Assemblywoman Pat Fahy is reaching back to a Depression-era jobs program to jumpstart the economy and aid the millions fo people who have become unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fahy, an Albany Democrat, wants a modern-day version of the Works Progress Administration, a creation of President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration meant to boost employment during the depths of the depression.
Fahy made the proposal in a letter released on Saturday to the state’s congressional delegation.
One area to begin: Hire and train thousands of people to be public health contact tracers, who would be part of the effort to halt the virus’s spread in the second phase fo the response.
The effort could also include the hiring of people for green infrastructure projects, habitat restoration and other clean energy transitions.
Adjusted for 2020 dollars, the WPA was a $92 billion jobs program.
“We need a new short-term WPA-style program to create jobs to bolster America’s struggling creative arts and cultural institutions, and for building our clean-energy infrastructure at a time when it is desperately needed,” Fahy said. “In order to provide the immediate economic security and relief New York and American working families need – we need a federal WPA-style initiative to begin building the economy of tomorrow.”