TROY, N.Y. – A New York assemblyman is working to propose a bond act that would allow the state of New York to borrow $2 billion for infrastructure maintenance.
The proposal is being written by Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz from Brooklyn. It would spread the money to each city to fix water systems, drainage, bridges and roads.
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia is in favor of the idea but believes the $2 billion dollar total is not enough. He said Troy has infrastructure problems that would require at least a billion dollars to fix.
"Just bridges alone was like $100 million," he said. "Dams they figured around $60 million. The water and sewer lines about $500 million, and again, this is just replacement. Now, we can go back and refill it, back fill it and repave it, you're talking, like I said, about a billion dollars plus probably."
Troy City Engineer Russ Reeves agrees with Rosamilia that it is extremely costly to repair Troy's problems because of the amount of infrastructure in the city. He said the city of Troy is 300 years old and some of its infrastructure has been around for 150 years.
He does not think, however, that the city would be presumptuous to ask for a billion dollars if the proposal came to fruition.
"What we would do is look at our worst infrastructure that we would have to deal with to maintain public safety as a minimum," he said. "Based on that evaluation, I think perhaps we would be looking at $40 to $50 million."
Reeves said any amount of money would be appreciated if the legislation passes.
"If we focus on an economic advancement for the community, a cultural advancement for the community, respecting the history of the community, and now we are taking care of infrastructure, it enhances the livability," he continued.
Assemblyman John McDonald hopes the Collar City will receive money if the proposal passes.
"Mayor Rosamilia is correct," he said. "There are billions and billions of dollars of work to be done."
McDonald said most of Troy's infrastructure is reliable, but the winter season can cause issues.
"It's not as if there are breaks every single day of the year, but when they do happen, particularly in a community that grew, they have some very large pipes and when they break they break big," he said.
The assemblyman said any city in the state could ask for the billion dollars Troy would need. He said Troy needs to prioritize its issues.
"So how do you go about doing it?" he suggested. "You identify your areas with the highest frequency of breaks, do some type of low cost inspection to identify is this a good investment, and go from there."
If the proposal becomes a reality, it would first need to get through the state legislature and the governor's office. Then it is up to residents to vote.
"Placing it in the hands of the voters is not a bad idea," McDonald said. "It's something that we support, of course, and we look forward to hopefully having a successful outcome.
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