Rochester Chamber, UNICON Call for Infrastructure Funding
Business, Labor, Government Share Concerns with Committee Chairs
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and UNICON, Unions and Businesses United in Construction, joined forces with business, labor, and government leaders to call upon New York State to increase its investment in and attention to critical infrastructure. The group shared with New York State Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Robach and New York State Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman David Gantt its concerns about upstate/downstate parity and regional Department of Transportation equality as well as regional and municipal infrastructure priorities.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “Safe, reliable transportation infrastructure is essential to a thriving economy and business success. Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce stands with community leaders in the call for increased state infrastructure investment and the need for parity in upstate and downstate funding. Increasing state infrastructure funding will allow the Greater Rochester region to make the necessary investments to ensure its roads and bridges are properly maintained. The time for action is now. Investing in our region’s infrastructure needs is good for our community, and is good for business.”
UNICON Executive Director Joe Leone said, “On January 13, 2016, Governor Cuomo called for increased funding to the MTA and DOT capital budgets, proposing a five-year strategy and stating that we would be achieving parity with downstate. Certainly these are welcome words, and we applaud the governor and the legislature for their focus on infrastructure and the critical need for long term planning and funding. The Executive budget proposal outlines a five-year $22.1 billion DOT capital budget and a five-year $26.1 billion MTA budget. We believe this proposal does not achieve parity and call on our elected officials to include increased DOT funding in their final budget proposals. Additionally, in the current two-year DOT budget, our region receives a disproportionately low allocation and we seek to work with the Department of Transportation and others to rectify this inequality.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, “Infrastructure funding is critical to our mission to create more jobs, vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities. With the state’s help, we have been able to undertake projects crucial to the success of downtown and our neighborhoods. We are hopeful that once state budget negotiations conclude, essential Rochester projects will be funded.”
Four key transportation priority projects discussed during the meeting include the 390/490/Lyell Avenue interchange project, Mount Read Boulevard, NYS Route 77, and NYS Route 96.
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, “We are currently making meaningful progress on infrastructure projects here in Monroe County using our local tax dollars, but there is more work to be done. In order to continue making necessary infrastructure improvements, the state must reinstate funding to parity between the Metropolitan Transport Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation. Investing in infrastructure is not only about repairing roads and bridges, but it also means investing in our jobs, community, and future.”
Others attending the meeting included Senator Rich Funke, New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Assemblyman Harry Bronson, Assemblyman Mark Johns, BVR Construction President Chip Stephenson, and Rochester Building Trades President David Young.