HARRIMAN STATE PARK, N.Y. — Along the roads past lakes and campgrounds here, workers have been busy laying down fresh asphalt. Near Lake Cohasset, aging sewer lines are being replaced. Soon, dozens of frayed cabins that house disadvantaged children in the summer will receive makeovers, including new roofs.
The construction in Harriman is part of a push to address the backlog of deferred maintenance and infrastructure projects across New York’s state parks, which last spring received an infusion of $89 million from the governor and the Legislature for capital improvements. Adding private grants and federal funds, the total investment will be $143 million — the largest single allocation of capital money in the history of the park system.
“It’s important, welcome and transformative,” said Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “The parks have been underfunded for decades. We’re going to do a lot before you can see it and feel it. But it will vastly improve the quality of the experience for the visitor.”
Welcome as the money is, it is a fraction of what state officials say is needed: They have identified more than $1 billion of required rehabilitation across the state’s 213 parks and historic sites, which drew 58 million visitors last year.
But the capital construction now under way was embraced by park advocates, who had long pleaded for such financing. And it should correct some of the most pressing health and safety problems plaguing the park system.
Last month, the state comptroller’s office issued an audit assessing conditions in state parks. At some of the 33 parks visited, inspectors found sections in such disrepair that workers had cordoned them off to ensure public safety.
In several cases, the security barriers themselves were showing signs of decay. The audit cited John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany, where a decrepit swimming pool, closed in 2007, is surrounded by a chain-link fence that is beginning to fall apart, with evident gaps. The report called on the state to find more permanent solutions, “where potentially hazardous infrastructure issues are likely to remain unaddressed for a significant length of time.”
In an illustration of the breadth of the construction backlog, the $416,000 allotted to Thacher State Park is not enough to reopen the pool. Rather, it will go toward things like bathroom repairs, playground equipment and parking-lot resurfacing.
Many of the problems stem from the practice of deferring maintenance year after year, which over time turns minor repairs into major renovations. The state audit reported that budget cuts had “significantly impacted operations,” with the agency’s operating budget of $183 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year representing a 5 percent decrease from the previous year.
Laura DiBetta, parks program director at Parks and Trails New York, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the commitment from Albany came as something of a surprise, especially given the economic climate. Two years ago, scores of state parks and historic sites were threatened with being closed after Gov. David A. Paterson proposed a $20 million cut to state parks under the 2010 budget. State lawmakers restored some money, giving the parks a reprieve.
“When Governor Paterson tried to close state parks, that changed the discourse a bit,” said Ms. DiBetta, whose group, with the Alliance for New York State Parks, released a report in 2010, “Protect Their Future: New York’s State Parks in Crisis.”
“People were outraged,” Ms. DiBetta said. As a result, she said, groups supporting specific parks were formed and others were reinvigorated.
At Harriman State Park, which encompasses 47,000 acres in Orange and Rockland Counties, the injection of capital is already apparent.
More than 12 miles of roads were repaved in the past three months. One morning last month, Skip Ford, a retired Air Force pilot who rents a cabin on Little Long Pond during the summer, surveyed the road through his campground, which had been paved that morning. “I didn’t think they’d ever do it,” he said, seeming somewhat stunned. “It was a dirt road that kept washing out. It looks great.”
But others, like Arden Valley Road, did not make the cut because they are closed in winter and therefore not as widely used. “It’s five miles, and you don’t want to drive on it,” said Larry Soeller, a senior park engineer for the Palisades region. “This funding will go a long way, but there’s a lot more to be done — more roofs, more sewer work, more paving, a lot of general building improvements.”
Mr. Soeller estimated that about one-third of the several hundred structures in the park needed repairs, but that the new financing would probably touch only about 5 percent of them. Still, Commissioner Harvey said she was determined to spruce up as many campgrounds as possible, noting that the social-service groups that lease the cabins at Harriman — approximately 40 miles north of Midtown Manhattan — provided an indelible experience for disadvantaged children.
“About 25,000 kids go through these camps at Harriman each summer,” Ms. Harvey said. “Many of them don’t go to parks and don’t have the skills, whether it’s swimming or hiking, to fully enjoy them. We’re targeting our capital to fix camp structures to make sure they are safe and accessible.”
