Orange County Partnership - News

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the need for major infrastructure investment on May 26 when rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on May 26 marking the reopening of the NYSE.

Gov. Cuomo Says State Must ‘Think Big’ and Rebuild Infrastructure to Stimulate U.S. Economy

By John Jordan

NEW YORK—Harkening back to America’s past, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said recently that with the nation’s economy crippled from the Coronavirus, now is the time to make major infrastructure investment to create jobs and stimulate the economy.


“We know that government can stimulate the economy. This country has done it in the past where we have engaged in major public works that made the nation better and when we did it, we stimulated the economy,” the governor said at a press conference at the New York Stock Exchange on May 26. “You look at all the great things that this nation did, building the Hoover Dam and the Lincoln Tunnel, all these magnificent public improvements, that made the nation, the nation—and created thousands of jobs at the same time.”


In terms of state investment in infrastructure, the governor reported that his administration will accelerate the development of a number of high-profile projects—the Empire Penn Station project and the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. “Let's do things that we've been talking about for a long time but we've never actually pulled the trigger on,” he noted.


Another project he said the state should move forward on is building cross-state transmission lines to develop that renewable market upstate and satisfy the need downstate.


“We know they have low-cost hydropower in Canada. Let's run the cable, the transmission lines from Canada to New York City to get that power down here and let's stop talking and let's start doing,” he said; “Let's invigorate this whole renewable market.”


The governor traveled to Washington, D.C. on May 27 and met with President Trump and among the topics on their agenda was having the federal government help fund much needed projects nationwide.


During a news conference following their meeting, Cuomo said, according to a CNN report, "It was not about politics. It was not about any of that. It was about what—how do we supercharge the reopening, especially in New York, which has been hardest hit. He later added that he had a "good discussion" with the President.


"He understood what we were talking about. He understood what we need and he's going to be thinking about it, talk to his team. Cuomo said that he expects to talk further with the President next week.


Gov. Cuomo said that agreeing on funding a major infrastructure investment program on the federal level has been a topic of discussion by the Bush, Clinton, Obama and now Trump administrations who have all recognized that the nation has major infrastructure needs that must be addressed in order to remain competitive globally.


“Well, then, do something about it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Don't just talk about it. Everybody's identified the same problem. Democrats and Republicans. But nobody has done anything. If there's ever a time to actually take on this overdue need, of major infrastructure construction, now is the time. There is no better time to build than right now. You need to restart the economy. You need to create jobs. And you need to renew and repair this country's economy. And its infrastructure. Now is the time to do it.”


Gov. Cuomo said that the federal government could help the state fund an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport, noting that New York City is one of the only major cities that has no train from the airport into the central city.


He also stressed that the federal government should help finance the Gateway Tunnel project. “We've been talking about the cross-Hudson tunnels where the Amtrak trains come through that are old and that are crumbling and that if they become a problem, you literally stop Amtrak travel to the entire Northeast. Let's stop the politics on it and let's get it done and let's build those new tunnels,” he said.


Another project on the governor’s wish list is the next extension for the Second Avenue Subway, which would run from 96th Street to 125th Street and would open up that whole 125th Street area. “It would bring a whole new chapter of revitalization to New York City. Let's do that in partnership with the federal government,” he added.


Maureen Halahan, president and chief executive officer of the Orange County Partnership and co-chair of the 17-Forward 86 coalition, said that she hopes the state and federal governments can agree on stimulating further infrastructure investment and that the $500-million project to add a third lane to Route 17 can be one of the projects to be accelerated.


“You want to restart the economy, you want to reopen the economy, let's do something creative. Let's do it fast. Let's put Americans back to work and let's make America better,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It is common sense. It is common sense. So many of the things that we need to do you don't need to be a government expert or an engineer to figure out. It's common sense.”


He added, “You have an infrastructure that's crumbling, you need to jump start the economy, you need to create jobs, do it now.”