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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

Panel
(S. Anderson, B. Ventimiglia, C. Ward, E. Spicer, M. Crotty, J. Melius, R. Ledwith)

A BALCONY Breakfast Forum
June 25, 2010

Keynote
Chris Ward
Executive Director
Port Authority

C Ward


and a distinguished panel of speakers


Panel
(B. Ventimiglia, C. Ward, M. Crotty, L. Gordon, J. Melius, R. Ledwith)

Welcome & Opening Remarks
by
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

 Spicer  Ventimiglia
Elly Spicer                      Bruce Vengimiglia

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.

L Gordon
(Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director)


(click to view video)

Ward Welcome

"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 & NJ

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION BY CHRIS WARD

 

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 and beyond.

 

 PANEL PRESENTATIONS



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)


Melius
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.


Ledwith
Robert Ledwith



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 addressed.

Crotty
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.


Anderson
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 and MedReview.

 

Exhibitors

 

WCBS  RH 


      Med Review

Women    GNYCC



Content Critical 




 





EVENT SPONSORS


Residential

 

 

Special Thanks

Video Production: Jeanne Suggs, Suggs Media
Photos by Jason Mark Green, The Advance Group

 

 BALCONY MEMBERS DIRECTORY (Summer 2010)





(click map above to view the Directory E-Book)

 

 

 

We Moved

BALCONY HAS RELOCATED TO NEW OFFICES.
PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS.
OUR TELEPHONE NUMBER REMAINS THE SAME.

 

BALCONY
481 EIGHTH AVENUE, SUITE 1202
New York, NY 10001
(212) 219-7777


Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director:
loug@balconynewyork.com

Nicholas Kapustinsky, BALCONY Research and Communications: nicholas@balconynewyork.com


Diane Masters, Development Administrator: diane.masters@balconynewyork.com

Kevin R. Weaver, Website and Computer Services: kevinweaver@bellsouth.net

 



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.

BALCONY NEW YORK
481 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1202

New York, NY 10001 (212) 219-7777

www.balconynewyork.com

Director, Lou Gordon: loug@balconynewyork.com