SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The biggest rift among Democratic candidate Tony Malavenda and Republican candidate Ryan McMahon came over the Interstate-81 project Wednesday in a debate at Syracuse.com. The two sparred over who the “winners and losers” will be, and whether the project will resolve the physical segregation of communities that exists within Syracuse.
They also disagreed on a proposal for tax breaks for a large warehouse in Clay, as well as tax increases for the city.
While both candidates have high hopes for modernizing Syracuse’s infrastructure, their plans with I-81 differ drastically. While McMahon hopes to mitigate the impacts by keeping the western suburbs and Dewitt residents satisfied, Malavenda is citing the community grid alternative as the “only [logical] option.”
“Much of the complaints from our suburbs is the fact that regional economies are based around the traffic,” McMahon said. “So we’re looking at economic development strategies to help drive more tourism and still create connectivity with our lakefront and inner harbor.”
Malavenda challenged McMahon about the Clay warehouse project.
“It bothers me that we don’t know who the tenant [of the warehouse] is,” Malavenda said. “And I believe that tenant is known… this has got to be something that has been in the works for a long time.”
Community members voiced concerns about the warehouse proposal Tuesday night at a public hearing. But McMahon said he would fight to see this project through and was pleased with its major tax-break deal.
“A business is not going to sign a lease for a property and pay a lot of money until they can operate there,” McMahon said. “This is the largest opportunity we’ve had in a generation.”