Speaking with representatives of the New York City real estate community on Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) outlined a $13 billion plan to update New York City airports.
“It's not like this happened overnight, that JFK was outdated or LaGuardia was outdated. JFK has been outdated all of my life,” said Cuomo.
Massive infrastructure projects have been a common theme for the governor over the eight years he's been in office — allowing him to place his stamp on building in New York after years of neglect.
“We are losing the development race,” said Cuomo. “It's a race that we won. It's a race that made America, America. It made New York, New York. And now we are losing it.”
But questions remain over some of these projects, like the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, named in honor of the governor's late father. It's still not clear how much tolls on the bridge will ultimately cost. And its opening was delayed by several days over concerns the old bridge had become destabilized.
“We just did the Mario Cuomo Bridge — largest infrastructure project in the United States of America,” said Cuomo. “The Mario Cuomo Bridge: $4 billion. We thought it was going to be $5 billion. It came in at $4 billion. We opened it on time, on budget and saved money.”
Cuomo's critics say the state has invested heavily at the expense of smaller projects, like water and sewer upgrades. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins pointed to lead in Syracuse water as a result of old infrastructure. He says money can be spent now to hire more inspectors to test for lead.
“It's not rocket science,” said Hawkins. “It's something totally do-able. And it's the kind of improvement that could be done very quickly if we just put our minds to it.”
The Cuomo administration did support a $1 billion bond act for clean water infrastructure upgrades.