New Pattern for Progress report addresses infrastructure


NEWBURGH – Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, the region’s private, research and think-tank organization, has just issued its latest report, this one on Hudson Valley infrastructure.
The report looks at three areas of interest – rail safety, fair share allocation of state transportation resources, and capacity of regional water and sewer systems to handle development.
Pattern’s recommendations for rail safety include increased oversight of track and bridge maintenance. Crude oil transport by rail has increased tenfold while the oversight has not shown growth, the study said.
It also recommends allocation of funding for rail infrastructure inspection through the state transportation department and enhanced safety standards for crude oil train transport through positive train control, speed limits, tanker requirements and disaster response planning.
On water and wastewater investments, the study said the region can expect to see an increased demand for its water resources and wastewater treatment capacity.
Knowledge of those resources and how to plan for their protection should be on every municipality’s mind, said March Gallagher, chief strategy officer at Pattern.
“We definitely have capacity in every county and I think we were pleased to see there is water and sewer capacity throughout the region,” Gallagher said.  “There are some areas where there is less capacity than you would like to have.”
The study suggested that development be concentrated where water and wastewater infrastructure has capacity and that infrastructure funding be required for local government capital plans.
The Pattern report also said state transportation department funding for the Mid-Hudson region appears to fall short of “fair allocation” by $143 million over a two-year period. It suggests the state make resource allocation visible and public through better data, adopt funding allocation models that create transparency and equity; and prioritize infrastructure investments through revenue sources “such as pegging the federal gas tax to inflation to support the Highway Trust Fund.”
Exploring Hudson Valley infrastructure is the focus of a conference held by Pattern today (Monday).