To the editor:
Our company J.G.B. Enterprises Inc. is a 40-plus-year-old added value distributor/manufacturer. We are proud to say that our firm has provided sustainable employment in Onondaga County for decades. We hire the majority of our workforce out of the county, as well as from the city of Syracuse. We have over 250 employees alone in Central New York, and our physical blue print extends across the United States as well. We are a major tax contributor here in the state of New York, and we’ve created millions of dollars in payroll. We would like our voice to be heard on the re-construction of Route 81, from the perspective of an economic driver for local contractors, distributors, restaurants, and hotels.
The greatest benefit to the community would be job creation. The scope of work that a tunnel (boring) project would bring, and the duration of the project would provide much needed employment opportunities for over a decade, and please note we are not referring to the cut and cover option. We cannot ignore an opportunity to drive prosperity into our local economy, and we ask that you please make the tunnel option a part of your environmental review. We have talked for decades about the exodus of manufactures like Carrier, GM, Miller, Allied Chemical, LCP chemicals, New Venture Gear, and the list is endless. This project provides an opportunity for our leaders such as Sen. John DeFrancisco, County Executive Joanie Mahoney, Congressman John Katko, Mayor-Elect Ben Walsh, and most importantly, the guidance and expertise by the NYS DOT to recommend a tunnel. We need to realize that a job of this magnitude would generate opportunities for business at all levels, from direct material suppliers, equipment rentals, creation of local construction jobs, sub-contractors that would be needed, even local hotels and restaurants would benefit.
This project will act as a catalyst to business even after project completion. The revenue that is gained can simply be reinvested into their respective companies. Please consider that our region has suffered for such a long time, it would be nice to get some good news once in a while. Common sense dictates that a tunnel would offer a transformative form of underground transportation, and would eliminate the skyline eyesore of Route 81!
A tunnel also offers the potential to add an above-ground green space. This greenspace, could provide the community a place to gather in a park like setting, add a possible shopping district, retail space, hotels and many other economic drivers.
I know that in a time of fiscal responsibility, it is easy to just go with the least expensive option, however I truly believe this is by far the best investment that will undoubtedly prove to have greater long term returns for many years to come! I fully respect the knowledge and the careful review that has been conducted by the office of the NYS DOT. It is our hope that as many options are considered, the tunnel option will be viewed as a viable alternative, rather than building a new bridge or street level corridor as a replacement for the ageing infrastructure.
Executive Vice President, JGB Enterprises Inc.