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Driscoll leaving Syracuse Common Council to become I-81 City Project Director

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Three-term Syracuse Common Council member Joe Driscoll has been appointed as the Interstate 81 City Project Director, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced Tuesday.

Driscoll will work closely with city government to manage the impact of the construction project. He will also work with the state department of transportation, acting as a liaison between the city and state.

The $2.25 billion dollar project will take approximately six years to complete. It involves redirecting high speed traffic around the city and creating a more community focused roadway in the middle of the city.

Driscoll has been a longtime advocate for the community grid and Walsh said that his involvement has made him deeply knowledgeable about the project.

“Joe Driscoll knows how to get things done," Walsh said in a statement. "He’s been a constructive voice regarding the community grid who helped make sure the facts about the alternatives reached more people. He is deeply knowledgeable about the 81 project and is respected across the city for his integrity. Joe is a true public servant who understands city government and our neighborhoods."

Driscoll was elected as a Syracuse Common Council member in 2018, representing Eastwood and some of the east side of Syracuse. He currently chairs the Public Works Committee, which oversees city departments and services, including water, roads, street lighting, and sanitation.

Driscoll had previously created a public information and advocacy program to address misinformation about the alternatives for the Interstate 81 project. He said that this new appointment is the perfect fit for him.

“This job is a calling for me," Driscoll said in a statement. "I feel like all of my experiences have led to this moment. I believe passionately in the potential of the community grid to positively transform Syracuse, to advance equity and make people’s lives better."

In addition to his responsibilities with the state transportation department and the city departments, Driscoll will be responsible for community engagement with the project as well as managing the work of the urban planning firm.

The new position is being funded by Syracuse's COVID-19 relief funds.

Driscoll will leave the Common Council for his new position. Councilors will appoint Driscoll's replacement.