The World Is Watching Syracuse: Mayor Ben Walsh Statement on Interstate 81 Draft Environmental Impact Statement


The world is watching Syracuse to see how transportation projects can strengthen communities and create opportunity for people. We are one step closer to showing them.

The DEIS confirms the Community Grid is the best alternative to replace the Interstate 81 Viaduct and generate positive transformation. The comprehensive evaluation resolves many of the concerns raised about the Community Grid. Now, we need to work together as a City and a region to address any remaining challenges and issues.

We have to ensure the people who live, work and go to school closest to the viaduct are protected and that neighborhoods that were harmed by the highway receive investment without community displacement. Local control and influence on land use will create the best long-term outcome for the community.

We need to listen to concerns that exist outside of the City and make sure they are addressed in the final project. I am ready to partner with communities all around Syracuse to ensure their interests are considered. I urge people across the region to learn the facts about the project and to participate in the public input process.

On a project that will exceed $2 billion in spending, we must make sure local people who have been bypassed for jobs in the past, especially women, minorities and veterans, have the chance to get training, jobs and careers. Taking advantage of new local hiring provisions enacted by the Biden Administration can help families in Syracuse break out of poverty and achieve a better standard of living.

I commend Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration on their work for the people of New York State and look forward to working with them on the next stages of this project. I urge approval of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill being considered in Washington. Its provisions will help Syracuse fully realize the opportunities this once in a generation project presents.