Local News for Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The city of Ithaca will receive 1.7 million dollars in federal funding to improve its transportation systems. According to Senator Schumer’s office, the funding will be used to develop a traffic signal priority system for school buses, fire trucks, and transit systems. The developments are aimed at making the local systems’s arrival and departure times more consistent. The aid is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, which passed Congress in November of 2021.

Tenant advocates are predicting an increase in evictions in New York State. The state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (or ERAP) provided emergency assistance to renters and landlords financially impacted by COVID-19, but stopped taking applications in January. According to the Ithaca voice, the number of eviction filings will likely stay the same. However, the loss of ERAP means more filings will result in evictions. As of March 17, New York State has paid a total of $4 million in assistance to Tompkins County landlords. 

Assemblymember Anna Kelles and other local community advocates are pushing for the closure of Seneca Meadows, New York state’s largest landfill. According to the Seneca Lake Guardian, the landfill produces 75 million gallons of leachate every year. Leachate is water that has percolated through the landfill and picked up contaminants along the way. The group says the leachate contains toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Much of the liquid is trucked off site for treatment but water treatment plants are seldom equipped to effectively remove PFAS. There are also no federal or state regulations requiring PFAS testing for facilities that are permitted to discharge water. 

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