Whether the current financing is part of a new trend for state parks remains to be seen. Ms. DiBetta said she hoped the money represented a down payment on a “multiyear commitment,” with $100 million dedicated to capital improvements in each of the next 10 years.
Commissioner Harvey was more circumspect. “We’re hopeful that New York Works will go forward,” she said, referring to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s program to rebuild the state’s infrastructure while creating jobs. “But between what we wish and what we’re able to do, there’s often a divide.”
The New York Times -By LISA W. FODERARO Published: October 10, 2012
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday afternoon in Piermont that New York State is now closer to replacing the current Tappan Zee Bridge with a new, $5.2 billion span.
The governor's announcement came hours after a unanimous vote by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) to officially incorporate the project into the council's plan.
"Today we are one step closer to building a new, safer bridge that will revitalize the Hudson Valley by creating thousands of jobs," Cuomo said at the 1 p.m. gathering in Flywheel Park.
More than 100 residents and local, state and federal lawmakers gathered downtown, overlooking the Tappan Zee Bridge to the north and local marinas.
After a brief speech, Cuomo signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, applying for billions of dollars in TIFIA federal loans to help finance the new span.
"The next step is going to Washington to get funding, so we can build the bridge and make tolls affordable," Cuomo said. "After over a decade of delay caused by political dysfunction, this letter demonstrates that we are making real progress towards constructing a stronger, transit ready bridge."
When asked what financing would be in place should the state be declined federal funds, Cuomo was terse.
"I'm an optimist," he said. "They're going to say yes."
Cuomo noted the importance of mass transit, a component local residents and officials have long been asking for.
"The future of transit isn't people getting into cars and driving," Cuomo said. "It's mass transit. Period."
The new span is slated to house a dedicated bus transit lane during rush hour.
The governor recently blasted the proposed $14 toll hike in 2017 as excessive, but did not cite a specific figure that he would like to see—he only advocated a decrease.
From the New City Patch (8/20/12) Cuomo said the sluggish push to build a new bridge over the past 13 years has been time—and taxpayer money—squandered.
"We decided to waste millions," he said. "We decided to put people through traffic and congestion and pollution. It was a failure of leadership, a failure of government."
NYMTC member and Rockland County executive C. Scott Vanderhoef voted alongside others this morning. Late last week, Vanderhoef and lawmakers from Westchester and Putnam counties announced their decision to vote 'yes.'
Vanderhoef said he is pleased to support the project on the heels of Cuomo's assurances that the new bridge is to include mass transit capabilities.
"The governor should be given great credit for making it transit compatible," Vanderhoef said. "I am very pleased to be supportive."
Vanderhoef also said the federal government should assist New York with the financing of the new bridge connecting Westchester and Rockland.
"This new bridge will be safer for our drivers and built to last, and include a dedicated bus lane on day one," said assemblyman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern. "It will be a major economic driver for communities across the region, creating approximately 45,000 jobs."
Cuomo said the state expects to hear back about federal funding in the coming months.
WHITE PLAINS – Construction industry association executive Ross J. Pepe briefed members of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors on Feb. 28 at the HGAR offices in White Plains on the plans being advanced by state and federal officials to build a new $5.2-billion Tappan Zee Bridge.
Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. and the Building Contractors Association based in Tarrytown, said that if all goes according to plan a Design- Build contracting firm will be selected this summer and a Record of Decision reached by the end of August or early September with construction starting shortly thereafter. The project calls for the construction of a new bridge that would support mass transit at a future date.
Approximately 50 members of HGAR attended the joint session of HGAR’s Commercial Investment Division and its Legislative, Legal and Political Affairs Council.
After the session was completed, the Legislative, Legal and Political Affairs Council met to discuss the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project and approved a policy statement in support of the new bridge plan.
HGAR in its policy statement noted, ”Considering that building a new bridge is now among the highest infrastructure priorities at both the federal and New York State levels, that we have the commitments of the Obama and Cuomo administrations to commence the project, and that there is serious consideration of fundraising options by those parties, it does not make sense to risk all that by tacking on an untold number of years to plan and review the transit options. Our preference as an organization is that the project stay on its current fast track and in transit-capable mode.”
