2020 11th Edition: August 3 - August 7
Another Voice Advocating the Need for
Transportation Investment

While I love writing in this space and sharing my thoughts with the partners and supporters of the Orange County Partnership on the key issues of the day, sometimes someone else has said it best. That is the case with the column below by Ross Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. and a partner with the 17 Forward 86 campaign. Ross details the pressing need to further infrastructure investment as a means to get people back to work and serve as a pathway to support economic development here in Orange County and throughout New York State.
I also thought it would be extremely enlightening to include a video of William Reid, CEO of Danskammer Energy, to discuss the merits of the very critical $500-million project to upgrade its existing energy plant to a 535-megawatt gas-fired power plant in the Town of Newburgh. Mr. Reid details the extensive environmental benefits of the project, which will also create hundreds of construction jobs. 

Let's begin here:
Bill Reid, President & Chief Executive Officer - Danskammer Energy, LLC
Ross J. Pepe
Construction Industry Council of
Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc.

Guest Viewpoint:

Paving New York State’s Path to Economic Recovery

By Ross J. Pepe

“New York, like states all across the country, confronts the immediate effects of a paralyzing national recession, the longer-term challenge of improving our competitive position in the global economy, and the specter of a dangerous, ugly divisiveness among our people.”

Those words, but with the single substitution of “pandemic” for “recession,” are as true today as they were in 1992 when spoken by then-Gov. Mario M. Cuomo as he called for a national coming together with action to cure our collective woes.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the people of New York State have benefitted from the leadership of his son, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, our state legislators and local officials. New Yorkers, through a remarkable collective willingness to “crush the curve” and a heartfelt outpouring of support, are demonstrating what it means to stand and work together. We are grateful to our first responders, health care workers and all the women and men behind the scenes—building and construction trades, public service, education, food and other services—working to maintain a sense of normalcy for all of us.

This is not business as usual and it may never be again, following the protracted “New York on Pause” and historic levels of unemployment. Where do we go from here? Let’s take a page out of the history books and study the past six recessions and the Great Depression. The path to economic recovery was mainly paved by investment: “We need to rebuild the physical foundation upon which all economic activity depends,” said the senior Gov. Cuomo. That begins with investment in our infrastructure, which is an exceptionally efficient long-term job creator. For nearly a century of American life and economic growth, it has been proven that each $1 billion invested in infrastructure yields thousands of direct jobs and a multiplier of that in indirect jobs. We need only look to the new $4-billion Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which generated more than 6,600 living-wage jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs in the region.

As New York State reopens, we must invest in our state’s long-term health. Infrastructure is a bridge to the future, as it creates jobs so people can start and raise families, build stronger communities and boost local economies. A half-dozen major transportation projects are poised to move forward in New York. One of those involves widening Route 17 in the Hudson Valley and transforming the corridor into Interstate 86. Our coalition—17-Forward-86—is seeking to add a third lane in each direction on Route 17 to improve mobility, enhance safety and ensure the economic well-being of the Hudson Valley and Sullivan Catskills. We have more than 200 members of economic development and tourism groups, construction trades and energy companies representing thousands of individuals in the region. Widening Route 17 is critical—the corridor is already over-capacity and we must prepare for added traffic as more companies invest here.

In addition, there are projects on Long Island (Oakdale merge) and upstate New York (I-81 viaduct project in Syracuse) that will have the same effect of advancing mobility efficiency and improving our daily lives. This is the time to move forward. Today’s highly competitive construction marketplace offers significant savings for public agencies and departments, which will benefit from low-interest bond rates.

We all have felt the impacts of this pandemic—personally and professionally—and we believe that working together we will persevere. Let’s take those steps now to pave our path to recovery.

Ross J. Pepe is a founding member of the 17-Forward-86 Coalition and president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. of Tarrytown. To learn more about the coalition, visit www.17Forward86.org.
World Merchandise Trade Volume
World Trade Organization
Globalization Not Dead, Just Evolving
World trade or globalization was facing challenges prior to the pandemic with trade wars being waged between the U.S. and China, Mexico, Canada and Europe. Then came the coronavirus pandemic this spring that has dramatically reduced international trade flows.

A report in Site Selection Magazine contends that globalization is not dead, but is in fact evolving as businesses contend with the impacts of the pandemic, protectionism and trade conflicts across the globe.

Green Energy Initiatives That Pay $$$$
It is rare indeed that a business can actually get paid to institute policies that promote the public welfare. However, there are two environmental initiatives that Orange County businesses can advance that will do just that.

New York State is supporting community solar programs as well as the installation of electric vehicle stations at commercial properties.

Global Survey Reveals Remote Work is Here to Stay
A global survey of office property companies worldwide finds that the office experience will be very different post pandemic.

Global property technology firm Equiem surveyed some 175,000 occupiers involving more than 9,000 companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. A majority of respondents indicated that remote work will remain a viable option, particularly because at-home workers are as or more productive than those housed at the office. However, at-home workers do miss the day-to-day office environment.

Home Building on the Rebound, But Addressing Labor Shortage is Key to Affordability
A staple of the national and local economies is the home building industry. Like many other sections of the country, multi-family rental housing development is outpacing single-family home projects as Orange County and the Hudson Valley emerge from COVID-19 restrictions imposed by New York State.


Orange Bank & Trust along with friends from Pizza E Birra and The Dairy O, Inc. provided 35 pizzas pies , salad and gallons of delicious ice cream to HONOR. This sign of generosity filled hearts and the appetites of over 200 staff and guests.

ABOUT HONOR: On any given evening, HONOR provides a temporary home to over 100 people. But they are so much more than a homeless shelter; they are committed to helping others needing their resources and if they can’t help, they will refer you to someone who can.


Orange Bank & Trust is so very thankful for the Essential Service Employees who are on the front lines during this time, and thanks to Franco Fidanza and his wonderful team at Pizza E Birra, Orange Bank & Trust was able to provide lunch to the Mobile Life Support Services team to show our appreciation for everything they are doing to help the community! To all the healthcare workers, professional service workers and those on the front line, Orange Bank & Trust would like to say Thank You!

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