New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $150 billion infrastructure plan for the next five years that builds on an existing $100 billion capital project initiative launched in 2016.
He said the program, announced last week, would be funded starting in the 2020 fiscal year by a combination of state, federal, local government and public authority dollars along with private investment. The amount of planned borrowing was not revealed, but Cuomo said state debt would remain at “affordable” levels.
"After a half century of neglect and inaction, New York is once again building for the future, and our infrastructure investments are already creating hundreds of thousands of jobs," Cuomo said in a statement. "This record commitment to infrastructure, which builds on our already thriving $100 billion program, will drive our momentum forward and demonstrates yet again that with vision and ambition.”
Cuomo is seeking a third term as governor this year amid grumbling about the state of the subways in New York City, which are run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state entity dominated by the governor's appointees.
New York’s current $100 billion infrastructure plan fueled projects like the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge connecting Westchester and Rockland counties; the first phase of the long-stalled Second Avenue subway expansion; and water improvement projects across the state.
Cuomo’s new infrastructure initiative earmarks $66 billion for transportation, projects including plans for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, reconstructing Van Wyck Expressway in Queens to improve access to John F. Kennedy International Airport, and upgrades to the MTA’s subway system. An additional $32 billion is targeted toward enhancing environmental facilities.
Anthony Figliola, vice president of Uniondale, N.Y.-based consulting firm Empire Government Strategies, said Cuomo’s focus on improving mass transit access in New York City is a positive, but he would also like to see a push for enhanced train connectivity from Long Island into Manhattan.
A $168.3 billion budget signed by Cuomo in late March included some infrastructure components such as design-build approval to expedite construction of new jails to replace the Rikers Island Jail Complex and reconstruction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. The 2019 fiscal year spending plan also includes a provision to seize New York City revenues to fund half of the MTA’s $836 million phase 1 subway improvement plan.