GlobalFoundries executives are urging local lawmakers to waive a requirement to build a new exit on the Northway before possible future construction can begin. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, the company believes other options are available to alleviate traffic that could come with future development.
SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y -- With 2,000 workers already employed at GlobalFoundries in Malta’s Luther Forest Technology Park, it's tough to deny traffic has picked up in the surrounding area of Malta and Stillwater.
It's also impossible to ignore that as a result, traffic is booming at many local businesses.
"We've had people coming from all over the place,” said Marilyn Ponce, a stylist at Vinny’s Barber Shop in Malta. “It's been crazy busy."
Earlier this month, GlobalFoundries executives applied to amend the Planned Development District (PDD) that town officials and the tech park's original developer agreed upon 10 years ago.
One stipulation in the agreement is that before construction of a third local chip fab could occur, a new Northway exit between exits 11 and 12 would need to be built to alleviate future traffic congestion.
"A new exit on the Northway takes eight to ten years, $30-50 million,” GlobalFoundries spokesperson Travis Bullard said. “It's a massive infrastructure timeline and that doesn't really fit with the timeline we're looking at."
Because GlobalFoundries is hoping to have its site plan complete within six months, the company has asked town officials to remove the Northway exit requirement. Instead, they’ve hired the outside consulting firm Creighton Manning and proposed improvements to several local roundabouts and intersections.
"We're not opposed to Exit 11A but the timeframe is what's a concern for us," Bullard said.
On Thursday Malta Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said he expects both town boards to approve GlobalFoundries’ application on the condition additional traffic studies be completed.
"We're going to take a look at the data,” Sausville said. “There's been some traffic evaluations already made. If it's justified it's justified, if it's not it's not."
Bullard maintains the company has yet to decide on building a second manufacturing plant in Malta.
While some local residents have expressed concerns about potential noise and traffic issues construction would bring, many say the economic benefits far outweigh any added inconvenience.
"I don't think there's any concerns on my end,” said Brad Wagner, who works in Malta and lives in Stillwater. “In fact, I think just the opposite, those are good problems to have."
"I think it's good for the businesses, it's great for the people,” Ponce said. “I don't think it's a bad thing at all."
The Malta and Stillwater Town Boards are expected to make a decision on the GlobalFoundries application by August 1st.