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Rebuild NY Now Visits Albany City Hall

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A Group lobbying to 'Rebuild NY Now' with state windfall funds brought its campaign to Albany Monday.  Rebuild NY Now is a coalition with a mission: to raise public awareness about the issues impacting New York State's infrastructure, with its eye on $5 billion - described as "unexpected cash" - a “windfall” of revenue from recent settlements against overseas banks to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

The coalition made its 4th statewide tour stop in the Capital Region today, with a press conference at City Hall, headlined by local elected officials, members of organized labor and private local businesses.

Chris Duggan represents the Brotherhood of Carpenters:    "While 25 point 8 billion was proposed by New York State D.O.T., only 19 billion was approved for the 2010-2015 5-year capital plan, which leaves a 6 point 8 billion dollar shortfall for the repair of roads and bridges. We're asking the Governor to increase the amount in his new 5-year D.O.T. Capital Plan."

Bill Eggleston from the Albany Ironworkers adds  "Recent studies show that fifty per cent of New York's paved roads will be in fair or worse condition by the end of this year. Every day more than 17 million New Yorkers drive over an unsafe bridge on their way to work or school. That is a disaster waiting to happne. Highway superintendents are asked to do more with less money. We believe it is time to take action. New York has a budget surplus, and what better way to use that surplus than to put New Yorkers back to work building and repairing our roads and bridges. Recent studies show that for every billion dollars spent on infrastructure repair and development, more than 28 thousand jobs are created. That's 28 thousand New Yorkers put back to work."

State Senator Neil Breslin says channeling the funding will begin with Albany lawmakers:  "We begin as a legislature to prioritize. To see where it's needed. Allocate it throughout the state. Distribute the money and do the work." 

Rebuild NY Now spokesperson Carley Hill, safety director for Union Concrete and Construction Corp. of Buffalo, warns infrastructure will crumble if not repaired or replaced.   "Your toilets are not going to flush. The abutments are going to wash away in the next flood, and the bridge is gonna get weaker. We want the bridge to stay strong!"

During the press event the coalition released its second installment of television and radio ads entitled “Tipping Point” as part of an overall media campaign, including a highly targeted digital advertising plan which also includes social, mobile radio and video ads that will run statewide and highlight New York’s infrastructure crisis.  You can watch “Tipping Point” TV here and listen to “Tipping Point” Radio here.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan plans to shift the effort into high gear next month to make sure New York's lawmakers are aware of the Capital Region's infrastructure needs.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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