Following two years of tireless advocacy, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood in front of Route 33 to announce the inclusion of her Build Local, Hire Local program in the recently-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. These landmark provisions will make bold reforms to American infrastructure investment to improve wage protections and labor standards, train a new generation of workers, put low-income communities first, and help end decades of failed federal policies that have isolated communities of color. As New York State rebuilds from the pandemic and works toward revitalizing its aging infrastructure, Gillibrand’s Build Local, Hire Local program would allow the federal government, states, localities, labor, and community organizations to work together to offer training and targeted hiring programs that connect local workers — especially in disadvantaged and underrepresented communities that are often excluded from these opportunities — to construction jobs created by DOT-funded infrastructure projects.
“Too much of our nation’s infrastructure is in disrepair, and we urgently need to get to work rebuilding it. But when we do, we also need to make sure we’re not repeating our government’s mistakes from last century and building barriers between marginalized communities and everyone else,” said Senator Gillibrand. “That’s why I fought for my Build Local, Hire Local Act to be included in the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package – legislation that was inspired by highways like Route 33 and was written to undo injustices caused by decades of disinvestment and exclusionary federal policies. This provision will make sure that when we get to work on rebuilding our nation’s highways and other infrastructure, we rebuild the communities that have been left behind and hire from those same communities to get the job done, with better wage protections and better working conditions. The future of American infrastructure means connecting more Americans to economic opportunity and putting underserved communities first.”
“This federal infrastructure package is critical to training and employing our next generation of organized labor to address current and future infrastructure needs. A great example will be helping us restore Olmsted’s vision for Humboldt Parkway and righting other historic wrongs throughout the City of Buffalo, New York State and the country,” commented Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.
“Today we take a momentous step toward rebuilding the expressway in a way that will reunite our neighborhoods and our people. Thanks to those who have worked so hard to begin building and reconnecting the City of Buffalo,” said Board President Stephanie Barber Geter of the Restore Our Community Coalition.
“Thank you to Senator Gillibrand for including the Build Local, Hire Local initiative in the bipartisan infrastructure package that was passed by the U.S. Senate,” said State Senator Tim Kennedy. “Her tireless advocacy and dedication to this program will ensure all members of our community benefit from this unprecedented investment by the federal government.”
Like many highways across New York, Route 33 was built to connect communities and economies, but instead it segregated marginalized communities, limited their economic opportunities, and enclosed them in highly polluted areas. Gillibrand’s Build Local, Hire Local was inspired by the legacy of I-81 in Syracuse, whose construction segregated marginalized communities and limited their economic opportunities. The inclusion of Build Local, Hire Local in the bipartisan infrastructure package comes on the heels of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s visit to the I-81 viaduct at the invitation of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer.