WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSYR-TV) – Infrastructure and transportation leaders from around Central New York joined Syracuse-area Congressman John Katko on Friday for an “Infrastructure Round Table” held on Zoom.
The areas represented were numerous: Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne Counties. The topics addressed were even more numerous: water pipes, water ways, roads, bridges, airports and broadband internet.
The call again highlighted the disunity the community has on which format to replace Interstate 81 through Downtown Syracuse.
Katko says a community grid of local roads will be included, but doesn’t want to rule out a tall iconic bridge as way to keep high-speed traffic in the same path as the current I-81 viaduct. He wants to host another topical town hall before the State DOT opens up the 81 Project’s public comment period.
“We had a discussion for 45 minutes or so and it was all about physical infrastructure,” Katko said.
“This is a team effort and I couldn’t give a damn if you’re a Republican or Democrat. I just care we’re trying to get the job done. There should be no more bipartisan issue than infrastructure. Your input is valuable to me and I’m proud to say none of it was something hadn’t heard before,” Katko told the group.
Katko has been working with the Problem Solvers Caucus to develop an infrastructure spending bill that will rival President Biden’s Jobs and Infrastructure Plan, which he thinks is too expensive and spends too much on non-infrastructure related pet projects.
“That’s why the bill that I outline and the bill I’m helping to try and write is for physical infrastructure. If we do it right, it will probably have close to double what President Biden’s $2.5 trillion infrastructure plan had, that had everything but infrastructure in it,” said Katko.
Participants of the call included: City of Syracuse Chief Operations Officer Corey Driscoll Dunham, Onondaga County DOT Commissioner Marty Voss, CenterState CEO CEO Rob Simpson, Cayuga County Chairwoman Aileen McNabb-Coleman along with representatives from Oswego and Wayne Counties.