The Legislative Committee stressed that its position in support of the expedited plan “is not to be interpreted as a less than enthusiastic endorsement of the mass transit component, but rather a pragmatic seizure of an opportunity that may not reoccur. We do in fact strongly support mass transit, and we urge that every effort be made to start planning for it right now, so that a final configuration could be in place when the bridge construction is completed, if not sooner.”
The committee noted that prior studies have amassed a tremendous amount of information concerning a mass transit component on the new span. The committee stated, “The Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation should assist local governments in the I-287 corridor with program grants and other resources to complete the corridor study as a separate project. County governments in the corridor could perhaps be the coordinating entities; Westchester and Rockland both had advisory groups for the former project. In short, we recommend that there be two tracks, the mass transit capable bridge, and the mass transit redesigned I-287 corridor. Neither must wait for the other, the need is too urgent.”
Developments on the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing have come fast and furious. In fact, later in the day of the HGAR session was the first of two public hearings on the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the new bridge project that found no adverse environmental impact. The Feb. 28 public hearing was held at the Palisades Center in West Nyack. On March 1, a session was scheduled at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.
Proponents of the project were expected to be out in force for the project that is expected to create more than 10,000 construction jobs and thousands of other jobs. Also predicted to have large contingents at the sessions are those that are pushing state and federal officials to have some form of mass transit (bus rapid transit or commuter rail) be part of the bridge project upon completion. Among those mass transit advocates are Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoeff.
On Feb. 7, the New York State Thruway Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation announced they had selected four design-build consortiums as qualified bidders for the new bridge project.
State officials reported that a request for proposals (RFP) would be issued to the four bidders in coming weeks. Thruway Authority officials noted that a total of five design-build partnerships expressed interest in the new Tappan Zee Bridge project, but only four were deemed qualified based on what they said was a “thorough multiagency technical review.” The identity of the firm not deemed qualified was not released.
The four groups that will be sent RFPS for the project are:
Hudson River Bridge Constructors
(a group including Dragados USA, Inc., Flatiron Constructors, Inc., Samsung C&T, E&C Americas, Inc., and Yonkers Contracting Company, Inc.)
Kiewit-Skanska-Weeks Joint Venture
(Kiewit Infrastructure Co., Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc., and Weeks Marine, Inc.)
Tappan Zee Bridge Partners, a Bechtel/Tutor Perini Joint Venture
(Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation and Tutor Perini Corporation)
Tappan Zee Constructors
(Fluor Enterprises, Inc., American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast, Inc., and Traylor Bros., Inc.)
In relation with the new bridge project, the New York State Department of Transportation announced that Trevcon Construction Company, Inc. of Liberty Corner, NJ was the apparent low bidder at $17.9 million for test pile installation across the Hudson River as part of the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing project. Work has already begun on the pile project.
Pepe explained that the design of the new bridge would either be an arch style or “cable-stay” with two towers. Both design options would be a twin span (two decks) each featuring four 12-foot traffic lanes (for a total of eight lanes), a left shoulder and emergency access, a right shoulder, and barriers along the decks’ edges. The left and right shoulders would serve as disabled vehicle lanes. The left shoulder would also provide emergency vehicle access. A bicycle lane would also be provided.
He also noted that the expedited project is being advanced under the “Design- Build” process, which was passed by the New York State legislature last year, where the private sector competes to offer the most innovative, cost effective designs for the new bridge. Rather than the state mandating a specific bridge design and construction method, qualified firms are now competing on their respective designs for the replacement bridge. The designbuild process permits an expedited construction schedule compared to traditional state contracting, and offers significant cost savings with less risk to state taxpayers of design changes and resulting cost overrun, state officials have said.
In October 2011, President Barrack Obama announced that the Tappan Zee Bridge project was one of 14 megaprojects across the nation to be fast-tracked in an expedited approval process. The project team, which includes the Federal Highway Administration, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority (the owner of the bridge that connects Rockland and Westchester counties), are now working on the environmental approvals and design for a new span to be built just to the north of the existing structure. The project team issued a Request for Qualifications to interested contractors in November of 2011.
