Wednesday, July 23, 2008

US 20 in NY: Section Named After Russert

As previously mentioned in my blog (here), a recommendation was made to name a section of US Route 20 after NBC journalist Tim Russert.

President George W. Bush approved the resolution today. Here’s the full story from the Buffalo News:

Bush signs Russert Bill, from the Buffalo News

It's official: Road near stadium becomes Tim Russert Highway
By Jerry Zremski - News Washington Bureau Chief
Updated: 07/23/08 12:38 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Bush today signed a bill renaming part of Route 20A near Ralph Wilson Stadium after Tim Russert.

The bill, which Congress passed overwhelmingly, renames the section of the highway between Abbott Road and California Road "Timothy J. Russert Highway."

Russert, the late Washington bureau chief for NBC News, was a Buffalo native who frequently ended "Meet the Press" with the words "Go Bills!"

After Russert died of a massive heart attack on June 13, Bush remembered him as "a tough and hardworking newsman" who was "always well informed and thorough in his interviews. ... And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it."

The proposal won widespread support in Congress.

"The passion for Buffalo that Tim demonstrated on a national stage was a source of pride for our city," said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, who pushed for the renaming in the House. "It is only fitting that from now on, part of the experience of going to a Bills game will be being reminded of this great Buffalonian."

On the Senate side, Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., led the fight for the bill.

"Tim Russert was in every way, Mr. Buffalo," Schumer said. "With his trademark 'Go Bills' sign-off, Tim Russert showed his pride for the city that made him who he was. He always cared about Buffalo, and when I spoke with him just a few weeks ago he said he would do everything he could to keep the Bills in Buffalo."

Clinton, meanwhile, said: "While this is a small gesture to honor an icon who gave us all so much, we hope that when people drive down Route 20 past Ralph Wilson Stadium, they'll remember the man who never forgot his hometown or his beloved Buffalo Bills."

The renamed highway won't be the last tribute to Russert if a group of his local admirers gets its way. More than 400 people have signed an online petition calling for Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to be renamed "Tim Russert Buffalo International Airport."

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

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