Long Island’s Rebuild NY Now Rally

The short changing of Long Island’s roads and bridges by proposed New York State budget sparks protest rally as gaping potholes threaten the drivers seeking to attend

As destructive potholes explode across Long Island, underscoring the wretched condition of many of our local roads, the Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA) is calling for the public to contact their elected officials and demand that the proposed state budget be amended to include far more dollars for the region’s roads and bridges. 

2-23-15LICA-9174.jpgDuring a recent rally and news conference called by Rebuild NY Now that underscored the crisis and Albany’s indifferent response to the state of our roads and bridges LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst (center) was joined by George Woodson, Riverhead Highway Superintendent, (extreme left), Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (left of Herbst) (right-left-to-right of Herbst) Assemblyman Charles Lavine, Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy, Jr. State Senator Jack Martins, Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, and (seventh from right) State Senator Phil Boyle.

Herbst, referring to a state budget with a $5 billion dollar surplus, explained, “It is now clear to everyone that we are an Albany afterthought. Nearly 3 million people have been told, `Son, you are on your own.’ With billions in available revenue, the state is offering to fund a parking garage to relieve congestion. There are no plans in this budget to address the strategic issues that range from storm-proofing key roadways and bridges to assisting such key development efforts as the Nassau and Ronkonkoma Hubs.”

The rally was a part of the statewide campaign which seeks to promote investment in New York’s extensive road and bridge system now in need of significant repair.

Herbst reminded the construction trades that nearly 62% of Nassau County bridges are considered functionally obsolete and 51% suffer the same fate in Suffolk County.

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos observed that the current cost of borrowing money is so low for governments New York should be prepared to make a $100 billion investment in infrastructure. “This is the time to invest in our future because not only are the interest rates at historic lows but because every dollar we invest in infrastructure creates an enormous rate of return in protecting our economy, our region and our very quality of life.”

His colleague, Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy, told the rally, “When it comes to trying to attract capital to a region, people want to see the ability to easily transport people and goods on an efficient road network. It’s time to step up our game and Albany needs to hear our message loud and clear.”

Chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, Senator Jack Martin said, “Long Island is going to get its fair share because we know every billion dollars we are able to return to our region generates 20,000 local jobs.”

Senator Boyle agreed and cautioned, “The current state proposal to spend just $150 million on Long Island on a parking complex is unacceptable and I can tell you now that there won’t be an on-time state budget until the island gets its fair share.”   

New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine told the gathering, “Your voices are important so that, together, we can direct the funds to Long Island that will ensure our roads that are safe while providing us with the means to grow our economy.”

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro reminded fellow Long islanders “We need to get serious about investing in our roadways. We need to get serious about investing in our infrastructure. How we prioritize where we spend our tax dollars needs to change.”

Offering a budget analysis being faced by communities throughout the island, Southampton Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor revealed he has a $50 million need to fix and repair his roads but only has a fraction of the dollars to address the crisis. “You are going to have to speak up because Albany is a long way from here and the Governor seems to forget we are part of the state.”

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