Infrastructure Challenges Facing Governor Phil Murphy
Greg Lalevee, Business Manager at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, discusses the infrastructure goals and challenges facing NJ’s new governor, Phil Murphy.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato, coming to you from the beautiful Agnes Varis NJTV studio in Newark, New Jersey. We're pleased to welcome, for the first time on this show in this venue, Greg Lalevee, who is Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825. Describe that union. We're men and women who operate heavy equipment that builds infrastructure projects, buildings, mine aggregates, all around the state of New Jersey. Last time Greg was with us there was a whole debate going on about the gas tax in New Jersey to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. The gas tax passed. There is some additional money in the Transportation Trust Fund to long-term funding... for long-term funding of transportation projects, roads, and bridges. How are we doing? We're doing well now. The money is starting to hit the street, so people can see a lot of paving projects going on now. We're starting to see the more complex road and bridge projects get into the pipeline to be bid to address choke points and deficient bridges. So we're moving in the right direction. In fact, Greg has been appointed, as we do this program, soon to be Governor Murphy will be taking office. You have been appointed to the Transition Committee, dealing with what area? Labor and Workforce Development. Shocking. [laughter] Talk about... seriously talk about the workforce that you represent. Who are these folks? And why do these issues of infrastructure, not sexy, but so important, matter so much to them? Well, infrastructure is like the blood system in a body. It's going to move our economy around. It moves goods, it moves services, it keeps businesses competitive. When people go to sight a business in a place, they look to see how easy it is to get their goods around, how easy it is to get their people to and from work, so it's critical to everything we do. So if you're advising Governor Murphy, soon to be Governor Murphy on these issues, what would you say the number one, two... I'm not gonna say three... one, two priorities are? To talk about New Jersey Transit. I think our rail infrastructure is seriously underserved. Define "underserved". Well there was a report that came out over the Summer about the safety of New Jersey Transit, and the fellow who put that report up was dismissed from New Jersey Transit. I think that has to be looked at. There was an assembly hearing, you know, where he testified and talked about the safety issues on transit. If you look at the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak owns it, there's several spots where trains have to slow down to 35 miles an hour if there's an Acela coming the other way because... Acela is..."