BALCONY FORUM REPORT
On Friday, June 25, BALCONY, the Business and Labor
Coalition of New York, hosted a breakfast forum at the New York Vicinity
Carpenters Labor Management Corporation featuring Chris Ward, Executive
Director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The theme of
the event was 'Building the Region in 2010 and Beyond' and included
expert panelists who discussed the state of infrastructure in New York
State and nationally.
BUILDING THE REGION
IN 2010 AND BEYOND
(S. Anderson, B. Ventimiglia, C. Ward, E. Spicer, M. Crotty,
J. Melius, R. Ledwith)
A BALCONY Breakfast Forum
June 25, 2010
and a distinguished panel of speakers
(B. Ventimiglia, C. Ward, M. Crotty, L. Gordon, J. Melius,
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Elly Spicer, Field Representative
New York and Vicinity Carpenters Labor Management Corporation,
Bruce Ventimiglia, BALCONY Co-Chair,
President & Chairman, Saratoga Capital Management, LLC
and Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director
Elly Spicer, Field
Representative for the New York and Vicinity Carpenters Labor
Management Corporation welcomed the audience, which included
approximately 150 representatives of labor, business, non-profits, and
coalitions. She then introduced Bruce Ventimiglia, Co-Chair of
BALCONY and President/Chairman of Saratoga Capital Management, LLC.
Ventimiglia spoke about BALCONY's history and mission and expressed his
excitement about the event. He then introduced the event's moderator,
Director of BALCONY Lou Gordon. Gordon spoke briefly about the
themes of the forum before introducing Chris Ward, Executive
Director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ to talk about the Port
Authority's plans and perspective on the state of infrastructure in
2010 and beyond.
(Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director)
(click to view video)
"In less than two years, the
Port Authority's forecasted 10-year capital capacity for the period
running from 2007 to 2016 has been reduced from $29.5 billion to $24.5
billion. The agency is further challenged by a growing need for
long-term transportation capacity-enhancing projects and investment in
state-of-good-repair programs, including maintenance of existing
bridges and tunnels, the cost of which has risen to more than $500
million per year, while facing mounting security costs since September
11, 2001. The Port Authority's net capital expenditures and return on
investment are inverse, our budgeted operating expenses are well below
our annual CPI growth, and our staff headcount is at its lowest in 40
years...this system is choking the capacity of our region - our model
has to change."
-- Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY
PRESENTATION BY CHRIS WARD
(click to view video)
Ward spoke glowingly about the Port Authority's progress in building
the World Trade Center memorial and said the project was on track to be
completed by the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On another note,
Ward focused on the cash-crisis facing the Port Authority and lamented
that there is little money or political capital available to move
forward on the myriad of infrastructure projects New York State
desperately needs to focus on.
Click here to view Chris Ward's PowerPoint presentation.
The other panelists responded to Ward's speech and gave their
individual perspectives on the state of infrastructure in the region
Dr. James Melius,
administrator at LECET (New York State Laborers' Employers Cooperation
& Education Trust), President of the New York Roadway Improvement
Coalition, and a BALCONY executive board member, spoke about a study his coalition did that found that an
increase in gas taxes of just $40 per individual would be enough to
close the deficit facing the Port Authority. Additionally Dr. Melius
highlighted the importance of generating public campaigns aimed at
galvanizing communities and rallying them around a pro-infrastructure
agenda, something the Laborers' is already undertaking nationally.
(click image to view
video of presentation)
Dr. James Melius
Robert Ledwith, President of The
Metallic Latherers and Ironworkers Local 46, decried
the state of infrastructure in New York State and nationally and spoke
to the fact that there is simply not the political will necessary to
invest in infrastructure in this country. He attributed this to a
change in the national philosophy in the 1980's, the so-called
"Wall Street" decade. Ledwith suggested that without a shift
in political attitudes, away from wholesale greed and towards a sense
of common destiny, there is little hope that America can get on top of
its infrastructure crisis.
Mary Ann Crotty, President, Macro
Associates, spoke about how much the situation at the Port Authority
and MTA has changed since she worked in the Mario Cuomo administration.
Crotty suggested that many of the problems facing both organizations
relate to borrowing and spending tactics that have landed them both in
debt. She also suggested that some form of congestion pricing would
solve many of the problems facing New York City, the Port Authority,
and the MTA. However, she noted that other factors like health care
costs, which are eating up the budgets of the two authorities, must be
Mary Ann Crotty
Steve Anderson, founder of
InfrastructureUSA.org, spoke about the crisis of infrastructure in terms of a
crisis of communication. That is, infrastructure activists have had a
hard time making their case to the public. Anderson warned that without
a real infrastructure movement the United States may be facing third
world conditions in the near future. Anderson's website, www.InfrastructureUSA.org,
is a forum where people from across the country can go to learn more
about infrastructure, share their thoughts, and organize.
Steven C.F. Anderson
Following the panel,
Lou Gordon thanked Chris Ward, panelists, the audience, and the many
sponsors of the event.
Tickets were given away for two to 'Next to Normal,' a play on
Broadway, provided by sponsor WCBS NewsRadio880. Also, two
tickets to a New York Knicks game were provided by
sponsor Al Handell and Content Critical, and two tickets
to a New York Yankees game provided by sponsor Joe Stamm
Video Production: Jeanne Suggs, Suggs Media
Photos by Jason Mark Green, The Advance Group
MEMBERS DIRECTORY (Summer 2010)
(click map above to view the Directory E-Book)
BALCONY HAS RELOCATED TO NEW OFFICES.
PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS.
OUR TELEPHONE NUMBER REMAINS THE SAME.
EIGHTH AVENUE, SUITE 1202
Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicholas Kapustinsky, BALCONY Research and Communications: email@example.com
BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York,
represents more than 1,000 New York businesses, labor unions, and
trade associations. BALCONY seeks common ground in the public policy
debate in New York to spur economic development through the adoption of
business/union friendly, socially responsible common sense laws that
maintain and improve the quality of life for working New Yorkers.
BALCONY is a 501C4Contributions are not tax deductible.
481 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1202
New York, NY 10001 (212) 219-7777
Director, Lou Gordon: firstname.lastname@example.org