A broad coalition of transportation advocates last week launched the “Rebuild New York Now” campaign to raise public awareness about the condition of the state’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Targeted television and radio advertisements were created to highlight the condition of New York’s roads and outline the benefits of transportation investment. Some of the statics mentioned include: for every billion invested in infrastructure construction, 28,000 jobs are created; 50 percent of the state’s roads are anticipated to be in “in fair-or-worse” condition by the end of 2014, costing New York drivers more than $1500 annually; and more than 17 million New York drivers cross a bridge considered to be disrepair every day.
The 30 second TV and 60 second radio spots are part of an overall campaign, including a highly targeted social media and digital advertising plan that will run statewide.
New York currently has a $4.2 billion surplus in the state’s annual budget due to five legal settlements with banks and insurance companies earlier in 2014. The state is struggling with several transportation funding challenges, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $15.2 billion funding shortfall in its 2015-2019 Capital Program. Transportation investment advocates are campaigning for some of the surplus to be used to help bridge that gap and repair the state’s transportation network.
“There is wide spread agreement that New York needs to invest in its infrastructure if we’re going to remain competitive and create jobs,” explained Mike Elmendorf, the group’s president and CEO, who also leads the Associated General Contractors of New York State. “In addition to creating jobs, if we use the surplus for dedicated infrastructure projects, we’ll also save New Yorkers money, and most importantly ensure the safety and wellbeing of New York families who every day ride on roads and bridges that are in a state of disrepair.”