FOCUS FORUM: I-81 Status Report

5-20-16 NYSDOT


Friday, May 20th, 2016 – 7:30 am to 8:45 am
in City Hall Commons Atrium at
201 E. Washington Street, Syracuse, NY

Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll and
 Project Director Mark Frechette
as they present updates on the I-81 Viaduct Project.



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Speaker Biographies

Matthew J. Driscoll, New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner

On July 2, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Matthew Driscoll as the 12th Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation.  Commissioner Driscoll leads a department of 8,300 employees with an annual capital program of $3.7 billion.

From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Driscoll served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), which provides low-cost financing to local governments for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.  It is the largest and most successful state revolving loan fund in the nation, managing more than $12 billion in assets.  In 2013, Commissioner Driscoll implemented a new business model at the EFC, creating an improved and more efficient use of financial resources designed to stimulate projects across the state.

EFC ended the 2014 fiscal year with more than $2.3 billion in financings and refundings to local governments – the largest single-year total in EFC’s history – and New York State once again led the nation with the largest investment in wastewater infrastructure. Under Mr. Driscoll’s leadership, EFC also extended its award-winning Green Innovation Grant Program, keeping New York at the forefront of “green” urban and infrastructure planning.

On September 12, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Mr. Driscoll to the Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments. The Board delivers targeted restructuring strategies and long-term solutions to assist New York municipalities under fiscal stress.

Mr. Driscoll also serves as a member of Governor Cuomo’s Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT).  To assist in the progress of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, the assessment team conducts a first-hand review of each of the ten region’s job creation and economic development efforts.

From 2001 through 2009, Mr. Driscoll served as the 52nd Mayor of the City of Syracuse.  Elected to two terms, Mr. Driscoll’s tenure in office was distinguished by his environmental and sustainability initiatives.  As Mayor, Mr. Driscoll’s action plan for energy conservation, sustainability initiatives and environmental protection efforts earned Syracuse the title of “The Emerald City” and recognition by “Popular Science Magazine” as one of the nation’s greenest cities (ranked #17).

Mayor Driscoll also instituted a performance-based accountability program for city government – SyraStat – which saved millions of dollars for city taxpayers. In addition, he helped make the City of Syracuse the first city in the country to offer free college tuition to every student who graduates with a Regents diploma and led comprehensive planning and development of downtown and neighborhood housing development.

Mark E. Frechette, New York State Department of Transportation I-81/I-690 Interchange Project Director and Central New York Director of Planning and Program Management

Mark began working with the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) in 1985 as a Construction Inspector in the North Country.  He steadily moved up the ranks in the organization, becoming a Highway Designer and then a Bridge Designer responsible for multiple highway and bridge designs. When he became a licensed engineer he was promoted to Project Management Supervisor where he supervised 100’s of projects and 40 project managers in a program in excess of $500 million.  Mark has held the Director of Planning positions for both the North Country and Central New York.  He manages the day to day operations of Planning, Program Management, Project Development and Program Management.  He is responsible for the development and execution of the Regions Capital Program to improve pavements, Bridges, culverts, safety and other multimodal transportation activities.

Mark became the Acting Regional Director in the North Country in July 2009.  He was responsible for leading the successful delivery of the Interstate 781 (Fort Drum Connector)  which was the largest transportation project ever built in the Region since the early 1960’s when the Interstate was built.  The new Interstate was open to traffic in late 2013.  He managed multiple extreme weather events like Hurricane Irene and Sandy, major bridge hit emergencies and serious motor vehicle accidents.  Mark returned to Central New York in March of 2014 to become the Project Director for the

I-81/I-690 Interchange Project and resume his role as the Director of Planning and Program Management in Central New York.  The I-81 Viaduct project is one of the largest transportation projects that DOT has ever had to deal with and it poses many challenges to provide a transportation solution that enhances the livability, sustainability and economic vitality of greater Syracuse.

On a personal note, Mark and his wife Jacki have three sons, Justin, Zachary and Jonah.  Mark loves sports and has coached soccer, basketball, and baseball for the YMCA League and also for his children’s school leagues.  He has served as an Officer on the Board of Directors of the American Little League in Watertown, and is an active member of the NYS Association of Transportation Engineers.


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