-ZPass lanes, physically isolated them from the location used to serve cash-paying customers.

The DEIS is posted on the Authority’s website at www.nysthruway.gov. Simply click on “Williamsville Improvements” under “Projects and Studies.” Once on the project website, please click on “Project Draft EIS.”

In addition, complete sets of the seven-volume Williamsville Toll Barrier Improvement Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (WTB DEIS), including a CD copy of the document, are available for review and copying through the following repository sites: the Alden Town Clerk’s Office and Alden Ewell Free Library; the Amherst Town Clerk’s Office; the Cheektowaga Town Clerk’s Office and Cheektowaga Public Library Anna M. Reinstein Branch; the Clarence Town Clerk’s Office and Clarence Public Library; the Lancaster Town Clerk’s Office and Lancaster Public Library; the Newstead Town Clerk’s Office and Newstead Public Library; the Pembroke Town Clerk’s Office and Corfu Free Library; the Williamsville Branch- Amherst Public Library; the Thruway Authority Buffalo Division Offices; and Leo W. O'Brien Federal Building in Albany, New York.

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