Senate Bill Clears Construction Road Block

ALBANY, 05/05/10 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) says legislation (senate bill 7686) approved by the state senate today, would authorize payment for capital construction projects, putting people back to work and clearing the way for vital infrastructure work.

“I have voted against every budget extender offered by the governor because they have been incomplete,” said Senator Seward.  “I have also pushed for amendments that would allow funds to flow for road construction, SUNY capital projects and other previously approved projects.  Now, finally, my senate colleagues have seen the light and joined me.”

Senate bill 7686/assembly bill 10926 did not include any new spending; money for the projects already exists, but Governor Paterson made a unilateral decision to suspend payments until a new budget is in place.  Since then, contractors have laid off hundreds of workers and shut down important transportation projects around the state.  Important economic development ventures at the State University at New York (SUNY) campuses have also been put on hold as well as a host of environmental conservation, water and sewer projects across the state.

“It is peak construction season, yet many work zones are deserted and workers are on the unemployment line.  The situation cannot continue.  Families are being hurt, and our upstate infrastructure is suffering,” Seward continued.

An estimated 5,000 construction jobs have been lost across the state due to the budget impasse, with that number increasing every day.  Senator Seward recently joined with Assemblyman Pete Lopez and Mark Galasso, president of Lancaster Development Inc., to launch the “No Work Here” campaign, highlighting the loss of construction jobs.

“This measure is a step in the right direction, but the real solution is to move forward now with open, bipartisan conference committees and complete work on a state budget that delivers commonsense spending cuts, property tax relief and business incentives that will stimulate job growth,” Seward concluded.

The bill has been sent to the assembly and is pending in committee.