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Syracuse spending $3 million less on road reconstruction this year

Tom Magnarelli
A sinkhole on the 1000 block of Oak Street in Syracuse in 2015.

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.     

“Economic development has a lot to do with infrastructure and our city streets are really in need of work,” Maroun said. "I would hope that when the capital plan becomes available that it will reflect additional monies for economic growth and for infrastructure and the comfort of people who live in the city, having to drive over these terrible potholes and roads that are in such disrepair."

Maroun and Department of Public Works Commissioner Pete O’Connor said they would like to see funds from other capital improvement projects reassigned to roads.   

“It’s a big difference," O'Connor said. "Hopefully we will get more. If there is a little money being spent somewhere else, if we could, lack of a better words, steal it or slide it over, we would rather use it for recon. Right now I have a plan to spend all $2.5 million. A lot of times that list of the streets, we'll get them installed for less than what we anticipated. Sometimes there is enough money left over to add a few more areas of the city. We have that five year plan. If we didn't get it done this year, it would be next year. I do think that we will probably get a little bit more money.”

O’Connor said DPW has a five year plan that includes a list of the most needed street improvements. The city’s innovation team has focused on infrastructure issues and helped develop the list.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.