BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With less than two months to go until Election Day, the Erie County Executive is facing another attack from his challenger. Legislator Lynne Dixon, an Independent running on the Republican line, has released a new TV ad criticizing Poloncarz, a Democrat, for the condition of the county’s roads.
“We are in constant triage mode when it comes to the roads,” Dixon told News 4.
“She’s opened up a negative campaign. So be it,” Poloncarz responded.
Erie County owns more than 1,200 miles of road, more than three states. Dixon claims more money needs to be put into them. In her ad, she refers to the roads as “a mess”.
“I sent a letter to Mark Poloncarz in 2012 saying, ‘Fix Lake Avenue in Blasdell.’ It’s in terrible shape,” said Dixon. That was in 2012. Here we are in 2019.
“I just got an email today that work is getting underway in September. Here we are at the end of road construction season in 2019, and work is just getting underway on Lake Avenue.”
Poloncarz himself released his first TV ad over the weekend, in which he bragged that he has fixed “thousands of miles of road”. In the 2019 budget he proposed in March, Poloncarz asked lawmakers to approve more than $40 million in operating money for roads and bridges.
“My opponent has supported most of those budget,” Poloncarz said. “So I think it’s very disingenuous for her to come out and say, ‘Oh they’re not doing enough,’ when she supported most of those budgets.”
A check of the records shows that Dixon voted to pass all but one of the county’s budgets since Poloncarz took office, including the 2019 budget. But Dixon was quick to point out that she and the rest of the Republican caucus tried to allocate more surplus funding to fix roads, a move which was blocked by Democrats in the legislature.
“We need to put together a maintenance plan where we address the ditching and the standing water on roads,” Dixon said.
“She’s telling everybody she’s going to spend money and she’s going to cut our taxes,” Poloncarz said. “We’ve been down that road. That was the red-green fiscal crisis road.”
According to Erie County’s Department of Public Works, between $25 million and $30 million of the operating money allocated to road and bridge work in 2019 will have been spent by the end of September. The remainder will be spent through the end of 2020, a county spokesperson said.