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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

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Teachers Union Fires First Shot in Battle Over Charter School Cap

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Union leaders say charter schools shouldn't be rewarded by Albany lawmakers until they accept more of the most difficult to teach students. 
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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: Report: Big NY Gambling Casino Plan Scrapped

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Associated Press is reporting that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's big plan to build a huge casino and convention center near Kennedy Airport has been scrapped after talks with the developer broke down.

The plan had caused lots of head-scratching among transit advocates, since the area is not now well-served by efficient public transportation to Manhattan -- presumably a destination of many prospective convention goers.

According to the AP Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his grand plan for the nation's largest convention center at Aqueduct race track has been scrapped.

He says the proposal unveiled as a centerpiece of his State of the State speech isn't going forward, but he hopes to have developers compete next year for a project that could include a casino.

Cuomo made the announcement in a late Friday afternoon appearance on WOR Radio.

He says he's talking to other developers after talks broke down with the Genting Organization, which was to provide the funding.

Cuomo said in January the $4 billion convention center would help boost the economy and allow a new use for the Javits Center in Manhattan.

Aqueduct is a possible site for a casino if an amendment to the constitution is passed.

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Transportation Nation

Cuomo's Infrastructure Bank To Fund Parks With $143 Million

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Bear Mountain state park (NYS Parks department photo)

Another media blast from the New York Governor -- his infrastructure bank, New York Works, will fund $143 million worth of parks improvements from ball fields in the Bronx to a bathhouse at Jones Beach to a new ski-lift at Belleayre Ski Mountain in the Catskills, a state-run ski facility.

Like the press blitz a day earlier of $1.2 billion in accelerated roads projects, the announcement was made via ten separate press releases detailing popular projects, each with specially tailored quotes from local lawmakers praising the projects and the governor.

New York Works is Cuomo's new infrastructure bank.  It was enacted in December, though the bill authorizing its funding is less than a week old.

New York works will coordinate capital spending by 45 agencies and authorities.  It will have a governing board of 16, controlled largely by the Governor, though that body has yet to be constituted.

In recent years, Governors have killed big infrastructure projects, and Congress has yet to pass a surface transportation bill.    But Governor Cuomo is taking full political advantage of his new infrastructure bank by pushing out word of popular projects -- which not only provide needed area parks, but also create jobs around the state.

Here are links to the most recent round of press releases.

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks and Historic Sites in the Capital Region

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks and Historic Sites in the Southern Tier

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Project to Upgrade State Park in Central New York

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks and Orda Facilities in the North Country

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Project to Upgrade State Park in the Mohawk Valley

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks in Western New York

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks in Finger Lakes Region

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks in New York City

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks, Historic Sites and a Ski Facility in the Hudson Valley

04.04.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces NY Works Projects to Upgrade State Parks and Historic Sites on Long Island

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Transportation Nation

New York Invests $1.2 Billion in Roads Under New Infra Bank

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

New York is investing $1.2 billion in new, accelerated road and bridge projects, just days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the funding bill for his "New York Works" infrastructure bank.

The funding -- almost ten percent of the entire $15 billion projected spending on infrastructure -- came even before appointees to a 15-member committee to administer the fund were named.

The funding will accelerate road and bridge projects across the state, with the largest single payment -- nearly half a billion dollars -- going to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens in New York City. But there are projects everywhere, from the Hempstead Turnpike in Long Island to the Latta Brook Road in Chemung County to Rt 52 over the Callicoon Creek in Delaware County to Route 9N in Port Henry, in the North Country.

The $1.2 billion in accelerated funding comes on top of $1.6 billion in previously planned spending on roads and bridges. It does not include the more than $5 billion replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, a project which has drawn fire for its lack of mass transit.

In a measure of how Governor Cuomo views the political potency of building new infrastructure, word of the investments came in a series of ten carefully-designed press releases, each targeted to a different media market with quotes praising the governor from local legislators.

The infrastructure bank has won support from business and labor leaders, who see a significant new infusion of funds into construction as a shot in the arm for the economy, particularly upstate.

