ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There are new concerns over rest stops along the New York State Thruway from a $450 million project that began nearly two years ago.
Now, the lead company overseeing the project is seeking a bailout from taxpayers of almost half the price tag.
Applegreen, based out of Ireland, is supervising operations for the entirety of this project. Their partner, local contractor LeChase, says supply chain issues and inflation are to blame for the delay in the completion of area rest stops. However, in 2021, a reliance on taxpayer funds was said not to be a part of the deal.
The rest area at Junius Ponds in Phelps is one of five rebuilt and renovated sites along the Thruway now open for business.
Five more are slated to open by summer, paired with another 10 in the works.
It’s all part of a reconstruction project that emerged in the summer of 2021.
According to lawmakers, Applegreen is now seeking a bailout of $260 million on the project.
“When I raised my concerns in 2021, the response was that there will be no taxpayer dollars. My response back to them and their response for $260 million was no taxpayer bail out and that I would not support it,” said NYS Assemblymember Harry Bronson.
Bronson is calling for the projects to get completed, but without putting taxpayers on the hook.
He also shares concerns on the newly built facilities.
“I am not impressed at all with what has been built thus far. The design is horrible and not conducive to meeting all of the functionalities of a rest stop, which is inclusive of taking some time to travel and rest before getting back on the road,” said Bronson.
LeChase, overseeing the regional construction, cites “supply chain issues and unprecedented global price escalation” as challenges.
Bronson says it’s up to Applegreen to iron things out in order to avoid the potential burden.
“Those are risks that private companies take and it’s not up to taxpayers and the government to come in and bail out those companies. That’s what the ask is here. It’s a very, very slippery slope,” said Bronson.
A spokesperson for LeChase tells News 8 the company is continuing to work with partners to address these challenges.
News 8 has reached out to Applegreen for comment and has not heard back.