Barrett calls for Safe Water Action Program, SWAP, in effort to maintain infrastructure

Phil Barrett, a Republican and the Clifton Park SupervisorPhil Barrett, a Republican and the Clifton Park Supervisor

By Cady Kuzmich
Gazette Reporter

Clifton Park — On Jan. 17, a one hundred year old water main burst in Troy, largely cutting off the water supply in Waterford and Halfmoon, highlighting the region’s aging infrastructure. In the weeks since the water main break, local representatives and town officials have created a plan designed to prevent similar situations from occurring.

Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden are calling to “swap”out the old infrastructure with their Safe Water Action Program.

Barrett, who initially got the ball rolling for SWAP, said Clifton Park would fully support a program which would allocate annual infrastructure funding to each municipality “through a fair and equitable formula.”

He explained, “If municipal leaders received funds annually for infrastructure improvements, we would be able to identify projects and complete engineering studies before the Spring construction season. Multiply this activity across every municipality in New York State and the amount of ‘shovel ready’ jobs would be tremendous.”

According to a press release from Assemblyman Tedisco’s chief of staff, Adam Kramer, SWAP “would provide annual funding to all municipalities to swap out old, deteriorating pipes and water mains to better maintain the state’s infrastructure.”

Kramer noted that a significant portion of the state’s infrastructure is aging, “and in some cases, dates back to the Civil War.”

Tedisco compared the aging infrastructure to a “monster lurking under the aging infrastructure of our towns and cities in New York that can strike at any time and catastrophically impact the safety of our drinking water and the ability of taxpayers to afford the necessary repairs.”

“One of government’s top priorities is to ensure the safety of our drinking water and sewer system,” he added.  

Tedisco and McLaughlin have written to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan urging them to include funding for SWAP in the 2016-2017 state budget.