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Economic Development

WNYC News

De Blasio Names New Budget Director

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WNYC

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has named Dean Fuleihan as the city's new director of the Office of Management and Budget. 

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WNYC News

Kingsbridge Armory Ice Complex Nears City Council Decision

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The New York City Council holds a hearing on Thursday to review the construction of what could be the world's largest, indoor ice complex at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Rushed Development Deals

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In 2009, Michael Bloomberg said that zoning was perhaps his biggest legacy. In the final months before he leaves office, the mayor has worked furiously to complete or jump-start development deals. Charles Bagli, New York Times reporter, discusses the various projects around the city, and their lasting impact.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Willets Point Farewell?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Willets Point business owners who agree to make way for redevelopment by November 30 will get the maximum payout. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times staff reporter covering Queens, reports on what's next for the area and for the small auto repair shop owners and workers who have made their livelihoods there.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Midtown East Rezoning, Revised

Monday, August 05, 2013

In response to criticism of his plans for a revamped Midtown East business district, Mayor Bloomberg has added more housing and public space to the proposal for taller office buildings.  Laura KusistoWall Street Journal reporter covering economic development in New York, including housing, jobs, hospitals and city planning, talks about the prospects of the plan.

 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Lessons From the Developing World

Friday, April 26, 2013

Peter Blair Henry, dean of NYU's Stern School of Business and the author of  Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth  (Basic Books, 2013), says developed economies can learn a lot about economic reform from Third World experiences and should follow their own economic advice to developing economies.  Click here for a link to Ten points of D.C. Consensus.

 

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Money Talking

Money Talking: Assessing Mayor Bloomberg's Impact on the Economy

Friday, March 15, 2013

Over his 11 years as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg has pushed for economic development, immigration reform, public health initiatives and gun control, among other issues. 

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WNYC News

Kingsbridge Armory Project in Limbo, Following Delays

Monday, January 28, 2013

Time is running out for one of the Bloomberg Administration's signature economic development projects.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Global Thinking

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, author of Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles, and one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers, looks beyond the BRICs at the global economic picture.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Global Thinking

Friday, December 07, 2012

Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, author of Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles, and just named one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers, looks beyond the BRICs at the global economic picture.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Holds Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to invest more money into promoting the state’s growing wine, beer, and spirits industries, following a day long special summit at the State Capitol.

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WNYC News

Cornell Reveals Plan for Roosevelt Island Campus

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cornell University is for the first time detailing its plans to transform a 12.5-acre site on Roosevelt Island into what university officials claim will be the first information-age research campus designed from the ground up.

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WNYC News

Groups Sue City Over NYU Expansion Plan

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eleven groups opposing New York University's $5 billion expansion plan in Greenwich Village filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday.

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WNYC News

Regional Councils Make Pitch for State Funds

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gov. Andrew Cuomo presided over a day long presentation Tuesday by the state’s ten regional economic development councils, which are set to earn another $750 million in grants.

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Transportation Nation

Interstate? Close Enough

Thursday, July 12, 2012

John Thompson, Polk County Judge and Chairman of the Alliance for I-69 Texas, presents an Interstate 69 sign to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (photo:  i69texasalliance.com)

A new riddle for you: when is an Interstate not an Interstate?

For decades, the criteria for designating new or improved roads as Interstate Highways were fairly straightforward. The Federal Highway Administration would certify “that the segment (a) is built to Interstate design standards and (b) connects to the existing Interstate System.” In short, Interstates had to be Inter-state.

But not any more. With the signing of MAP-21 last week, the law has been changed to do away with requirement (b) and allow disconnected pieces of floating “Interstate”—as long as the segment is “planned to connect to an existing Interstate System segment” in the next 25 years.

This might seem like a strange, even absurd, tweak to make, especially as part of such a contentious bill. But the provenance of the language makes its purpose clear. The change in definition was initially written as a special exception for Interstate 69, the so-called “NAFTA Highway, which has been in the works for twenty years. Congressman Blake Farenthold, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced matching bills last spring in their respective houses. Both are Republicans, but the entire Texas delegation supported the measure in lockstep.

Exceptions already existed to the standard Interstate designation. The non-contiguous states and territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico all have quasi-Interstates that were funded through the Interstate program despite the fact that they don’t meet the normal design criteria and, more obviously, will never connect to the rest of the system (unless we invade British Columbia and build some very impressive tunnels). But the new rule change is notable in that its reason for being is psychological, not geographical.

Existing freeway sections on I-69 route in Texas. Illustration / i69texasalliance.com

In practical terms, the relaxed criteria will allow Texas to erect Interstate 69 signs on about eighty miles of improved highway in the Lower Rio Grand Valley border region, despite the fact that these segments don’t actually connect to other Interstates. This new designation, local officials and businessmen believe, will enhance economic development opportunities, because developers, employers, and freight companies perceive an “Interstate” differently from a U.S. Highway, even if that U.S. Highway is built to Interstate standards.

This “Interstate” branding has been an obsession among the business community in the growing Lower Rio Grande Valley region, which bears the burden of being the largest metropolitan area in the country with no Interstate highway. Back in the mid-1990s, lobbyists for the Interstate 69 coalition (including Tom Delay’s brother Randy) won legislative approval to post “Future Interstate 69 Corridor” signs along U.S. 59, U.S. 281, and U.S. 77, from Texarkana through Houston and down to the Mexican Border.

The Interstate 69 project (about which I wrote a book) is the largest new construction project since the original interstate system, and has not been without controversy. Some states—such as Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana—are building Interstate 69 as a greenfield highway through untouched farms and forests. (And for about seven years, when Interstate 69 was part of Rick Perry’s Trans-Texas Corridor scheme, Texas was planning to do the same.) But other states—such as Kentucky and Texas—chose to upgrade existing highways to Interstate standards.

This is not the first time the rules have been changed to get Interstate 69 signs up faster. Last fall, the Federal Highway Administration made an exception and designated thirty-eight miles of the Western Kentucky Parkway as I-69, even though the road was not up to Interstate standards. Kentucky State Senator Dorsey Ridley told the Henderson Gleaner that the red white and blue signs held more magic than any actual roadwork could. “This will move economic development in a way people don’t realize,” he said “simply by putting up a shield called I-69.” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez agreed, saying in a statement that "these improvements will create jobs now and encourage development in the future."

It’s a sign of our times—pardon the pun—that our public servants hope to create jobs by rebranding roadways, and that a reauthorization bill that failed to increase funding for real physical transformations to our infrastructure nevertheless lowered standards to allow more superficial transformations.

Now if we can just get the definition of “High Speed” rail down to 45 mph...

 

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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WNYC News

Demolishing Javits Would Mean Disrupting a $1B Economy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed allowing a private developer to build the nation’s largest convention center at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. In turn, the state would tear down the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side. But Javits has become the anchor of a nearly $1 billion economy fuelled by convention-goers who don’t necessarily want to convene in Queens.

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WNYC News

LI Awarded More Than $100M in Economic Development Grants

Friday, December 09, 2011

Long Island won big in the regional economic development grants Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week. It's getting $101.6 million compared to New York City's $66 million.

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WNYC News

Chinatown Gets Business Improvement District

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The City Council approved a Business Improvement District (BID) for Manhattan's Chinatown. The BID will take annual fees from local businesses to help clean up streets and attract more customers.

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WNYC News

Bronx Officials Want to Turn Yankee Parking Garage into Hotel

Monday, September 19, 2011

Calling all developers: Community leaders in the Bronx are looking for proposals to replace an underutilized garage near Yankee Stadium with a hotel and conference center.

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