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Office of the Mayor 233 £. Woshington St. 201 City Hall Syracuse, N.Y. 13202 Office 315 448 8005 Fox 315 448 8067 www OFFICE OF THE MAYOR MAYOR BEN WALSH January 7, 2021, Mr. Pete Buttigieg Secretary of Transportation, Nominee U.S, Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE Washington, DC 20590 Dear Mayor Buttigieg, Congratulations on your nomination as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. | wish you a smooth and successful confirmation as Secretary. | know mayors across the nation share my ‘excitement and optimism about the appointment of a respected and experienced municipal leader for a role so critical to the future of American cities. Your Tweet on December 20 about how “Black and brown neighborhoods have been disproportionately divided by highway projects or left isolated by the lack of adequate transit and transportation resources" caught my attention. Your promise that “In the Biden-Harris, administration, we will make righting these wrongs an imperative,” gave me hape and optimism, ‘This is especially true here in Syracuse because our city is scarred by interstate 81, a raised highway viaduct constructed in the 1950s and 60s through the heart of a predominantly Black neighborhood. For decades, it has marginalized people living in that neighborhood and jeopardized their health, at the same time that it contributed to the decline of our center city. ‘As you may know, the Interstate 81 viaduct through the City of Syracuse has reached the end of its useful life, and the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is planning for its replacement. Last year, with my strong support, Governor Cuomo announced the State DOT had selected a street-level “Community Grid” as its preferred design alternative. Replacing the existing -81 viaduct with a “Community Grid” involves the demolition of the viaduct and rerouting high-speed through traffic around the city Using the existing -481, which will be the redesignated I-81. The DOT's recommendation in a Preliminary Draft Environmental Impact Statement was, most recently, sent to the FHWA for its review. ‘A. Community Grid will be transformational for the City of Syracuse and the Central New York region. It also gives us the opportunity to right some of the wrongs that were inflicted on people of color over generations. Furthermore, this project has the potential for significant job creation for local residents as our city and the nation recover from the pandemic. Its my hope that under your leadership as Transportation Secretary, the Interstate 81 project in Syracuse can be expedited, and existing federal barriers to foster local hiring on such projects can be removed as soon as possible, thereby unleashing this project’ full potential to improve people's lives. Since becoming mayor in 2018, a major focus of my administration has been preparing our City and region for the jobs that will be created by the Interstate 81 project. We have much work to do, but | believe the actions we have taken will allow more local people to benefit from the project. GROWTH. DIVERSITY. OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL. Topic: Transportation Secretary Nominee Pete Butti 7 January 2021 Page 2 Specifically, have worked with local partners to create the Syracuse Build program, which is bringing government, organized labor, community advocates and the private sector together to create pathways to ‘construction careers. More recently, in partnership with local advocates, | convened a comprehensive and collaborative process called the Interstate 81 Big Table to bring stakeholders together to plan and implement fundamental systems change in how we ensure local people benefit from public infrastructure projects. Team members from the FHWA and Governor Cuomo's DOT, as well as representatives of Senator Gillibrand and ‘Senator Schumer, are playing active roles at the Big Table. | think you will be pleased and impressed by the work being done in Syracuse to help the federal government to deploy its resources in ways that truly help people in the most need. Of course, the Interstate 81 project is only one way in which transportation can create opportunity and help to lift people up. As Mayor, | have been advocating for the completion of our Metropolitan Planning Organization's recommended “SMART” Bus Rapid Transit system in Syracuse as an effective alternative for connecting people with jobs and opportunity. I've also instituted a municipal sidewalk snow removal program and am developing a citywide municipal sidewalk maintenance program to improve the walkabllty of Syracuse. A bike-share network that we deployed last year is another example of my efforts to provide multiple modes of transportation that de- ‘emphasize reliance on cars, | am excited about your understanding of the value of investing in multi-modal transportation and transit-oriented development in communities and see even greater opportunities for cities in the years ahead under your leadership as Transportation Secretary. | would welcome the opportunity to share more information with you or your team on what is happening in Syracuse. | believe Syracuse is well-positioned to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation to have a sustained and meaningful impact on people's lives in the United States. | look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with you in this work. sincerely, eeae Ben Walsh Mayor cc: Hon. Charles Schumer Hon. Kirsten Gillibrand Hon. John Katko Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo Hon. Rachel May Hon. John Mannion Hon. William Magnareli Hon. Pamela Hunter Hon. Al Stirpe Hon. J. Ryan McMahon, It Hon. Helen Hudson GROWTH. DIVERSITY. OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL.

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