Cuomo vetoes bill on ramp inspections

Cuomo Vetoes Bill Mandating Ramp Inspections

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Monday vetoed a bill that would have bolstered inspections of parking ramps across New York.

The Legislature passed the measure in June, but Cuomo said the bill was inconsistent with existing laws that oversee inspection of the ramps.

"I fully agree that parking structures must be inspected and maintained to ensure they remain safe for drivers," Cuomo wrote in his veto message.

"However, this bill is fundamentally flawed and cannot be implemented as currently drafted."

Lawmakers in the Southern Tier pressed for the bill after an investigation in 2015 by Gannett Central New York Media found New York has no laws or regulations requiring public or private parking structures to undergo structural inspections.

There was a partial collapse of a parking ramp at UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, Broome County, in July 2015. In 2006, portions of the ramp at the South Avenue Parking Garage in Rochester collapsed.

The bill would have required the inspections to be done by licensed professional engineers, and advocates said the law would have been the first of its kind in the nation.

“We are very disappointed with the veto of our bill that would have ensured the safety and structural inspections of parking structures throughout the state," the bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, Broome County, and Sen. Thomas O'Mara, R-Big Flats, Chemung County, said in a statement.

Cuomo said he will direct the secretary of state and the state's Code Council to review existing laws and determine whether additional inspections of parking structures are needed, saying, "I am fully committed to ensuring the safety of our citizens."

The bill would have required the state to update its building codes to allow for inspections of parking structures every five years -- as well as conduct immediate inspections after natural disasters.

But Cuomo said the bill would require municipalities to submit their inspections to the Code Council. But he said local governments are in charge of the inspections and enforcement of local codes.

Also, local governments already are have to perform periodic fire safety and property-maintenance inspections every three years. So the new bill would be repetitive, he said.

"This bill would unnecessarily duplicate efforts and require municipalities to expend additional resources, even in cases where there was no cause for concern," Cuomo wrote.

He added the Code Council is statutorily tasked to review any changes to the law, and it hadn't reviewed the bill.

Lupardo and O'Mara said they would continue to seek ways to bolster the inspections of parking garages, saying they will talk with state officials about next steps.

"This result does not end our resolve to ensure we see action on this critical public safety issue," they said.


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