Interstate 81

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Congressman-elect John Katko is finding out more about what his responsibilities will be when he is sworn in to the House of Representatives in January.

It won't become official until next week, but preliminarily it appears that Katko will serve on two committees, Homeland Security and the Transportation and Infrastructure committees. The first plays to the Republican's experience as a former federal prosecutor, as Katko dealt with border issues while working in El Paso.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

How does a political newcomer take on a two-term congressman and win a seat in Congress? That’s what happened in central New York this week, as Republican John Katko defeated Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei by 20 points.

Katko analyzed his winning campaign during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters yesterday.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

Republican John Katko and incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei largely stuck to the issues in their latest television debate Tuesday night. The two candidates took stands on the economy, Common Core and U.S. military action in Syria on the half-hour debate on CNY Central.

But on the issue of what to do about the aging span of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse, neither candidate had a definitive answer.

Katko said the options that have been presented are good ones, but he needs more information.

Syracuse is facing a host of challenges and opportunities; front and center among them are the replacing of I-81 and the economic development of the city.  On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney sit down together with host Grant Reeher to discuss these key issues. 

Note: See the transcript below for highlights of the conversation.

oliver_hine / via Flickr

Three big roadways in upstate New York cities have made a top 10 list of freeways that should be torn down or filled in.

The Congress for New Urbanism says Syracuse’s Interstate 81, Rochester’s Inner Loop and Buffalo’s Skyway bridge are all roadways that do damage to the community and should be replaced. They’re also on the "Freeways Without a Future" list because there’s growing momentum to remove them.

The Chicago-based group advocates for more walkable cities and smart growth.

Interstate 81 runs through the heart of Syracuse, N.Y., where a 1.4-mile-long elevated stretch of the highway is known locally as "the viaduct." Like many road projects built in the middle of the last century, I-81 is bumping up against the end of its life span. While officials say it's still safe to drive on, the highway is crumbling in parts.