As Syracuse prepares for an upcoming I-81 viaduct project — whichever one is eventually chosen — one local group wants to make sure everyone gets a fair chance for a job.
Urban Jobs Task Force, a coalition of organizations and residents of Onondaga County and Syracuse, is raising concerns about racial inequity in construction trade jobs.
They released a report revealing construction projects have been made up of mostly white men who live outside the city.
That includes recent projects like the Syracuse Expo Center, the Lakeview Amphitheater, Hancock Airport and Interstate 690.
The group feels city residents should benefit from the I-81 project, but they worry those living in poverty will get left out.
"We would almost be in a state of emergency. With Syracuse having the highest concentration of minorities in the entire country, we simply cannot afford that,” said Urban Jobs Task Force President Deka Dancil.
The task force is calling on local leaders to help ensure there is an effective pathway to trade jobs before any I-81 project starts.
Right now there are three main options being evaluated for what to do with the stretch of highway that runs through Syracuse: a tunnel, a community grid or simply rebuilding the viaduct as it is.