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Velázquez: Obama Jobs Plan Would Recoup Lost Construction Jobs

Friday, September 16, 2011

Construction at World Trade Center site on March 31, 2011 Construction at World Trade Center site on March 31, 2011 (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

If enacted, President Obama's jobs plan would create more than 27,000 jobs in New York City's hard-hit construction industry, through new infrastructure spending, according to a report prepared by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan).

Velázquez said nearly $3 billion could be made available for roads and bridges in New York City.

Tom Wright, executive director of the Regional Plan Association, a civic group, said two ongoing projects could really use the cash: the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, which would link the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Grand Central Station.

"These are critical projects that we need to keep moving ahead," Wright said.

Other construction jobs deemed to be "shovel ready" include the extension of the number 7 train line and a new water filtration plant.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the city’s recently-approved capital budget contains plenty of projects which could be started quickly, if there were funding. “Certainly everything in year one is shovel-ready. Anything in year two is in essence shovel-ready, and things can quickly be made shovel-ready” she said.

The city lost 20,000 construction jobs between 2008 and 2010, so the Obama plan would more than make up for those losses, by Velázquez' calculation.

However, Velazquez acknowledged this kind of spending is not popular with her Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives.

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