A longtime industry advocate for modernizing the region's infrastructure is praising President Barack Obama on his visit to the Tappan Zee Bridge today for a speech.
Obama plans to call on Congress to spend more on infrastructure improvements, such as the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is currently underway.
Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester, issued a statement welcoming the president to the region, and echoed Obama's call for improving the nation's infrastructure:
One industry leader's 28-year campaign to ease congestion and improve the region's infrastructure will reach a historical milestone today when Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., welcomes President Barack Obama this afternoon at the Washington Irving Boat Club that overlooks the Tappan Zee Bridge and the construction activities to replace it in Tarrytown, NY.
From its earliest days in the late 1970s, the CIC and Mr. Pepe have campaigned to maintain, improve and finally replace the Tappan Zee Bridge through the administration of six New York governors. Mr. Pepe has been invited to be among a distinguished group of regional public affairs and business leaders attending President Obama's announcement today in Westchester on the need to renew the federal government's commitment to transportation infrastructure and MAP-21, the nation's multi-year transportation bill.
Mr. Pepe is also a co-architect of the landmark Project Labor Agreement (PLA) between the region's many construction trade unions and the contractor team performing the bridge-replacement project, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC. The PLA for the new bridge will save taxpayers more than $450 million in construction costs, according to the facility's owner, the New York State Thruway Authority.
“President Obama is wise to use the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project as the backdrop for his call to modernize the federal infrastructure permitting process to protect our communities and the environment through safe and efficient highway and bridge facilities." In 2011, President Obama called for an expedited review process of six major projects nationally—the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project among them—pulling together more than 140 federal, state and county agencies and departments to “fast track” the TZ Bridge replacement program.
“He has demonstrated his commitment to modernize infrastructure permitting as part of his Administration's broader commitment to increase investment in U.S. infrastructure,” Mr. Pepe said.