Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and White House Infrastructure Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President Mitch Landrieu visited Syracuse for a briefing led by Mayor Ben Walsh, local leaders, and stakeholders to support the ongoing community-led effort concerning the transformation of Syracuse’s I-81. Gillibrand and Landrieu highlighted the historic funding coming to New York through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes billions for the state’s roads, bridges, airports, and water infrastructure. Gillibrand also announced her support for Syracuse’s application for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program.
Gillibrand and Landrieu were also joined by Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens, State Senator Rachel May, State Senator John Mannion, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, President and CEO of the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity Robert Simpson, Business Manager for IBEW Local 43 Alan Marzullo, and President of the Urban Jobs Task Force Deka Dancil.
“The construction of highways like I-81 devastated communities of color across our state and nation,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It’s time to right the wrongs of the past and transform I-81 to meet the needs of the people of Syracuse. Today, I’m honored to be hosting White House Infrastructure Coordinator Landrieu to share with him the community grid plan for the I-81 Viaduct. I’m also proud to be announcing my support for Syracuse’s application for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which would provide federal funding to help Syracuse establish the community grid, revitalize its downtown, and connect workers to good-paying jobs. I am committed to seeing this project through and will keep fighting to bring federal resources to Central New York to rejuvenate our neighborhoods and create economic opportunity for all.”
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver transformational change to New York, and this Administration is committed to supporting projects like the I-81 community grid in Syracuse, which is going to reconnect communities and create good-paying jobs,” White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership across local and state government to create economic opportunity and advance equity.”
“Syracuse is the site of one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in the nation. Removal of the Interstate 81 viaduct will improve transportation and create positive transformation for our entire region. Through Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to make “Build Local-Hire Local” provisions part of federal law, we can also make sure the project generates jobs and good careers for local residents, especially, women, minorities and veterans,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “The Biden Administration is making historic investments in infrastructure. We are honored to have White House Infrastructure Coordinator Landrieu here in Syracuse to share our workforce development progress and show him how we are preparing for transformational investments in infrastructure in our region.”
Mayor Palmieri said, “Utica and Syracuse were connected by the Erie Canal, but were also populated by the largely immigrant workforce that built it. Similarly, a rebuilt I-81 will not just be a modern roadway, but a bridge to prosperity for the workers that need it most. I’d like to thank Mayor Walsh, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and Advisor Landrieu for inviting me to be a part of this exciting day and I look forward to seeing them all as Utica rebuilds in similar fashion.”
“IBEW Local 43 working with The Central and Northern NY Building Trades Council is proud to partner with the Syracuse Build program,” said Alan Marzullo, business manager and financial secretary for IBEW Local 43. “The foundation this program provides graduates will enable them to access well-paying union construction jobs. The skills they’ve developed will position them well as they pursue opportunities on the immediate horizon, and those well into the future. We look forward to working with Mayor Walsh, Center State CEO, and all partners to connect more residence to the program and careers in Central New York.”
Following her Syracuse visit with Secretary Buttigieg in 2021, Senator Gillibrand delivered big for New York, with at least $27 billion coming to New York from the once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill. The package included $1 billion to help reconnect communities in addition to key provisions from Senator Gillibrand’s Build Local, Hire Local Act, which was inspired by the legacy of I-81. This bold reform will help communities to right the wrongs of the past and prioritizes training and hiring local workers for projects that will directly impact their community. Additionally, Gillibrand won $300,000 in FY22 for I-81 construction job training to help young people who are not enrolled in school or participating in the formal labor market get the support and training they need to start careers in construction, specifically working to uplift the community through the I-81 redevelopment project.