infrastructure

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Poverty, infrastructure and economic development was the agenda Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon laid out during his first State of the County address Tuesday night. McMahon emphasized his accomplishments so far, like signing a new sales tax agreement with the city of Syracuse, and outlined his vision for the future.

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Central New York nonprofits, focused on human services, are calling for $100 million in funding for nonprofit infrastructure improvements, to be included in New York State’s budget. Some nonprofits are faced with the challenges of being located in older buildings.

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For today's latest in health segment, we look at ways to make services more accessible to seniors both in and out of the home.

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Ryan McMahon is the new Onondaga County executive. He took over the position from Joanie Mahoney. The 38-year-old Republican and father of three, who grew up in the city of Syracuse, will get the chance to show the public what his administration looks like before voters choose a candidate for the office next year. 

An early test for McMahon came in 2003. After working at an internship in Albany for an assemblyman, McMahon realized he wanted to run for office. The first time he did, in a race for a seat on the Syracuse Common Council, he lost.

Cynthia Nixon Twitter Page

It is a David and Goliath battle according to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, in regards to her primary race against Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 13. But Nixon said she would not be running if she could not win.

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Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for changes from the Federal Railroad Administration, after an elevated railroad’s sidewall collapsed in Syracuse last month. Schumer wants the FRA to hire more inspectors and change its policy on releasing inspection reports.

Schumer said even though no one was hurt, the sidewall collapse raises serious concerns regarding the safety of rail bridges.

“The number of collapses is going to increase as the bridges get older and the inspections get less frequent,” Schumer said.

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Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is calling for more infrastructure investment as she visits a range of different businesses and organizations in her district. She is also highlighting what she calls the positive impact the tax overhaul is having on the upstate economy.

Kris-Tech Wire in Rome manufactures copper wire and sells it to utilities and contractors. Graham Brodock, the owner and CEO, said their business is tied to the overall economy.

“So when the economy is strong, our copper prices go up, when the economy is weak, copper prices go down,” Brodock said.

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Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is calling for the release of full inspection reports completed this month, following the collapse of an elevated railroad sidewall in the city two weeks ago. This comes after a report from last year determined that section of the railroad to be in fair to good condition.

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Officials in Syracuse say they are still waiting for safety information from the federal government on all railroad bridges in the city. 

City of Syracuse

The 500 block of Clinton St. in Syracuse remains closed Friday after the sidewall of an elevated railroad track in downtown Syracuse collapsed Thursday afternoon. No one was injured, but the debris did knock over a streetlight. 

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined elected officials and activist groups in Syracuse Monday to protest the Republican tax overhaul passed by Congress in December. Demonstrators fear the tax cuts will be paid for by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is promoting legislation that would expand access to Pell grants for short-term job training programs. The federal subsidy for students to go to college currently can be used for 15-week job skills training. But Gillibrand said that does not help people who cannot go back to school full-time.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently allocated an additional $1.5 million in funding to improve roads in Syracuse. But it is money that state legislators are warning the city needs to spend now.

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A fiscal watchdog group is questioning the state’s century-old prevailing wage law for construction workers, saying it unnecessarily costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year in added expenses for big road, bridge and other projects.

The Empire Center, a fiscally conservative budget watchdog group, looked at the state’s constitutionally protected prevailing wage law. It requires contractors on public projects to pay their workers the amounts set in unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

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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.

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The city of Syracuse wants to spend $3 million less on road reconstruction than it did last year. That has some councilors worried about road conditions.

The city’s budget office said Syracuse has been posting deficits for a number of years now. That’s one reason why the mayor's administration asked the Common Council to approve $2.5 million to improve streets, rather than $5.5 million like they did last year.

The measure passed, but Councilor Nader Maroun said roads need to be more of a priority.     

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is encouraging central New Yorkers to come together regarding a plan for the future of Interstate 81 through Syracuse. The Democrat says he’s ready to work with President-elect Donald Trump on infrastructure, but he warns against a divided community.

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Airports could be getting some love with the current emphasis on infrastructure improvements. President-elect Donald Trump has often mentioned airports as a key part of infrastructure improvements he would like to see, and New York state continues investing in airports. And these are things local airport officials are happy to hear.

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Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey gave a very early endorsement to President-elect Donald Trump and Dadey was with Trump on election night. Dadey said he does not think it will be bad for the region for Trump to know that he has friends in Onondaga County.

After the election results were in, Dadey said Trump was statesmen-like and gracious when Trump came down with his family to address supporters at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

The city of Syracuse is expanding its strategy using open source data and technology to solve municipal problems.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner admits in the beginning she was a skeptic about using data and technology to try to fix nagging issues. But she’s sold on the concept now, after the city’s Innovation Team engaged in a number of initiatives.

City of Syracuse

The city of Syracuse is hoping a civic “hackathon” can make some sense of all the data it’s collected about its streets.

The city is partnering with AT&T and Syracuse University’s iSchool, to look for ways to use all the information to create new apps or analysis which can be used to help city government improve roads. Syracuse Information Technology officer Sam Edlestein says there is a lot of information out there.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is bringing more attention to water and infrastructure issues in the city of Syracuse. The city has partnered with local Café Kubal coffee shops as part of a national, “Imagine a Day Without Water” campaign with the nonprofit U.S. Water Alliance. It is meant to help drum up public support for water issues.  

Miner said Syracuse has an abundance of water it can market to grow the local economy.

“It’s a tremendous economic development resource, places like Café Kubal, distilleries, breweries, commercial laundry; it’s an asset,” Miner said.

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As warm weather returns to the region, the last things on people’s minds are snowplows. The plows in the city of Syracuse received an upgrade this past winter that allows for more accountability.

GPS navigation tracking is now equipped on Syracuse’s plows and the commissioner of the Department of Public Works, Pete O’Connor, said they can now relay the information it gathers to residents.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

The water in Syracuse schools has been tested for lead and 43 out of 45 schools were shown to have safe levels. Two schools each have a water source showing elevated lead levels that are not used for drinking.

The sinks in question were located in a janitor’s work closet at Delaware Elementary and a classroom laboratory at the Syracuse Academy of Science. One sink has been replaced and the other is scheduled to be replaced soon.

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In his 2016 budget presentation, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed investing an additional $100 million in a $200 million grants program that helps pay for water infrastructure projects. Despite the water infrastructure problems facing central New York, only two municipalities in the region are receiving funding in the first round of grants.

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Last week was a bad week for historic buildings in Syracuse.  First, the city’s Land Bank demolished what was known as the Gothic Cottage, a more than 150-year-old historic home on South Salina Street.  A day later, a portion of a more than century old four-story brick building on South Salina Street’s 300 block collapsed. The building was vacant, but created a gaping hole and a dangerous situation for anyone who ventured nearby. The city demolished the building over the weekend.

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Syracuse is on the leading edge of using technology to deal with ways to fix a crumbling infrastructure. It’s the work of the city’s so called I-team that is bringing new technology to central New York.
 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Amid innovations that address crumbling infrastructure, creation of new low income housing and plans to synchronize traffic light timing, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, in her State of the City address Thursday night, announced plans for new fire and police classes this year.  

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his State of the State message and $143 billion budget spending plan, which includes nearly $1 billion more for schools next year and ethics reforms.

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State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner are lobbying for more money from New York state to pay for infrastructure improvement. Standing in the shadow of the Evans Street Bridge in Syracuse that the state calls deficient, DiNapoli called on Albany to help localities fix bridges and roads that are falling apart. He said a recent report shows that local government spending on infrastructure has dropped dramatically.

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