LI Coalition: Fix Our Roads and Bridges

Adina Genn

March 18, 2022

Originally published in Long Island Business News on March 18, 2022.

A coalition of Long Island leaders have a message for Albany: Fix the region’s roads and bridges.

These local leaders point to New York State Department of Transportation data, which revealed that pavement on Long Island are now rated “fair or poor.”

And they say this disrepair is directly costing New Yorkers time and money, with the average annual extra cost of car repair and lost productivity on Long Island at $3,192 according to a recent report.

“The people living on Long Island really need their roads to be repaired and Albany finally has a chance to deliver,” Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association, said in a statement.

The coalition – labor leaders, contractors, elected officials and more – are urging lawmakers to match the unprecedented bipartisan federal Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act funding and increase the state share of funding in the New York State Department of Transportation capital program to repair the rapidly deteriorating state bridges and highways.

Rebuild New York Now and more than 20 partners in construction and labor across the state sent a letter to  lawmakers this week calling for action. And while elected officials support the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill, Long Islanders say more support is needed to grow the NYSDOT capital program.

“The contractors I work with and represent on Long Island stand at the ready to work and repair our failing infrastructure, but we need our leaders at the state capitol to green light this important investment,” he  said.  “The governor and state lawmakers finally have a chance to bring real economic development back to New York State. This is not just about jobs, but it’s also about making roads safer and doing what’s right for all New Yorkers.”

“It’s no secret that Long Island roads are crumbling; there is an immediate need for them to be repaired or replaced,”  Billy Haugland Jr., co-president of Haugland Group, said in a statement.

“The Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, championed by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Representatives Rice, Suozzi, Garbarino and our Congressional Delegation of New York, provides an unprecedented and significant step toward reversing the rapid decline in condition of Long Island’s roads and bridges,” he added. “This bill is a great start, but more needs to be done to grow the NYSDOT capital program. New York has a historic reputation of leading innovation and growth; this is a tremendous opportunity for New Yorkers to blaze a path forward rather than watch our infrastructure further deteriorate. Investing in this program will make local infrastructure safer, save New Yorkers money and foster economic growth through the creation of jobs on Long Island and throughout New York State.”

On Long Island, many state lawmakers agree.

“Infrastructure spending is where the rubber meets the road in the State budget, and I’ve fought hard to make sure that we’re investing what’s needed to finally fix our roads, rails and bridges across Long Island,” State Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D- Great Neck) said in a statement. “As budget negotiations reach the final hours, I’m grateful for the advocacy of Rebuild New York Now and the Long Island Contractors Association to make sure everyone knows just how important it is that we make these vital investments.”

“I thank LICA and Rebuild NY Now for standing up for our motorists and our workers to ensure that we rebuild – not simply patch – Long Island’s unacceptable and unsafe roads. All of us travel on the same roads as our residents and we know they deserve better,” State Senator Mario Mattera (R-St. James), said in a statement.  “That is why we will all continue to fight to ensure that Long Island receives its fair share of state infrastructure funding.  Our hardworking men and women of labor are ready, our drivers are waiting and we stand united in calling on Albany to deliver the funds.”

 “This is a tremendous opportunity that we all have at the state level and at all levels of government,” Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) said in a statement. “The need is tremendous, and it is urgent. We have the fine men and women from labor ready to get to work.”

“I grew up on Long Island, am raising my family here and cannot think of a time when our roads were in a worse condition,” State Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) said in a statement. “The deplorable state of our infrastructure is costing Long Islanders thousands of dollars in car repairs and have made our commutes less safe. The time to fix our roads is now. We have the state and federal funding available, and the legislature must prioritize this money to invest in our roads, bridges and infrastructure.”