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Politics and Government

Group pushing for more infrastructure funding in state budget

Ellen Abbott

As negotiations on the state budget head toward an April 1, advocates for more spending on infrastructure are keeping up the pressure on lawmakers in Albany.

Rebuild NY Now, a statewide advocacy group, is calling on state leaders to make sure infrastructure gets its due in the state budget. Infrastructure spending is a part of the current budget discussin, with $2 billion proposed in the governor’s budget and an extra $5 billion in the GOP Senate proposal.

During a Rebuild NY Now event in Syracuse, Mayor Stephanie Miner, who has long been a loud voice pushing for spending on roads and water systems, admits that it’s nice to see the issue is finally getting traction.

“It used to be when I first started talking about this, people would roll their eyes and say, ‘mayor, you can’t put a ribbon on infrastructure.’ They don’t say the anymore. And people don’t say to me, ‘stop talking about infrastructure,’ people don’t say infrastructure isn’t sexy anymore. It’s what everybody is talking about,” Miner said.

The mayor says older communities like Syracuse can’t afford to wait on many critical projects to modernize infrastructure systems.

“Talk is cheap and infrastructure is not cheap. We need resources to be sure we can maintain and keep in a state of good repair and be prepared for the challenges the 21st century has for us.”

The state comptroller’s office has estimated that New York state needs to spend $40 billion to repair and upgrade the state’s aging drinking water systems alone.