REP. JOHN KATKO, ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM ACROSS NY-24, AND CNY BUSINESS, LABOR & TRANSPORTATION LEADERS HIGHLIGHT HIGHWAY BILL SUCCESSES FOR CENTRAL NEW YORK IN SYRACUSE TODAY
SYRACUSE, NY – Standing before the aging I-81 viaduct in Syracuse this morning, U.S. Rep. John Katko was joined by a bipartisan group of elected officials from Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne, and Oswego counties, as well as local business, transportation, and labor organizations, for a press conference to the discuss yesterday’s passage of the bipartisan conference report for H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This long-term, multi-year highway bill passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate yesterday and is now headed to the President’s desk for signature.
Representative Katko shared significant wins for all of Central New York in the bill stating, “I am proud to have been able to take a leadership role on this bipartisan, long-term bill. I saw legislation through Committee, to the House floor, through Conference – and we ended up with a quality product that is good for Central New York. This fully offset, five year bill provides the stability and funding that Central New York needs to plan for the long-term. I’m grateful for the support of the local business, transportation, and labor organizations that are here with me today, and for their recognition of the important role that this long-term bill will play in improving our community’s infrastructure.”
Katko, who served as a negotiator of the bill as a member of the House and Senate Conference committee on the legislation, emphasized the importance of breaking through gridlock in Washington, noting “I recognize that there is gridlock in Washington, and that the institution as a whole may not be working as it should, but I will continue to work – as I did to produce this bill – every day in Washington to produce bipartisan results for Central New York.”
Katko was joined today by New York State Assemblyman Bob Oaks (130th District), Chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature Ryan McMahon, Oswego Mayor-elect Billy Barlow, Oswego County Clerk Mike Backus, Cayuga County Legislator Tim Lattimore, Auburn City Clerk Chuck Mason, Auburn City Councilor-elect James Giannettino, representatives for New York State Senators John A. DeFrancisco (50th District) and David J. Valesky (53rd District), as well as representatives from the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, Centro, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), the Cayuga County Economic Development Agency, United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267, Laborers’ Local 633, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Central New York Building and Construction Trades Council, and IBEW Local 43.
These individual and organizations, as well as a number of others who were unable to attend today, praised the bipartisan passage of the highway bill and applauded Representative Katko’s efforts in Congress to ensure that, among other things, I-81 was designated as a high priority corridor, and his work to ensure that funding remained secure for Centro.
“We are very, very pleased the House – Senate Conference Committee has agreed to preserve the high density state funding formula,” said Rick Lee, Deputy Executive Director of Centro. “Had this formula not been preserved, Centro would lose $2 million per year for six years for a total of $12 million. On behalf of all of our customers and our communities, I would like to thank Congressman Katko for his tireless effort to ensure these drastic funding cuts would not be included in the final transportation bill. His leadership on the House –Senate Conference Committee was critical to his success in preserving this funding for all Central New York communities. Congressman Katko has been a longstanding leader in support of public transportation in our community, and our community is a better place for his effort. Mr. Katko knows how devastating these cuts would have been to the people who rely on Centro to go to work, to provide for their families, visit retail stores and businesses, and gain access to healthcare. He also understands Centro is the sole source of transportation for many persons with disabilities who live in Central New York. Strong local economies are built on strong public transportation systems and thanks to Mr. Katko’s leadership we are moving in the right direction.”
Greg Lancette, Business Manager of United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267 and President of Central and Northern New York Building and Construction Trades Council stated, “The passage of the FAST Act ensures a level of stability for the hard working men and women that build and maintain our interstate system. Interstate 81 in New York receiving ‘High Priority Corridor’ status is a direct result of Congressman Katko's determination to fight for Central and Northern New York.”
MACNY Vice President of Communications & Government Relations Karyn Burns stated this morning, “I am pleased to be here today with many of my Central New York colleagues and Congressman Katko talking about this very important piece of legislation impacting our State’s infrastructure. MACNY has long maintained that in order for the manufacturing sector to thrive, government needs to support infrastructure investments that will enable us to remain successful in serving global markets. Infrastructure investments will assist in the transportation of U.S. goods and products, allowing the manufacturers to be truly competitive. On behalf of MACNY and the statewide manufacturing community, I thank Congressman Katko for his leadership on this critical issue and for working with his colleagues to ensure this highway bill was successfully addressed and passed into law.”
"This bill offers a measure of certainty and predictability needed as Central New York plans for its future,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. "Making I-81 a high priority corridor stands to streamline the approval and funding process for this important community project. Additionally, this bill increases funding for mass transit – including critical support needed for CENTRO, and restores funding to the Ex-Im Bank, which will enable more businesses, especially smaller firms, to export their products and services. I am grateful to Representative Katko and Senator Schumer for their leadership and support of transit and infrastructure investments for Central New York.”
“We are grateful for Congressman Katko and the work he has done with his colleagues to get the Highway Bill passed,” expressed Cayuga Count Economic Development Agency Executive Director Andrew Fish. “There are so many important provisions in this bill that will help economic development thrive in Central New York. From expanding the funding options for critical public transit like Centro, to ensuring that we can continue to invest in infrastructure to create efficiencies in freight handling and safety. Congressman Katko has once again represented the interests of Central New York well and I am grateful for his leadership.”
James D’Agostino, Director of the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), stated, “The passage of a multiyear transportation bill allows the agencies responsible for the maintenance, planning, and construction of our transportation infrastructure the ability to reasonably plan for their projects and needs with a knowledge of the available federal funding. The dire condition of much of our transportation infrastructure warrants immediate attention and bills such as this one allow us to provide that. The SMTC recently completed our Long Range Transportation Plan (2050) in conjunction with all our member agencies in the area and the needs and priorities identified within can now be moved forward towards meeting our goals and objectives as a community.”
“We appreciate Congressman John Katko’s leadership in getting a long term highway bill through the House of Representatives,” said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “His bipartisan collaboration with Senator Chuck Schumer and the rest of the conference committee resulted in restoring critical funding to Centro and once again demonstrated Congressman Katko’s commitment to work with everyone in order to help his constituents.”
“On behalf of the residents of the City of Oswego, I am both thankful and grateful for Congressman Katko’s hard work to ensure the passage of the FAST Act,” said City of Oswego Mayor-elect Billy Barlow. “Addressing and investing in our infrastructure is essential to our long term economic health and vitality as a region and I look forward to the benefits it will reap for the City of Oswego.”
New York State Assemblyman Bob Oaks (130th District), who represents Wayne County and portions of both Oswego and Cayuga Counties, said “This important legislation gives us the flexibility to help invest in Central New York’s aging infrastructure – including the many rural road and bridges that desperately need repair in Wayne, Oswego, and Cayuga counties.”
Congressman John Katko serves as a member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and was selected to serve as a conferee on the House and Senate Conference Committee on the bill. Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.