Workers for Infrastructure Revitalization
C/o Fight Back
135 Duane Street Suite 3W New York, NY 10013
Telephone: 212-962-1371 FAX: 212-962-11369

October 17, 2005

Contact: Jim Haughton 212-962-1371 Nellie Bailey: 212-234-5005

NYC Crumbling Infrastructure:
Another New Orleans Disaster in the Making

On Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 12 Noon on the steps of City Hall Workers for Infrastructure Revitalization (WIR) will hold a press conference to draw attention to New York City’s crumbling physical infrastructure by calling upon Mayor Michael Bloomberg and mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer to purpose the implementation of a massive employment program to repair the City’s enormous dilapidated and deteriorating infrastructure that includes transit, bridges, roads, water supply and transmission, schools, affordable housing, sanitation and municipal buildings. WIR cited a 1998 report, Dilemma in the Millennium: Capital Needs of the World’s Capital City, issued by former City Comptroller Alan C. Hevesi that called for a minimum investment of $91.83 billion to “bring the city’s infrastructure to a systematic state of good repair and address new capital needs over the next decade”.

Jim Haughton, long time labor activist and chief spokesperson for the group said, “A government initiative such as this would put the economy on an upward swing with a job creation program that would address the City’s joblessness crisis that has left nearly 50% of Black men unemployed and 1.6 million New Yorkers trapped in poverty. ” He went on to say, “Such a program is doomed to fail unless the government fully and forcefully address the racism and cronyism within the trade unions by creating contractors assistance agencies and community hiring halls.”

The group painted a bleak picture for the City on the scale of the New Orleans disaster if immediate and long terms action is not taken. One example cited was the decaying water pipes of the two main tunnels built in the early 1900’s that delivers 1.3 billion gallons of water a day to city residents as a disaster waiting to happened if the tunnels were to collapse or have a serious blockage. Millions of New Yorkers would be without running water for a year or more with no fall back because the construction of the number 3 water tunnel will take 20 years before final completion. Both Mayor Bloomberg and mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer have been invited to the press conference.