Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

I-81 Obstructionists Say the Quiet Part Out Loud

This week, in response to State Supreme Court Justice Gerard Neri’s ruling that additional studies are needed before work to remove the I-81 viaduct through Downtown Syracuse can commence, lawyers for the shadowy group obstructing this important project made an inadvertent admission.

Responding to the ruling, attorneys for Renew 81 for All offered the following comments on the judge’s request for additional information from the State: “This time around, they should come to the conclusion that I-81 needs to exist in the city of Syracuse.” Effectively ditching their longstanding position of advocating for a huge bridge over the city, the obstructionists have said the quiet part out loud. Their efforts have always been about one thing – maintaining the status quo.

Renew 81 for All has used the fantastical notion of a bridge over the city as a distraction to hide their true intentions. Rather than an honest effort at advocating different options to replace the viaduct, their lawsuit is intended to do only one thing – delay.

The parties behind Renew 81 for All have always been something of a mystery. Now that their attorneys have finally come clean, it’s time for the Syracuse community to consider more fully who benefits from the status quo. What organizations or entities have an interest in keeping things the way they are, with a giant highway running through Downtown Syracuse? 

With this inadvertent admission, their lawyers have made it very clear who their clients really are.

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About Me

I am the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, and as Director of the State of Delaware’s Government Information Center. For about six years, I served in the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), and helped pioneer their work with state and local governments. I also led platform evangelism efforts for TTS’ cloud platform, which supports over 30 critical federal agency systems.

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