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New York Works program to fix roads and create jobs

The budget for fixing New York State roads and bridges has almost doubled this year, thanks to the transportation portion of the New York Works program.  The $1.2 billion program will repair roads and bridges, but it is also intended to function as a jobs and economic development engine.

State Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald says the extra $1.2 billion that will be spent on road work this year will create thousands of jobs, many of which will be for projects that would ultimately need to be done anyway.      

 "Many of the projects were projects that we would have probably done in 2014 and 2015, and we moved them up," said McDonald.

McDonald adds that one of the keys to the program is that it applies to projects that can begin right now. That means a lot of paving and bridge deck repair. Stephen Compagni, owner of Economy Paving in Cortland says this would be a tremendous help to business owners like him.

Compagni says business was down 25 percent in 2010, and an extra 15 percent on top of that last year so he's thankful for the New York Works program.

"I typically employee 200, this will generate an extra hundred jobs just for my organization," he said.

He agrees that not having to wait on jobs is crucial.

"The iron can sit and wait.  It's a little rusty but that doesn't hurt its effectiveness too much.  People can't."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.