Rebuild NY Now Wants Parity Funding For Upstate Roads, Bridges | WAMC

Rebuild NY Now Wants Parity Funding For Upstate Roads, Bridges

Nov 17, 2015

Officials gather at the Albany County Office Building
Credit WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Experts agree that our nation’s infrastructure is aging into often unsafe conditions. A group including several local elected officials known as the Rebuild New York Now coalition today called on the state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo to address the issue in the next budget when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Rebuild NY Now is a partnership of supporters seeking to raise awareness about the issues impacting New York’s infrastructure.  They've got an eye on the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.

The governor recently promised to invest $8.3 billion in state funds in the MTA's five-year capital plan, a multi-billion dollar initiative to overhaul and upgrade the aging transit system.

So the Rebuild NY now coalition wants balance in funding plans. But it isn't really about upstate vs downstate, according to Democratic State Senator Neil Breslin of Albany.     "I've been fighting people for years that we live in one state, New York. But when see the MTA, the big bridge, the Tappan Zee, and other projects in the metropolitan area, we look at our roads and bridges as we drive to work and home from work. We need that help. I won't call it parity, but hopefully it'll be close to parity."

Breslin was joined by several legislators and two mayors. Outgoing Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia and Albany's Kathy Sheehan.  "This is an exciting time for our region, and a healthy infrastructure is going to be essential for us to be able to capture the growth and vitality that we know we can have when we unleash the potential of this region. So we have road projects that are ready to go, we know where we need to make these investments across this region. It's not just about the city of Albany, but it’s about growing our entire region and really fulfilling the potential and the promise and the dream that Governor Cuomo has talked about in really revitalizing our upstate economy, We know what we need to do, we wanna be strategic in doing it, and this is about ensuring that we have parity, that we have enough funds here in upstate, for us to be able to realize and grow the potential of this wonderful region and economy."

Coalition members say their goals include ensuring that upstate is safe, that jobs are created and that residents are provided with good roads and bridges.  Assemblyman John McDonald represents Albany:  "The upstate legislators are united. We're working together. And our main unifying source that started last year with the support of Speaker Heastie, was transportation. That's what started it, that, I think, will carry us through this coming session."

The Cuomo Administration did not immediately return a call for comment. The budget is due April 1.