(NBC/WETM) — The Senate passed a sweeping $550 billion infrastructure bill on Aug. 10. The bill allows for a huge investment into the nation’s public transit, water, broadband, and roads. So how will this affect the Twin Tiers?
Brent Stermer, the 2nd District Councilman for the City of Elmira, said the focus will primarily be on roads.
“We often hear with 130 miles worth of roads that we have really bad roads,” said Stermer. “Going into the next couple of years, hopefully we’ll be able to get a good chunk of money and we’ll be able to replace lots of roads. So, we’ll have lots of torn up streets that will then be all brand new.”
One of the roads already under construction is West Water Street in Elmira. The estimated completion date of the project is November of this year.
Stermer encouraged local businesses to be patient.
“I do know that several business owners are upset because of the construction, but they were upset before construction as well … so you can’t have it both ways,” said Stermer.
Heather Maio, co-owner of New York Sport & Fitness, explained how the construction affects her local business.
“It is a challenge, but we’re excited to see downtown improving,” said Maio. “We’re excited about these improvements and we understand [this is] a part of the process. But, it has been a bit of a challenge for our members to make it in here safely with the construction going on both on Water Street, but also back behind with the parking garage.”
NYSF had to direct their members to the new temporary entrance and exit on Carl Proper Drive. Maio is hoping that W. Water Street will be ready to go earlier than expected.
“I am really, really hoping that this is done before September,” said Maio. “That is when we normally see a lot of folks returning back to the gym. Hopefully by September people will be able to easily make their way in here.”
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I – Corning) had mixed feelings about the infrastructure deal being passed.
“Funding for infrastructure is generally a positive thing,” wrote Palmesano. “However, legitimate concerns are being raised about how much spending is being done at the federal level after trillions of dollars were spent on COVID emergency packages over the past 18 months.”
Palmesano said this level of spending is unsustainable. The federal debt has increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This is federal, so any dollars to the state is always helpful,” wrote Palmesano. “But, it seems nobody likes to discuss the impacts of all of this federal spending and how it impacts the overall economy … especially in the long-term.”