Congressman Paul Tonko pushing for new legislation to improve local infrastructure

TROY, NY (NEWS10) – Congressman Paul Tonko was in town Thursday to push his new legislation that would help provide stronger water infrastructure across the county. Troy Mayor Patrick Madden joined Tonko because of the infrastructure problems he’s seen over the past couple months, especially the massive water main break in Troy back in January.

The assistance, quality, and affordability act, or AQUA, would reauthorize and update the safe drinking water act. The bill would allocate more than 21 billion dollars over the next five years to repair aging water infrastructure across the county.

In his short time in office, Mayor Patrick Madden has seen firsthand the consequences of aging pipes in Troy.

“Like it or not in two months in office I’ve become the poster Child for failing infrastructure,” said Madden.

The water main break in Lansingburgh flooded homes, affected water service, and cost the city thousands.

“This went well beyond a mere inconvenience. Schools were closed, as were a number of businesses. It impacted commerce severely,” said Madden.

Representative Paul Tonko called it a prime example of why the AQUA act is needed.

“I know that these are needs that are vital to our growth, our strength as an economy. The legislation comes with a hefty price tag of $3.1 billion. Then for five years, continue to jack that number by 15%,” said Tonko.

But one Tonko said the federal government has to be willing to maintain, upgrade, and replace water lines across the country.

“I call it the hidden infrastructure, out of sight but definitely cannot be out of mind”, said Tonko.

Troy alone has more than 145 miles of water pipes. Madden said it would cost $2 million per mile to replace the system.

“Even if we could afford to put aside 2 and a half billion dollars a year for replacement if my math is correct it would take us 116 years to replace all of our water lines,” said Tonko.

Tonko said he is confident he can get bipartisan support for the legislation.

Coming up at 6, News10 will tell you how much is currently allocated for these types of projects and why Tonko said it’s just not enough.

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