Working at the Partnership means getting to work on behalf of employers all across the Buffalo Niagara region on diverse issues that affect many people. Sometimes, the work is longer term, behind-the-scenes and goes unnoticed.
In yesterday's Buffalo News, a story appeared about the NYS Department of Transportation getting started on emergency repairs to the broken Rt. 219 bridge over Cattaraugus Creek. It's great news for businesses in the area, who depend on that route for customers.
Last year, several of our partners asked us for help with a situation where the State Department of Transportation was trying to turn that 219 bridge, knowingly in need of repair, over to Erie and Cattaraugus Counties, leaving them with the bill - an expense they didn't have the cash for (can anyone say "unfunded mandate"?). Remember, last year the state was also in the process of passing a property tax cap which would have further impaired the County's ability to afford the bridge. The Counties' response? If the state turned over the bridge, they would close it.
Enter Partnership staffers - we intervened with Governor Cuomo and days later an announcement came that the state would maintain ownership of the bridge. While our focus is regional, we often partner with our area's smaller chambers - from Amherst to Warsaw - when they don't have the resources to take a project on.
Now fast forward a year. Bridge restoration has now been granted “emergency” status, and it will reopen in April. Which is great news - the bill goes to NYS, which can afford it, while local commuters, shoppers, and business people get the infrastructure they rely upon and deserve.
All in a day’s work.