|Central New York Area Labor Federation|
CNYALF, Community Groups Gather for Jobs
The Crumbling Evans Street Bridge
Built out of wood in 1934 the crumbling foundation of the Evan’s Street Bridge in Downtown Syracuse created a symbolic backdrop as a cross section of the Central New York community, the grass roots foundation of our society, came together to demand that Congress pass the American Jobs Act, repair our badly damaged infrastructure, and end corporate greed. Those who gathered spoke with a single voice in favor of the Bill’s passage because, collectively, CNY is our home, and just as our own homes require ongoing maintenance and repairs, so too does our collective home. Twenty yards from literally crumbling roads and bridges, each speaker stressed the need for updating our infrastructure, calling on Congress to act on the Jobs Bill.
The demonstration in Syracuse was part of the nationwide November 17th Day of Action for good jobs and a fair, democratic economy taking place in major cities across the country. The bridge location was chosen as part of a citizen inspection of ten local bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient. Last November, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reported that more than 40 percent of the state’s roads and bridges are substandard or obsolete, almost double the national average.
Now is the time for Congress to stop playing petty partisan politics and take action on the bill. The culture of “If it’s not my idea, it’s not a good idea” needs to end. Let’s not wait for another disaster to occur such as the I-90 bridge over the Schohaire Creek or the I-35 collapse in Minneapolis before taking action. Government’s role in job creation, to borrow a phrase from Senator Chuck Schumer, is to “Prime the Pump” for economic development. Providing safe and reliable infrastructure is a perfect example of government laying the groundwork for business development and job creation.
Ironically, the Evans St. Bridge spans Onondaga Creek. The creek meanders through the City of Syracuse and is a common link between several areas currently being developed or redeveloped: The Eds & Meds on University Hill, Connective Corridor, Near West Side Initiative, Armory Square, Franklin Square, The Inner Harbor, Carousel Mall, and Destiny USA all have a view of the Creek, and now the Creek Walk. Updating and upgrading our infrastructure is vital to this continued development. We truly need this Public/Private Partnership to continue the revitalization of our City.
No one in attendance asked for tax cuts for the rich. None of us asked for Wall Street’s risky “Exotic Financial Instruments” that nearly collapsed our economy in 2008 & 2009. Not a single one of us asked for Bail-Outs of the Financial, Banking, and Insurance Industries. Now, however, we’re being asked to pay for the cleanup of that economic melt-down while the unemployment rate remains above 9%.
Today, we came asking for jobs, not a bail-out; a hand up, not a hand out. Last week, on the Eve of Veteran’s Day, Congress passed the Veteran hiring component of the Jobs Act. Now, as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, we’re telling Congress to have the courage to take up the rest of the Bill, not just the most politically popular provisions.
© AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the AFL-CIO.