And while many details of the fund are as yet unreleased, some infrastructure bank experts shrugged off the disbursement of funds before its governing structure has even been named.

"You can't just jump to where we should be," said New York University professor Michael Likosky, who has advised governments on setting of infrastructure banks. "That's a lot of the reason why these things have failed up to now."

Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, was also nonplussed. "These were projects that had to happen," Yaro said, noting that New York has slowly defunded road projects over the years, leaving many roads and bridges in critical condition.

The grand idea of the NY Works fund is that it will coordinate capital spending among 45 agencies and authorities, including the state Department of Transportation, the New York MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Thruway Authority, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and others. The governing body will prioritize and coordinate state projects -- the lack of which can tangle with interest costs, construction materials, and labor availability.

The $1.2 billion in new spending consists of $247 million in state capital funds and $917 million in new federal funds. When it's fully constituted, the fund is supposed to draw in private capital -- but, unlike Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Governor Cuomo hasn't said which private sector investors have indicated they will invest in the fund.

This tranche of funding includes $212 million for bridge decking and structural replacement on 115 bridges, $250 million for 2,000 miles of pavement, and $687 million for "transportation projects of regional or statement significance throughout the state that had been delayed due to resource constraints," according to the press releases.

The Governor's office promises a live web link to on going New York Works projects, but that list is not yet live.

Here are the ten press releases (with lists of projects)

April 2012

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in Western New York as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in the Finger Lakes as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in the Hudson Valley as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in the Capital Region as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects on Long Island as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in the Southern Tier as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in the Mohawk Valley as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in New York City as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in the North Country as Part of NY Works Program

04.03.2012 Governor Cuomo Announces Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects in Central New York as Part of NY Works Program

 

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Transportation Nation

Northeast Rail Reaps Nearly $800 Million Windfall From Fed Funds Returned by Florida -- But Will Trains Be High Speed?

Monday, May 09, 2011

(Photo by StevenM_61 / Flickr - creative commons)

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Penn Station to announce he was giving $795 million to improve rail service in the Northeast. LaHood's largesse is part of a $2 billion award going to rail projects in 15 states-- money that became available after Florida governor Rick Scott canceled rail plans there in February.

But that doesn't mean riders can expect a bullet train to Boston any time soon.

LaHood said northeast corridor train speeds will increase from 135 to 160 miles per hour--but only along open stretches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where Amtrak already moves swiftly. Bottlenecks like hundred year-old bridges and tunnels will continue to slow trains in other parts of the corridor.

The $795 million will fix some, but not all, of those problems. Officials couldn't say how much time might be shaved from popular routes. One transportation expert thought saving 15 minutes between New York City and Washington, DC, was probably the best that could be hoped for from the upcoming round of upgrades. Supporters say Amtrak should greatly increase its reliability, which in itself will save thousands of rider hours.

Petra Todorovich, spokeswoman for the Regional Plan Association, said it would take a $100 billion investment to bring European-style high speed rail to the northeast. She said today's DOT grant will bring long-awaited improvements to the region's rail infrastructure, lifting it to something approaching a state of good repair.

Todorovich said it was about time the federal government spent money on the most heavily trafficked rail corridor in the country, with 250 million passengers per year.

"We were disappointed that the previous grants ignored the northeast corridor," she said. "The previous funding all went to areas that don’t have a market yet. We feel very gratified that that the federal government is directing funding where people rely on rail the most. Even if it doesn’t result in a bullet train overnight, it will result in increased speed and reliability where people use rail the most."

The Brookings Institution's Robert Puentes added: "Concentrating the relocated funding in the Northeast Corridor, California, and parts of the Midwest is a happy byproduct of a difficult process but it is probably where the high speed rail funding should have been concentrated in the first place."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also praised the grant. In a statement, he recalled it's not the first time the state has benefited from Republican governors turning down rail money. "In 2010, Wisconsin and Ohio returned their federal funding," Cuomo said. "Of that money, New York received $7.3 million."

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