LEGISLATIVE PRESS RELEASE
Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – Fishkill) is asking President Obama to support Scaffold Law reform that would save state and federal taxpayers $390 million on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Lalor released a letter to President Obama as the president visited the Tappan Zee site to tout new infrastructure investment.
“New York’s trial lawyer-friendly Scaffold Law will add $390 million to cost of new Tappan Zee Bridge,” said Lalor. “The new bridge is desperately needed. Washington and the states have long ignored our nation’s infrastructure and now it is crumbling. But we won’t be able to invest in infrastructure if we throw away tax dollars with giveaways to special interest groups.”
The Scaffold Law imposes “absolute liability” on builders and property owners for any elevation-related injuries. If a worker was drunk on the job and falls, injuring himself, the builder bears full responsibility. This drives up the cost of insurance in New York, making everything in the state more expensive. As a result, infrastructure projects in New York cost 10% more than they should, including the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
Lalor continued, “President Obama is concerned that Congress won’t fund more infrastructure spending. The projects are expensive and Congress is wary of wasteful spending. Congress is right to be wary. New York’s Scaffold Law is going to cost taxpayers $390 million. President Obama could convince Congress that infrastructure spending won’t go to waste by supporting Scaffold Law reform in New York. Assembly bill A.3104, backed by Democrat legislators, would reform New York’s antiquated Scaffold Law. The reform will ensure that tax dollars go to infrastructure investments, not giveaways for special interest groups.”
“The rumored toll for the new Tappan Zee Bridge is as a high as $15,” Lalor added. “That’s an outrageous toll. Middle-class families can’t afford to pay $15 to cross a bridge. Part of that toll is due to the trial lawyers and the Scaffold Law. We can invest all we want in infrastructure, but if we end up with bridge tolls that your average family can’t afford, what was the point?”
Lalor concluded, “We owe it to taxpayers to deliver infrastructure investments at the lowest cost possible. President Obama, please don’t let New York waste federal and state tax dollars. Don’t build a bridge with a toll that puts middle-class families in the poor house. With your support, we can pass these reforms, continue to invest in infrastructure and save tax dollars.”