Business leaders cite bridge cost in call for scaffold law reform

Business leaders want reform of the state’s scaffold law, saying millions of taxpayer dollars were squandered because of it during construction of the new Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge.
The businesses leaders gathered for the call at Pierson Park in Tarrytown, in the shadow of the new $4 billion span. The say the scaffold law, which holds construction companies 100 percent liable for injuries such as falls, added between $200 million and $400 million to the cost of the bridge project.
Tom Stebbins, of Lawsuit Reform Alliance, says the law has deterred development projects across the state.
“Statewide it’s estimated to cost $785 million a year to the public of New York,” says Stebbins. “Think about how many schools we could build. How many more bridges we could build. How we could fix the MTA with that money that we're wasting on a law that only exists here in New York and has no discernible benefit."
And contractors say their costs have gone up too.
“The scaffold law has impacted us tremendously,” said Chris Murphy, of Murphy Brothers Contracting. “In the past couple of years our liability insurance has gone up 60 percent.”