Local officials highlight wins in massive infrastructure bill
As President Biden prepares to sign a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday, several central New York infrastructure stakeholders are ready to spend some of that money on local projects.
The biggest individual beneficiary of the infrastructure package locally is CENTRO, which will get $74 million over the next ten years. CEO Brian Schultz said it will allow the company to get the bus rapid transit program going.
"We’re gonna have to purchase more buses, bus shelters and landings,” said Schultz. “So there’s significant costs there, and this is going to defray that."
Another infrastructure winner locally is the Onondaga County Water Authority. OCWA Executive Director Jeff Brown said federal funds will help replace aging water lines, but also help pay for lead pipe replacements.
"We are going to be required to replace lead pipes throughout the United States,” Brown said. “This bill gives us 15-billion toward the expected 60-billion that it’s going to cost to do that."
The bill will also pay for infrastructure projects at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport to meet growing commercial and cargo transportation needs, as well as $24 billion for roads and bridges in New York State. CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson said these are all things the business community has been clamoring for.
"If you read the national headlines you’d think that somehow this investment is controversial. It is not,” Simpson said. “In every single meeting I have with elected and business leaders, the things in this bill are the things we have been asking for, in some cases, for decades."
The legislation also funnels billions to expanding broadband access, as well as passenger and freight rail projects. See the breakdown of infrastructure spending here.