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DOT Commissioner visits Utica to discuss infrastructure improvements

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald was in the city of Utica on Wednesday to discuss the Governor's plans to put people to work by improving the state's roads and bridges.

Governor Cuomo's New York Works program is bringing an extra $1.2 billion to state construction, which officials say will improve many of New York's roads and bridges and will also put many construction contractors back to work immediately.

"If we didn't have this $1.2 billion, these projects would happen most likely in 2014-2015," says McDonald. "We need to do them anyway. Accelerating the projects really allows us to add some projects to our program that we wouldn't have normally done."

McDonald says of the money that $34 million will go to the Mohawk Valley, addressing more than 250 miles of pavement and seven bridges. The programs intend to bring road improvements, local construction jobs, and to also encourage future business to come into the state.

"One of the things that companies look at, and I know this firsthand from my experience in Connecticut when I headed up economic development is, they look to see where investments are being made in roads, in bridges, in sewer, water waste, water treatments plants," says McDonald. "And New York is ahead of the pack."

Commissioner McDonald says the projects are starting this summer and while they may inconvenience drivers, they feel that the improvements they'll bring to the roads and bridges will be worth it.

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