Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the recently approved state budget took an important first step towards fixing water systems across the state.
Miner was happy to see a $200 million fund earmarked for fixing water and sewer systems in the spending plan. Getting state support to fix aging infrastructure, is something she, other municipalities and a statewide coalition have been vocal about for months.
“Without advocacy, without people standing up and talking about it, I don’t think it would have happened.”
Miner says it’s unclear whether Syracuse will get any of the cash. There will be an application process through the state Environmental Facilities Corporation. Syracuse’s more than century-old water and sewer system are in bad shape with more than 100 water main breaks this winter alone.
"It’ll be part of parks grants and there will be an application process. So we have to look at the rules and regulations, see how it finally shakes out to see if it makes sense with what our needs and how we can go forward.”
Miner joined the Rebuild New York Now coalition and has testified before the U.S. Senate, asking for help for cities to fix broken water and road systems.
“Having worked on budgets myself, I can tell you that unless you advocate for something, then it doesn’t get put in. So it was the advocacy of a number of officials, both environmentalists, statewide officials, local officials, and through the leadership of Sen. DeFrancisco as well,” said Miner. Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He agrees with Miner on the necessity of infrastructure spending and plays an important role in the budget process in Albany.
Miner says she will continue to be a voice putting the spotlight on crumbling infrastructure.
"Whether it’s water infrastructure, or highways and bridges and roads, I think you’re going to continue to see me talk about it. I was just invited to the Clinton Global Initiative to talk about infrastructure in June, and I’m going to continue to talk about it every opportunity I have.”