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Andrew Cuomo

WNYC News

Cuomo's Speech Stokes the Progressive Base

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

WNYC

In his first state of the state in 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo embraced tax cuts and spending cuts.  A year ago, it was economic development. This year, with Democrats on the march nationally and a new ally in the state Senate leadership, Cuomo is embracing his liberal side.

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WNYC News

In State of State, Cuomo Makes Progressive Pivot

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

WNYC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the case for a progressive policy agenda in his third annual state of the state, pivoting towards issues such as women’s equality, raising the minimum wage, campaign finance reform, reducing greenhouse gases emissions and enacting gun control.

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Transportation Nation

NY Gov Plans for Flood-Proof Subways, Open Transpo Data, Coastal Barriers (Full Document)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The new Tappan Zee Bridge features prominently in the heroic graphic cover of the New York State 2013 State of the State book. (Click to enlarge)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to flood-proof the NYC subway system using inflatable bladders, roll down gates and new pumps.

He wants to install a statewide network of electric car charging stations.

Those were some of the ideas advanced in his annual  State of the State speech and accompanying 300 page book detailing his agenda for 2013.

The books cover shows a new Tappan Zee bridge rising over a flood-ravaged home, with the capitol building in New York as the connecting image.   Get it?

We've pulled out some of the parts related to transportation and infrastructure for you. Most of them fall under the heading of Sandy rebuilding and storm resilience.

Here some bullet points (not including the Adirondack Whitewater rafting challenge.)

Page 233: "Take Immediate Steps to Protect Transportation Systems Against Future Storm Events

"New York State’s transportation infrastructure encompasses a vast network of Interstates, state highways, local roads, public transit systems, waterways, bike networks, and walking facilities. Our transportation systems link to airports and marine ports that connect New York to the rest of the country and the world. Downstate, New York City boasts the most comprehensive and complex transportation network in the country that supports a region of national and global significance. Overall, the State’s transportation infrastructure is vital to the health of our economy, environment, and well-being.

"Recent severe events, such as Superstorm Sandy, Tropical Storm Lee, Hurricane Irene and the 2010 snowstorm, have revealed vulnerabilities in our transportation infrastructure. Much of it is aging and susceptible to damage from extreme weather events or seismic threats, and many facilities, such as tunnels and airports, have been built in locations that are increasingly at risk of flooding. Steps must be taken to make the State’s transportation infrastructure more resilient to future severe events. To protect and maintain our economy, mobility and public safety, Governor Cuomo has sought federal support to repair and mitigate our transportation systems to better withstand future threats.

"The following measures should be taken to make our transportation systems stronger in the face of future storms. With federal assistance, these measures can and will be taken by the MTA and other State agencies and authorities to harden our transportation systems against future threats:

  • Flood-proof subways and bus depots with vertical roll-down doors, vent closures, inflatable bladders, and upsized fixed pumps (with back-up power sources);
  • Mitigate scour on road and rail bridges with strategically placed riprap and other steps;
  • Replace metal culverts with concrete on roads in flood-prone areas;
  • Providing elevated or submersible pump control panels, pump feeders, and tide gates to address flooding at vulnerable airports;
  • Install reverse flow tide gates to prevent flooding of docks, berths, terminal facilities, and connecting road and rail freight systems, and harden or elevate communication and electrical power infrastructure that services port facilities; and
  • Upgrade aged locks and movable dams to allow for reliable management of water levels and maintain embankments to protect surrounding communities from flooding.

 

We reported earlier in the week base on a draft report, the NYS2100 commission to harden NY against future storms recommended among other things, a new bus rapid transit system. Here is how results of the NYS 2100 commission are summarized officially in Cuomo's book.

Page 225: "The NYS2100 Commission reviewed the vulnerabilities faced by the State’s infrastructure systems and have worked to develop specific recommendations that can be implemented to increase New York’s resilience in five main areas: transportation, energy, land use, insurance, and infrastructure finance. The Commission seeks to:

• Identify immediate actions that should be taken to mitigate or strengthen existing infrastructure systems—some of which suffered damage in the recent storms—to improve normal functioning and to withstand extreme weather more effectively in the future;
• Identify infrastructure projects that would, if realized over a longer term, help to bring not only greater climate resilience but also other significant economic and quality of life benefits to New York State’s communities;
• Assess long-term options for the use of “hard” barriers and natural systems to protect coastal communities;
• Create opportunities to integrate resilience planning, protection and development approaches into New York’s economic development decisions and strategies; and
• Shape reforms in the area of investment, insurance and risk management related to natural disasters and other emergencies."

 

Cuomo also promises more open data, which would include quicker access to transportation data held in State Agencies -- several other states including New Jersey and Illinois already do this.

Page 203: "Open New York will provide easy, single-stop access to statewide and agency-level data, reports, statistics, compilations and information. Data will be presented in a common, downloadable, easy-to-access format, and will be searchable and mappable. The Open New York web portal will allow researchers, citizens, business and the media direct access to high-value data, which will be continually added to and expanded, so these groups can use the data to innovate for the benefit of all New Yorkers."

