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Builders meet transition team.

As inauguration day nears, members of New York's construction business and other industries are bringing the concerns of The Big Apple to President-elect Clinton and his transition team.

Louis Coletti, president of The New York Building Congress, addressed a transition team panel in Atlanta and stressed the importance of an aggressive infrastructure push to restore jobs and foster economic growth. Meanwhile, this week Charles Uribe, of AJ Contracting and other leaders of New York City commerce, attended a national economic summit in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Much Help Still Needed

Appearing before members of Clinton stransportation and economic transition teams, Coletti called for a short-term infrastructure stimulus program despite indications that the economy may be on the mend.

"Don't be fooled by economic statistics," he said he told the committees. "Especially in New York, we're undergoing difficult circumstances."

Coletti told the panelists that some 7,000 infrastructure projects that are "on the table" should be allowed to proceed.

He also urged that the definition of infrastructure be expanded to include hospitals, schools, parks and cultural facilities. According to Coletti, U.S. cities suffer from "a deficit in quality of life as we do a financial deficit in the national budget."

The New York Building Congress is the official New York Chapter of The Rebuild America Coalition, which conducted the meeting held at the Stouffer Concourse Hotel in Atlanta. The Building Congress represents management and labor in the construction and design fields, which have both been hit by a major slowdown and massive layoffs.

Coletti believes the $20 billion that Clinton has earmarked for infrastructure, in his "putting-people-first ", agenda should be increased to $35 billion and that the additional funds be allocated to quality of life items.

In order to receive supplemental federal infrastructure funding, Coletti contends, cities and states should be forced to maintain their spending levels. The federal monies, he said, should not be used to replace what normally would have been spent.

Supporting Voice

As one of more than 100 invited guests from around the country, Charles Uribe, chairman of the board of AJ Contracting, was expected this week to voice the concerns of the New York construction industry at the economic summit in Little Rock. Billed by Clinton as a forum to establish "consensus on economic challenge", the gathering was to bring economic, business, labor leaders, a number of small business owners, and interest group representatives together with the transition team and the president- and vice president-elect. According to Jim Capalino, executive vice president of AJ who accompanied Uribe, his colleague's mission was "to re-affirm and carry the message" of the New York Building Congress and to emphasize the need for a short-term infrastructure stimulus program. The benefits of the short-term initiative, he said, would be three-fold: To create jobs, to maintain the country's fragile competitive edge, and to nurture the faint signs of economic recovery.

"That recovery is not going to be sustained without a concerted effort to substantially increase the level of infrastructure investment because it is so clearly tied to job growth," said Capalino.

The summit kicked off Sunday with a reception, and several working sessions on different economic growth issues were to begin Monday morning at 8:00 a.m and continue until Tuesday at 2 p.m. Each session, televised live, was to be presided over by either President-elect Clinton or Vice President-elect Gore. Other economic officials and business leaders from New York were asked to come to Little Rock. They include: Bruce Ratner, president, Forest City Ratner Companies; Vincent Tese, president of the New York State Urban Development Corporation; Carol O'Cleirecain, commissioner of the New York Department of Finance; and Ken Brody.

-Therese Fitzgerald
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:New York Building Congress president Louis Coletti addresses panelists from President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 16, 1992
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