Hundreds of millions of dollars are needed the truly fix up the roads, water systems and other infrastructure problems in Syracuse. Mayor Miner and others renewed that call to New York State on Thursday by visiting Oak Street, where a 6 foot wide section of the road hole caved in earlier in week. The cave in was just one the latest examples of how the aging backbone of the city is in need of immediate attention.
"I have been joined numerous times with the folks behind me to talk about the important of infrastructure for our community,our economic, social and cultural development. This is a time to remind people that it is not just what we think is collapsing, but now we are entering a new phase in our infrastructure where we can not anticipate what is collapsing."
Mayor Miner points out that the problems are legion,as well as persistent. The aging water systems alongside sewer collapses, joint and water main leaks, and disintegrating road beds has caused 158 cave-in's last year and a reported 88 cave-in's this year with 28 still in need of fixing.
Mike Elmendorf President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State Builders and Contractors agrees that the needs are outpacing investments. Elmendorf encourages New York State to show their support in fixing the failing infrastructure now by increasing their funding and dealing with the expected cost that the state comptroller estimated of $175 billion in transportation and $75 billion in environmental infrastructure needs over the course of the next 20 years.
Miner has felt that potential hit - losing out economically for the want of dollars to fix the city's infrastructure.
" I have fielded calls from people downtown who have said 'I have had 3 water main breaks in my business in the past month. I am starting to get concerned if I have to shut down my business fairly regularly due to water main breaks then I am not going to be here. My lease is up in 2-years, what can you tell me?'"
Miner is joining with contractors groups to lobby the state legislatures for more help, as well as the US Senate environment and public works committee. They're also hoping for more help in the highway bill now under discussion. In the meantime Miner has to dip into empty pockets to fix cave-ins on Oak street and elsewhere around the city