Rep. Zeldin Hosts Press Conference in Support of Safe Bridges Act to Strengthen LI Infrastructure
Bellport, NY – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C, Shirley- NY 1), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was joined today by Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro, other local elected officials, local organizations, and members of the Brookhaven Town Highway Department to discuss the Safe Bridges Act (H.R. 3168), bipartisan legislation he introduced in Congress to strengthen New York’s infrastructure.
Due to changes made in a 2012 federal law, MAP-21, overpasses owned by the state or county had been cut off from critical federal funding necessary for maintenance and repair. Congressman Zeldin introduced the Safe Bridges Act with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) to address this issue. The Safe Bridges Act would provide counties and municipalities the funds needed to fix our nation’s bridges and infrastructure by reforming federal highway law to make our critical overpasses and bridges once again eligible for funding. You can view the bill text here.
The New York State Department of Transportation reports that more than one-third of New York State’s 17,000 bridges are in need of repair. 2,016 of these bridges have been graded as “structurally deficient”, meaning significant maintenance is required to remain in service and will eventually require total rehabilitation, and 4,735 have been graded as “functionally obsolete”, meaning current traffic demand is too much for the structure. Furthermore, of the 17,000 bridges in New York, the majority were built in the 20th century, with over 50% of bridges over 75 years old.
On Long Island, there are a total of 688 bridges. Of these bridges, 18 have been declared structurally deficient and 426 have been listed as functionally obsolete. The Safe Bridges Act would restore critical federal funding for 82 bridges or overpasses across the First Congressional District.
Congressman Lee Zeldin said, “Our roads, overpasses, and bridges are essential to the Long Island economy and the safety of our community, but unfortunately, much of our infrastructure is in need of additional support. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will reform federal highway law to make our critical overpasses and bridges once again eligible for the federal funding needed to strengthen our infrastructure. In Congress, I have been a vocal supporter of increasing state flexibility and local control so that funding flows more efficiently to the right projects to strengthen our infrastructure and improve transportation safety, job creation, and our overall economy and quality of life. Ensuring New York’s transportation and infrastructure are strong for the millions who depend on it is a top priority and I am proud to lead this effort in the House.”
"At all levels of government we are working together to rebuild our infrastructure in order to make it easier for working families on Long Islanders to commute, to make our infrastructure safer during storms and to create jobs and fuel our economy. We are fortunate to have Congressman Zeldin fighting for New York and introduce this important legislation. It will have a real impact on out regions' infrastructure and quality of life for Long Islanders," said Senator Tom Croci.
Senator Ken LaValle said, “There is a great need to maintain our infrastructure to ensure safe travel for Long Islanders. Congressman Zeldin’s bipartisan legislation would restore the federal funding necessary to keep the roads, overpasses and bridges safe for our residents.”
Assemblyman Dean Murray said, "As a member of the NYS Assembly's Transportation Committee, I know how very important it is for us to focus on infrastructure improvement and safety. I thank Congressman Zeldin not only for recognizing the importance of this issue but also for his ongoing efforts to take action."
"Our aging infrastructure is in great need of attention with many bridges and overpasses requiring considerable maintenance or total reconstruction," said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. "I am in full support of Congressman Zeldin's bill and I ask my colleagues across Long Island to do the same.”
Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico said, "I commend Congressman Lee Zeldin for taking the initiative to rebuild the critical infrastructure of our region. One of the best investments we can make for the residents of our communities is in our infrastructure. Throughout history, investments in infrastructure have always spurred economic activity and provided good paying jobs for our workers."
Desmond Ryan, Executive Director of ABLI, said, “Congressman Zeldin’s legislation would provide our community with access to critical funding to strengthen Long Island’s infrastructure. On behalf of ABLI, I would like to express my strong support and thank Congressman Zeldin for his leadership on this important initiative in Congress.”
“I commend Congressman Zeldin on his efforts to address New York’s ailing infrastructure,” said Mike Elmendorf, President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State. “Roads and bridges are the lifeline to New York’s economy. New York can’t be open for business if its roads and bridges are closed. AGC looks forward to working with Congressman Zeldin to support his plan which will create jobs, improve safety, and make New York competitive again.”
“Congressman Lee Zeldin is forcing the House of Representatives to come to grips with the simple but devastating fact that our nation’s infrastructure has become a political orphan. While other nations that seek to dominate the 21st Century pour billions into their roads, bridges, seaports and rail, our Congress applies hopeless band aids to funding our infrastructure. “Safe Bridges” seeks to confront that crisis and we stand with Congressman Zeldin in demanding action that will strengthen our infrastructure and protect our future,” said William K. Duffy, Jr., President of IUOE Local 138.
Debra Hagan, President, TWU Local 252, said, “TWU Local 252 knows the importance of the Surface Transportation Bill which provides the funds to maintain our roadways, bridges and tunnels. Here on Long Island our roadways and overpasses are in great need of repair. Local 252 members operate the buses that provide transportation to the public as well as transporting thousands of school children daily over these roadways and overpasses. We are pleased to see that our Congressman Lee Zeldin also recognizes the importance of this bill and its effect on Long Island and labor.”