Cooney: infrastructure funds must complement, not substitute

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Cooney

According to John Cooney, Jr., executive director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley Inc.

“We as an industry, I as an industry leader, must fight for New York State to maintain its level of obligation and effort,” Cooney told The Business Journal. “I believe Governor Hochul and our delegations to the Senate and Assembly in Westchester will come together and say ‘this is an opportunity to truly improve water, sewers, bridges, roads, transportation. in common and in order to be able to do so, we need to maintain the level of state effort.

The state’s executive budget for fiscal 2022 released by former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo included $ 190 billion for transportation, including transit, railways, airports, highways, bridges and tunnels.

It appears that federal action on infrastructure will result in New York receiving an additional $ 11.6 billion for highways, $ 1.9 billion for bridges, $ 9.8 billion for public transit, 2 , $ 6 billion for hydraulic infrastructure, $ 685 million for airports and more than $ 100 million for broadband. This is significantly more than the amounts allocated to neighboring Connecticut, which is expected to receive $ 3.5 billion for highways, $ 561 million for bridges, $ 1.3 billion for transit, $ 445 million for hydraulic infrastructure and $ 62 million for airports.

“The construction industry is extremely pleased with the passage of this bill,” said Cooney. “There is definitely a gestation period before we see the full impact of this. By the end of 2022 and certainly 2023, you will start to see and feel the increase in construction activity brought about by this bill. There might be an increase noted earlier, but most definitely at that point you will see and feel it. “

Cooney said that as repair and maintenance projects progress, people will see more bridges under construction than they ever have in the past and more roads will receive life cycle improvements designed to extend their lifespan rather than simply rewashing.

Cooney said that in addition to highways and bridges, water infrastructure would benefit from improved dams and upgraded water pipes, especially when lead contamination is a factor. Funds would also be available for the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles. He said funding for the long-awaited improvements to Interstate 684 in Westchester and New York State Route 17 in Orange County would likely come from the infrastructure package.

A June 2021 report from TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research organization, found that 6% of the pavement on New York state freeways is in poor condition and 6% of inter-highway bridges. -States of New York are in bad shape or structurally deficient. Both figures are twice the US average.

“Our members work in many areas across infrastructure. We have members who work in utilities, members who work in transit, highways, bridges, ”Cooney said. “The CIC helps members engage with authorities, counties and localities. We are working to engage with the leadership to work on the specifications and then prepare our members for the work that is going to be required. Many of our members are ready to work today and we may have new members who we will help put to work on this expanded program.

Cooney said the $ 13.5 billion federal funding alone for highways over the next five years represents a 41.7% increase over the past five years.

“These are dollars that will go to New York State to help fund the repair and expansion of necessary infrastructure,” Cooney said. “Our entrepreneurial members can see the forest for the trees and understand when you see this type of formula funding increasing that it is really targeted and will be spent on infrastructure. This is where it goes. It’s dedicated.

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