The Cuomo Administration is taking an unusual approach this summer to keeping in contact with people of the state. A number of state officials have hit the road by bicycle. YNN's Bill Carey says those state cabinet members say the trip is worth the effort.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. -- “Well, good morning everyone and thank you for being with us this morning in Fayetteville,” said State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton.
The event was routine. A state announcement of $150,000 in aid for a project in Fayetteville to construct a new pedestrian bridge over Limestone Creek. But not everything was routine.
First, those outfits. State officials in shorts and t-shirts. And their mode of transportation. All had arrived by bicycle. It's all part of a program launched by the Governor, who asked members of his cabinet to join 500 other cyclists in an eight day bicycle tour along the Erie Canal.
Stratton said, “I did the first leg, 48 miles. I had to go back to Albany for a couple of days. I'm back here today in Syracuse to bring the whole peloton in the remaining miles between here and Albany.”
There are stops like this one, all along the route, announcing local projects. And cabinet members along for the trip, say the value of the miles of pedaling has quickly become apparent.
“When you go out and you see it, a project, and you understand what's there and you touch it and feel it, then you can begin to make good decisions,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said.
“I've never ridden along the canal trail. So today, on a personal note, almost embarrassed to say I haven't done this before, but I haven't. But to see it, I can now be a spokesperson for it. I can now frame all these investments, like the project here, the bridge at Fayetteville, here at the landing, frame these, describe these as critical economic development investments,” said State Economic Development Commissioner Ken Adams.
With heat and humidity on the rise, the journey is a challenging one. But publicly, at least, there are no complaints.
“I'm having a lot of fun,” Stratton said. “I mean, how much better does it get than to be able to have a job that puts you in charge of the greatest inland waterway and the greatest trail and to be able to do this stuff as part of your job and enjoy it?”
The ride continues throughout the rest of the week. This group will finally arrive in the capital, Albany, sometime this weekend.
Just one unanswered question. How come the man who assigned the journey to his cabinet members, Andrew Cuomo, hasn't shown up for the ride.
Adams replied, “He has deployed us. You know, it's 400 miles.”