LICA Testimony to the Joint Legislative Committee on Environmental Conservation (Jan. 27, 2021)

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Marc Herbst, Executive Director
Long Island Contractors’ Association, Inc.
New York State Joint Legislative Hearing on Environmental Conservation
Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Good morning, and thank you for taking the time to review my testimony today. My name is Marc Herbst, Executive Director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association.

The Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA) represents the interests of Long Island’s premier heavy construction industry, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and industry suppliers. Our focus is on the building and maintenance of infrastructure, something that has been critical to the rebuilding effort in New York over the past year. We focus on highways, roads, bridges, transit systems as well as utilities and other public works. Heavy construction on Long Island employs nearly 6,200 people and accounts
for another 16,700 indirect jobs, and our industry contributes $5.4 billion annually to the region’s economy.

Infrastructure and environmental conservation go hand in hand. As an industry, we stand with New York State and Governor Cuomo’s efforts to keep New York’s water clean, air safe, and land protected. With that goal in mind, I would like to voice my support in maintaining the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act at currently appropriated levels with no cuts or changes. This successful program has upgraded clean water infrastructure in the state and has created 17 good local jobs for every $1 million invested.

I also would like to lend my voice in supporting the adoption of the Environmental Bond Act. I understand that the bond act was pulled from the 2020 budget due to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, however, a bond act would protect our shorelines and communities, while creating a more resilient and robust infrastructure to protect against severe weather. In the long term, this initiative will protect our environment, create good construction jobs, and strengthen our infrastructure.

Speaking of infrastructure, on Long Island, there is a critical need to fund the
region’s sewer infrastructure to reduce harmful nitrogen levels. This should be a top priority to keep our water clean and safe.

I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo and the legislature for awarding the $439 million Bay Park Conveyance project in Nassau County, which is planned to begin this year. Additionally, there are multiple projects under design that may be expedited with additional funding. Those projects include:

  • Carlls River in West Babylon, Wyandanch, and North Babylon
  • Connetquot River in Oakdale
  • Forge River in Mastic/Shirley
  • Manhasset Business District
  • Patchogue River in Patchogue
  • Kings Park Business District
  • EPCAL development in Calverton
  • Westhampton Beach Downtown

Finally, I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo for making an informed and courageous decision in December to veto the controversial sand mining legislation. Not only will his actions preserve union jobs and protect the heavy construction industry, but his decision to require an additional 3-year study on the matter will also ensure our environment is protected.

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