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Miner releases Syracuse Billion proposal for infrastructure projects

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has unveiled her “Syracuse Billion” agenda, a billion-dollar public-investment plan focusing on infrastructure projects throughout the city.

Miner announced the agenda in a news release issued Tuesday, and has sent copies of the proposal to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and to Syracuse’s delegation in the New York State Legislature.

The Syracuse Billion agenda is in response to a similar billion dollar, state taxpayer-financed, economic-development plan that Cuomo announced for Buffalo in his 2012 State of the State address. Miner hopes the state will provide Syracuse with a similar investment.

The projects create “long-term growth opportunity” and place an “emphasis” on both physical and human-infrastructure needs, the Syracuse mayor contends.

“From our early days, Syracuse has been successful because we invested in major infrastructure projects like the construction of the Erie Canal,” Miner said in the news release. “We recognize the importance of financing the infrastructure needed to build a 21st century city. This plan has ideas from across the community and lays the groundwork for growth and prosperity through strategic investments in physical and human infrastructure.”

Miner’s plan
The plan’s largest component is $725 million for a water-main replacement.

The City of Syracuse utilizes a gravity fed, 550-mile water-main system that has been in place for more than a century.

The city currently uses a “pay as it breaks” approach to repair leaks and breaks at a cost of more than $1.32 million per mile.

The plan calls for a “dig once” philosophy, in which the city would replace and update the water mains to add sensors to track usage, efficiency, and resiliency, according to Miner’s office.

Miner’s agenda also requests $125 million for the “CNY Naturally Chilled” water project to create a water-distribution infrastructure in which cold water from Skaneateles Lake would help cool buildings in Syracuse.

The plan would also allow a two-time sale of the water, once as potable water as it is now and once as building coolant, Miner’s office said.

In addition, Miner’s plan also requests $84 million for a municipally owned, fiber network that would reach 42,000 parcels in Syracuse.

The network would enable Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) providing 1 gigabit per second (Gbit/s), ultra-high speed Internet service for homes and businesses.

Miner also requested $48 million for road reconstruction, $3.6 million for a reinvestment fund for Interstate 81, and $3.3 million for a World Market Square, noting that Syracuse has “one of the fastest growing populations of immigrants” in the U.S.

World Market Square would seek to offer new Americans settlement assistance and a chance to learn skills and grow businesses, and to house a marketplace “where their local goods with a global influence can be showcased,” according to Miner’s news release.

The plan also calls for $10 million for the Say Yes to Education endowment fund, which would help the “financial sustainability” of the program which provides students in the Syracuse City School District opportunities to receive full-tuition scholarships to participating colleges and universities.

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