 

And here's the lofty language used around the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which we have covered extensively.

Page ix: "We set out to bridge the divide between yesterday and tomorrow, what was and what can be, dysfunction and performance, cynicism and trust, gridlock and cooperation to make government work.
And we are.

Look at our progress on replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge. We did in one year what was only talked about for the past ten years. The new Tappan Zee Bridge is BIG, BOLD and BEAUTIFUL. [Emphasis original]

My friends, I would like to say that our job is done. But, we have much more to do."

 

And in more detail on page 4: "Governor Cuomo, working with the State Legislature, enacted a new law allowing the use of design-build techniques on New York Works projects.1 This streamlines the contracting process by holding a single contractor accountable for both the design of the project and its actual construction, with the potential to save 9 to 12 months on the project timeline for bridge repair and construction.

"The centerpiece of the New York Works infrastructure program is the replacement of the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge in the Hudson Valley, which has been needed for years. Plans for a new bridge were announced more than ten years ago. The State held 430 public meetings and explored 150 different bridge concepts. But New Yorkers still had not seen any results. Governor Cuomo put forward a plan for a new bridge that considered the future transit needs of the region; the plan increases lanes for drivers, creates emergency lanes and shoulders to handle accidents, includes a pedestrian and bike lane for the benefit of local communities, and will boost the economy of the region by creating and sustaining 45,000 jobs. And about one year later, on December 17, 2012, the Thruway Authority awarded a contract for the new bridge at a cost $800 million less than the next lowest bidder and approximately $2 billion less than the original estimate. Work on construction will begin in 2013.
New York’s typically high energy costs have long been a barrier to growth of the state economy. The Energy Highway initiative, introduced in the 2012 State of the State address, is a centerpiece of the Governor’s Power NY agenda, which was put in place to ensure that New York’s energy grid is the most advanced in the nation and to promote increased business investment in the state. In October 2012, the Energy Highway Blueprint was launched, identifying specific actions to modernize and expand the state’s electric infrastructure. The comprehensive plan, supported by up to $5.7 billion in public and private investments, will add up to 3,200 megawatts of additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean power generation."

 

Full document here:

NY State of the State Book by

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WNYC News

Watch: Gov. Cuomo State of the State Address

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to lay out an ambitious agenda for 2013, including major gun-control legislation. Watch the speech live and Tweet us your thoughts @WNYC.

+ Since Last State of the State, A Mixed Bag for Cuomo 
Cuomo to Propose Gun Control Measures

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WNYC News

Since Last State of the State, A Mixed Bag for Cuomo

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

WNYC

A year ago, in his State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dramatically proposed the world's largest convention center near JFK airport, $15 billion in infrastructure investments, restructuring the state's pension program, and public financing of elections.  As we head into the 2013 state of the state, here's a tally of where those promises ended up.

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WNYC News

Impasse Between Cuomo and Senate on Gun Measures

Monday, January 07, 2013

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Republicans in the Senate remain at an impasse over gun control legislation — just two days before the State of the State address. Meanwhile, the State Comptroller says he’s thinking of divesting the state’s pension fund from investments in gun manufacturers.

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Transportation Nation

Draft Report: To Withstand Storms, Build a Bigger Bus System

Monday, January 07, 2013

MTA "Bus Bridge" After Sandy replaced some subway service (NY MTA photo)

To better survive the economic impact of big storms like Sandy, New York needs a "world class" bus rapid transit system.   That's one of the major recommendations in a draft report commissioned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on how to rebuild New York infrastructure post-Sandy.

Bus Rapid Transit -- basically, fast buses which run on segregated lanes where users pay off board -- mimics a subway system by planning bus routes that can run almost as quickly through streets as trains can underground.

Such a system could be less vulnerable to floods and more able to restart service after big storms.  It would also be able to connect neighborhoods that would otherwise be stranded by subway service disruptions.

"A world class BRT network would enhance the resilience and redundancy of the overall transit system," according to a draft copy of the report which was leaked to the New York Times.  The report contained no specific recommendations for funding the system.

It also doesn't address the thorny political question which frequently accompanies BRT proposals -- that of of turning over road space traditionally used by cars to buses only.

The recommendation is part of a set of proposals drawn up by the NYS2100 Commission, one of three large commissions set up by Governor Cuomo to address rebuilding New York in the wake of storm Sandy, which caused over $30 billion in damage.   The two other commissions, on emergency response and preparedness, delivered their findings directly to the governor last week.  No word on when the final 2100 report will be presented to the Governor, or whether or how he'll adopt its recommendations.

BRT advocates, like the Institute for Transportation Development Policy, argue that BRT can be built far more quickly and cheaply than subways. The Second Avenue subway has been under development for half a century, by contrast.

