Construction Leaders, Elected Officials Discuss Key Projects at HVCIP Luncheon

By JOHN JORDAN – April 2024

CHESTER, NY—The 10th annual Hudson Valley Construction Industry Partnership (HVCIP) luncheon at the Glenmere Mansion here on Tues., April 8, drew a record attendance of 60 construction industry and organized labor leaders and key politicians who were generally enthusiastic in their assessment of upcoming construction work for the 2024 construction season. On balance, the outlook is good, they said, with a stronger book-of-business forecast for the public works and transportation sector compared to private development.

Luncheon speakers discussed were ongoing calls to improve pavement and roadway safety conditions in the seven-county jurisdiction of NYSDOT Region 8 and advance the expansion of Route 17 to interstate standards.

In addition, in a very positive sign for the union workers, building trades executives representing jurisdictions throughout the lower and mid-Hudson Valley spoke of numerous Project Labor Agreements secured on major construction projects, as well as inroads made on securing deals, ensuring prevailing wage provisions and local hiring are met on other projects. A host of the county executives also offered high praise for PLAs as well and the desire to continue to sign PLAs for county government work.

From left, CIC board member Charles Androsiglio of Halmar International, LLC, Jeff Loughlin of the Westchester/Putnam Building Trades Council, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, CIC board member Dominick Montesano and Kyle Montesano of Montesano Brothers, Inc.

However, officials noted the poor condition of the region’s roads and bridges and warned that if further investment is not approved by the state, companies may either move out of the region or decide not to move their operations to the Hudson Valley.

Orange County Executive Neuhaus warned that he is beginning to see some companies that are looking to develop projects in the region forego IDA incentives and PILOT agreements and hire nonunion contractors to perform work on their developments.

The HVCIP luncheon’s moderator, John Cooney, Jr., executive director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., began the discussions by pointing out there have been billions of dollars approved by the New York State Legislature and federal government for clean water and pollution-control infrastructure work. Scores of local municipalities, however, are not securing these authorized funds because of the lack of engineering resources, he said, referencing a revealing study conducted by Hudson Valley Patterns for Progress, the not-for-profit research organization.

Mr. Cooney said that since 2015 there has been $6.5 billion authorized by New York State for sewer and water infrastructure, but only $900 million has been spent. He noted that assistance must be provided to smaller municipalities that do not have the staff to apply for grants so that infrastructure improvement work can be performed. He implored state officials, “Cut the bureaucratic red tape! This money needs to be invested.”

U.S. Congressman Marcus Molinaro (R-NY-19), a guest presenter at past HVCIP luncheons (when he served as the Dutchess County Executive), was next to address the audience of contractors, union leaders and other public officials. Now a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, he discussed the significant prospect for union jobs promised within the new FAA reauthorization.

Rep. Molinaro then pivoted and sternly criticized the inaction of some members of the House of Representatives who are motivated by politics and self-promotion rather than representing their constituents.

Speaking specifically to immigration and improved border security, he called on President Biden and Congress to agree on “emergency action now” to combat illegal immigration and to create a clear path for legal immigration.

Economic updates were provided by Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger and Dutchess County Deputy County Executive Ron Hicks The program also featured updates from four Hudson Valley Union leaders: L. Todd Diorio, president of the Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council; Stephen Reich, co-vice president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Rockland County; and Jeff Loughlin, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties. Alan Seidman, executive director of the Construction Contractors Association of the Hudson Valley and a co-founder of the HVCIP coalition, also attended.

From left, CIC board member Mark Servidone of A. Servidone, Inc., Penny Tuohey of E. Tetz & Sons, LLC, Greg Peckham of Peckham Industries and CIC board member Gary Metcalf of Peckham Materials Corp.
Leaders discuss opportunities and concerns at an industry luncheon in Orange County. From left, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Todd Diorio of the Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council, U.S. Congressman Marcus Molinaro and Jeff Loughlin of the Westchester/ Putnam Building Trades Council.

At a Glance

County Executives and building trades officials announced a host of projects underway or in the pipeline with most having signed Project Labor Agreements or PLAs under negotiation.

Rockland County

  • Rockland County Executive Ed Day reported that the county is currently engaged in $20 million in ongoing projects. He noted the long-delayed $40-million Rockland County Highway garage project has been completed.
  • Stephen Reich, co-vice president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Rockland County, said Project Labor Agreements are the norm with both Rockland County and Rockland County Sewer District No. 1. “We have pretty much every opportunity we need to at least be competitive in the market on a county level, and we are trying to expand this to all municipalities all the way down to the villages and we have a lot of them on board.” He noted the trades are looking to strengthen private project labor eligibility requirements with the Rockland County IDA. He said the IDA currently has local labor language with the IDA but further requirements need to be enacted so that the trades can secure some of the increased private work coming into Rockland, particularly warehouse development projects.

Putnam County

  • Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne noted Region 8 is in need of additional funding and reminded attendees that he testified earlier this year before the New York State Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2024 Executive Budget on Transportation advocating for the restoration of a massive $60-million cut to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement (CHIPS) program.
  • Four significant road/infrastructure projects are underway or are in the pipeline in Putnam County that are all being performed under PLAs. Dutchess County

Dutchess County

  • Deputy County Executive Ron Hicks reported a recently-bid HVAC project with the county, valued at approximately $20 million will be performed under a PLA. He also related that significant progress has been made with the area’s building trades on both the use of PLAs and apprenticeship training.

Orange County

  • As part of his report on industry work in the region, Todd Diorio of the Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council said a Project Labor Agreement is close to being finalized with the New York State Department of Transportation on the Exit 122 improvement project, which is projected to be valued at approximately $85 million. That job is a precursor to what could be $1 billion in improvements to Route 17 in Orange and Sullivan counties that could include a third lane in each direction in some stretches of the roadway.
  • Specific elements of the Route 17 expansion project are now being studied by NYSDOT. Talks are also being finalized on a PLA for the New York City Upstate Design-Build project in partnership with the building trades in Westchester County. In addition, the Hudson Valley Building Trades have initiated discussions on a PLA for projects over $35 million at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Diorio reported.

Westchester & Putnam

  • Jeff Loughlin, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties, offered praise to all elected officials in attendance as well as the building trades officials throughout the region that have worked tirelessly to negotiate PLAs on major projects. He applauded Putnam County Execuitve Kevin Byrne for agreeing to the first series of PLAs during the early days of his administration.
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