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Contractor coffers need a state bailout for Thruway rest area rebuilding

(WRGB photo)
(WRGB photo)
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When it comes to Thruway rest areas, there's apparently no rest for New York state taxpayers.

The Buffalo News was the first to report that the private company rebuilding the Thruway rest areas needs a bailout from the state to the tune of as much as $260 million.

But Monday, the man who runs the Thruway Authority said he doesn’t think that will happen. Interim Executive Director Frank Hoare said he doesn’t see the current deal for rest area renovation changing.

A company called Applegreen Limited signed a deal to rebuild the Thruway rest areas, at no cost to the Thruway Authority or taxpayers, in return for a cut of the proceeds from retail sales.

But now Rochester-based LeChase Construction, which is doing the work for Applegreen, is telling state officials that it needs the bailout to cover cost overruns.

MORE: Legislature passes budget extender to keep government going through April 17

Any possible bailout would likely have to involve the New York State Legislature.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) has just sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul saying: "It would be a very 'slippery slope' if the state were to begin bailing out private construction companies when there are cost overruns, whether because of miscalculations or projected project cost or due to intervening events that result in higher costs than anticipated."

Bronson said it's important to complete the rest area renovations, but not at the expense of taxpayers.

23 Thruway rest areas are being rebuilt or renovated. The recently constructed Thruway welcome centers are not being rebuilt.

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