U.S. Represenative Dan Maffei says Central New York has the potential to transform into a bustling hub for global commerce… but that’s reliant upon one thing, a revamped infrastructure. Maffei discussed his ideas to revitalize and invest in infrastructure projects across the region Monday. He was joined by local elected officials from cities and counties in the region. Syracuse Common Councilor Khalid Bey says these kinds of investments are crucial in order for the region to stay competitive.
“Unfortunately for too long we have not made the best investment in our infrastructure…and have at times taken it for granted. Our roads, our bridges, our water systems, have struggled without adequate resources, which make it much harder for businesses to come to Syracuse and create the types of jobs we so desperately need.”
Decaying water systems, faulty roads and bridges, and broadband expansion are all issues Maffei acknowledges as needing to be fixed. Hancock Airport is something he thinks deserves even more attention.
“I’ve been focusing on the airport because dollar for dollar the airport is where you get the biggest bang for your buck in the short-term. We need to make sure we have more trips to cities like Chicago, Boston, New York City, even Washington because that is the way you connect with the rest of the country.”
To fund these projects, Maffei proposes an Infrastructure Development Bank. The public bank would fund investments both nationally and locally. He also plans to put an end to contractors running over budget and missing deadlines. The Contractor Penalty Box would restrict contractors from competing on federal projects for a period of time if they incur extra costs or delays. Other services that could benefit from these investments include high speed rail, shipping ports and energy smart grid.
PLAN SLAMMED ON ARRIVAL BY GOP OPPONENT
Maffei's opponent in November's congressional election is calling the plan election year politics. Republican John Katko criticizes spending on high speed rail or any other projects localities are not already working on. He also likens Maffei's infrastructure plan to the 2009 Federal Stimulus plan that he says brought very little investment back to the region.