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Who Had the Better Week—Cuomo or Christie?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Both governors made big investments this week: one in infrastructure, the other in Israel.

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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

New York Governor Cuomo Touting Infra Bank in Election Email

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo briefs the cabinet on the 2012-13 budget (March 27, 2012, Governor's flickr stream)

The Andrew Cuomo 2014 Committee is proud of the Governor's infrastructure bank, so proud it wasted no time sending out an email touting the so-called "New York Works" program as "the cornerstone of this budget."

The New York Works program was finalized as part of Tuesday''s budget deal. It would use $232 million in capital funds and $917 million in new federal funds for a total of $1.2 billion in new spending. That funding would, in turn, leverage private resources to inject $15 billion into infrastructure spending.

The fund would also pool planning resources across 45 state agencies. Among the agencies and authorities the Governor calls out in a brief on the plan are the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the MTA, and the Department of Transportation.

"Yesterday was an exciting day for New York," begins the email, which landed in mailboxes Wednesday afternoon.

In the past year, infrastructure spending has gone out of of favor, particularly among Republicans. Governors Chris Christie in New Jersey, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Rick Scott in Florida all killed big rail projects, and Republicans in Congress have balked at passing a surface transportation bill, which runs out at the end of this month.

So it's notable that Governor Cuomo sees infrastructure spending as part of his ticket to electoral success. His email describes New York Works "as a new and smarter strategy for putting New Yorkers back to work by rebuilding our aging infrastructure and helping put our state's economy back on track."

The Governor will also name nine of 15 members of a task force to decide on projects -- the legislature will name the remaining six. The governor is promising to post the projects on line so "New Yorkers can track the projects in their community" in real time. The list will be posted "over the next several days."

Infrastructure banks already operate in several states; President Barack Obama has tried and failed to get one through Congress.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: Drawing Tech Companies to NYC

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Before he was mayor, Michael Bloomberg was a technology entrepreneur. We'll talk about some of the challenges entrepreneurs say they face in trying to start a company in New York. We'll also hear from a Brooklyn Arborist, in our latest installment of the New York Works series.

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WNYC News

New York Works | A Brooklyn Arborist

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The iconic image of New York City is the jagged skyline of glass buildings that jut into the air. But Chris Roddick spends his days climbing the city's natural sky scrapers: trees. For 17 years, Roddick has been pruning, planting and inspecting trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 

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WNYC News

Financial 411: The Business Week Ahead

Monday, July 11, 2011

We'll preview this week's business news, and have the latest installment from our New York Works series.

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WNYC News

New York Works | Hayden Planetarium's Astrovisualizator

Monday, July 11, 2011

Carter Emmart is not only in charge of the universe — the eccentric former astrophysics major can spout off the names and positions of stars and constellations upon request.

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WNYC News

New York Works | The Bed Bug Exterminator

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Jim O'Brien stood a mattress on its end and ran his hands over the piping at its corners.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: The Business Week Ahead

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It's all about jobs this week, as the government releases the June employment report. Speaking of jobs, we'll talk about one that will make your skin crawl, for the latest report in our New York Works series.

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WNYC News

New York Works | Dialect And Accents Coach

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dialect coach Susan Cameron said she can't ride the bus or subway without tuning in to all the conversations around her because she's fascinated by the small quirks of pronunciation that give away a person's background.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: The Week Ahead in Business

Monday, June 20, 2011

We'll talk about what's in store for the week ahead, and hear from a city lifeguard, as part of our weekly series profiling New Yorkers at work.

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WNYC News

New York Works | Lifeguard Janet Fash

Monday, June 20, 2011

New York City beaches are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day under the watchful eye of some 1,300 lifeguards. With a starting rate of $13.57 an hour, it's a good gig for someone who's saving for college and for people who have summers off like Brooklyn native Janet Fash.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: A Look at the Week Ahead

Monday, June 13, 2011

We'll talk about what's in store for the economy this week, and meet a triathlon coach who is training New Yorkers one lap at a time, in our series New York Works.

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WNYC News

New York Works: Triathlon Coach Scott Willett

Monday, June 13, 2011

Close to 8,000 triathletes call New York City home. That's more than double the number there were just five years ago, according to USA Triathlon, the sport's national membership organization.  The sport is getting another boost this week when registration opens Wednesday at noon for the 2012 Ironman U.S. Championship, being held for the first time here in New York City and New Jersey.  For coach Scott Willett, the growth of the sport means the growth of his business.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: Jobs and the Threat of a Double-Dip

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly Evans says that this week's monthly jobs report will reveal data on unemployment rates, the housing market and other key points that could lead to some speculation about the possibility of a double-dip recession.

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WNYC News

New York Works: Carnegie Hall's Piano Tuner

Monday, May 30, 2011

As piano tuner for Steinway & Sons, Ismael Cunha's role as a concert technician at Carnegie Hall means he must keep the pianos in pitch-perfect condition.

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WNYC News

New York Works: Staten Island Ferry Captain

Friday, May 27, 2011

As a captain with the Staten Island Ferry, Jim Parese has an office with a view and counts vistas of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline as a regular part of his day on the job.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: Budget Talks Heat Up in NYC

Monday, May 23, 2011

The New York City council gets serious this week about the mayor's budget. And "New York Works" checks in at the pilot house of the Staten Island Ferry.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: IMF Chief Jailed, U.S. Reaches Debt Limit

Monday, May 16, 2011

The U.S. maxes out its credit card, and the head of the International Monetary Fund is denied bail. We also unveil a new series: New York Works.

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