"Financial support from the State would be welcome in helping to bring New York City’s ongoing bus system improvement efforts closer to world class ‘gold standard’ BRT," said ITDP CEO Walter Hook in a statement.  "A world-class BRT system would not only have fully dedicated lanes that keep the buses separate from traffic, and off-board fare collection, but also beautiful iconic stations with platforms that allow people to step directly onto the bus."

The NYS2100 commission is co-chaired by Rockefeller Foundation Chairwoman Judith Rodin and financier Felix Rohatyn. (Rockefeller also funds Transportation Nation.)

The Governor's office didn't comment on the draft report, and an MTA spokesman, Adam Lisberg, said the report's recommendations had not been shared with the MTA.

During storm Sandy, the MTA's temporary "bus bridge," which replaced subway service during the period when all the East River tunnels were flooded, came as close to New York has seen of having a true BRT.   Though there were long lines to board the buses, the buses, aided by police officers stationed at every corner, zipped through city streets.  The ride from the East Village to Barclay's Center in Brooklyn took about 12 minutes.

The city has also installed several "select bus service" lines, which adopt some features of BRT, including off-board payment.

"BRT corridors that serve as connectors to the subway system would provide riders with muliple options for connections and access to the core," the report said.

The draft report suggests creating a bus line that would run the length of southern Brooklyn, connecting the D, F, B and Q lines,  and a east-west corridor connecting  neigborhoods like Bedford Stuyvesant to lines that run through Brownstone Brooklyn, Midwood, and Coney Island.

The draft report notes that transit ridership has increased 60 percent since 1990, but bus line speeds overall have decreased by 11 percent.

 

 

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WNYC News

Cuomo To Outline Gun Restrictions and Post-Sandy Vision in Annual Albany Address

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Governor Andrew Cuomo will lay out his agenda for his third year in office this week when he delivers his State of the State address on Wednesday. More gun restrictions and the governor’s vision for post-Sandy New York are likely to top his updated his priority list.

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Schoolbook

War of Words Escalates over Eval Deal

Friday, January 04, 2013

The teachers union is ratcheting up its dispute with the mayor over teacher evaluations, by airing a new television spot that accuses Bloomberg of being the obstacle. The two sides must reach a deal in less than two weeks, or the city will lose $250 million in state aid.

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Schoolbook

Cuomo Warns Teacher Eval Deadline is Real

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state's deadline for a teacher evaluation deal in two weeks is a "hard deadline," squashing any hopes for a state extension if the city and the teachers union can't reach an agreement.

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WNYC News

With Vote in Sight, Fate of Sandy Mitigation Aid Still Uncertain

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Even though House Speaker John Boehner has vowed to bring the $60 billion Sandy aid package to a vote by January 15, it’s still uncertain how much aid can actually get through Congress.

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WNYC News

NY, NJ Leaders Bash House for Failing to Vote on Sandy Bill

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Jersey and New York's leaders on both sides of the aisle are blasting the House Republican leadership's decision to keep the Sandy aid bill from getting a vote on Tuesday.

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WNYC News

Jeff Klein: The Bronx Democrat Keeping the GOP in Power

Friday, December 21, 2012

State Senator Jeff Klein used to be a party loyalist.  He became a State Senator by arguing his opponent was too cozy with Republicans. But now, Klein's the one who's teaming up with the GOP.

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WNYC News

Cuomo, Legislature Talk about Gun Control Legislation

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo is in talks with legislative leaders on a gun control package that he could introduce as part of his State of the State message on January 9.

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WNYC News

Roiling Race, MTA Chief Makes Plans to Run for Mayor

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WNYC

UPDATED. MTA Chief Joe Lhota is preparing to step down from his job to enter the race for mayor of New York City.  The decision, which has been privately and publicly backed by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, roils both the 2013 race and the future of the MTA as it faces $5.2 billion in reconstruction costs after the devastation caused by Sandy. 

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WNYC News

CEOs, Governors Push for Sandy Storm Aid

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Thursday issued a powerful plea to Congress: Don't leave for the holidays until you decide on aid for states battered by Sandy.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Begins Outlining Agenda for Next Year

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants backing from the State Senate on a number of issues he’s dubbed his “litmus test,” including raising the minimum wage and reforming New York City’s stop-and-frisk policies, as well as campaign finance reform. 

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WNYC News

Cuomo Says He Won't Get in Middle of 'Intramural' Senate Fight

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear Wednesday that he continues to have no interest in inserting himself into what he described as an “intramural” political fight between senate Democratic factions.

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WNYC News

Learning From Irene, Lessons Guide NY Officials on Sandy

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Despite its relatively small cost ($1.3 billion awarded so far in federal aid for the double wallop of Irene and tropical storm Lee), the experience of going through Irene is giving New York’s state and federal officials a leg up on Sandy recovery efforts. It’s also helping them to manage expectations.

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WNYC News

Mayor Says Sandy Funds Won't Pit City Against State

Friday, December 07, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he's confident money given to the state for Sandy recovery will make its way down to New York City.

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