The Federal Highway Administration, which is now spearheading the project, rescinded the prior environmental studies that were underway, which included a number of designs for a new span as well as bus rapid transit and commuter rail to be possibly incorporated into the project. Cost estimates ranged from $8 billion to $16 billion for a full build-out that included commuter rail in a more than 30-mile study area that began in Suffern and ended in Port Chester. Instead, the new fast-tracked study now involves a little more than three miles from Nyack to Tarrytown, and is focused solely on building a new bridge that “does not preclude transit in the future.”
“Until last October, it would have been a safe bet that a new crossing would not be started or built for at least a five to 10-year period,” Pepe said. “The (prior) process that was engaged had reached nearly a decade with little movement to success.”
He charged that the prior study involved a 30-mile area and included bus and commuter rail options with little financing available to fund the nearly $20 billion project.
The expedited plan could allow a groundbreaking for this project to be held prior to Election Day in November.
Pepe said that under the new plan the state has been or will be applying for approximately $3 billion in federal (TIFA) loans and TIGER grants. The balance of the project will be financed via traditional bonding (likely to be issued by the bridge’s owner The New York State Thruway Authority) and toll increases. State officials have also said that pension fund and other private investment could be possible.
The New York State Department of Transportation has hired Jeffrey A. Parker Associates of Philadelphia to provide financial advice and analysis on the financing of the new span. A report on financing options is expected to be released soon.
Pepe later in the day was part of a press conference orchestrated by ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow. org, a statewide coalition of major employers, transportation professionals, civil engineers, and labor organizations representing more than 300,000 employees and 15,000 employers, in support of the expedited bridge plan.
In a press statement, Pepe said, “Based on the assessment of the project’s limited funding opportunities for the foreseeable future, the decision to exclude the complete build out of a mass transit program was a wise decision. Based on the reality of the funding that is now available, the new Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project will not preclude the planning, design, construction or consideration of future transit modes through the TZ corridor. In other words, the final bridge design will not preclude future transit operations
ALBANY – New York State and federal transportation agencies are committed to an aggressive approval timeline that could end in the start of construction of a new multi-billion dollar Tappan Zee Bridge by the late summer or early fall of this year.
On January 24, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority jointly released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Tappan Zee Bridge project. The DEIS concluded that there would be no adverse impacts with the construction of a new span that would not preclude a mass transit component in the future.
While a host of business and political leaders commented favorably on the expedited plan by the Obama and Cuomo administrations to build a new span, a number of local politicians, including Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef have repeatedly called for mass transit to be included in the initial construction of the new bridge. Proponents of the expedited plan argue that including mass transit now would add years of delay and billions of dollars to the cost of the project.
Major highlights of the DEIS report included: the construction duration is anticipated to range from 3 to 5½ years, and the construction cost is anticipated to run from $3.5 to $5 billion. Using the Design Build project delivery method, a construction duration of 4½- to 5½ years was assumed, and the construction cost was estimated at $4.64 billion (in 2012 dollars). The total number of construction job generated by the project is estimated at 14,094. Over the estimated five-year construction build-out, the project would directly generate an average of 2,819 fulltime workers per year.
“New York has spent a decade talking, studying, and meeting about how to replace this vital bridge,” said NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald. “But under Governor Cuomo’s leadership we have been able to make significant progress in building a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The governor’s expedited timeline has accelerated this project, which will create jobs and generate much needed economic development opportunities in the Hudson Valley. At the same time, the study does not rule out mass transit options. Now that we understand the environmental effects of reconstructing the bridge, it is time to start laying out real construction plans.”
Thomas Madison, executive director of the Thruway Authority, added, “The completed DEIS represents the remarkable team effort that is quickly becoming a hallmark of the new Tappan Zee Bridge Project. Leadership from Governor Cuomo and support from President Obama have enabled the Thruway Authority, NYSDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration to work in a focused, collaborative way to meet this critical deadline and maintain project momentum.”
The agencies announced that comments on the DEIS will be accepted until March 15, and public hearings will be held in Westchester and Rockland counties in late February. New York met the January 19 deadline to submit the DEIS to the federal government, state officials said. The replacement bridge will have eight traffic lanes as opposed to the current seven, and feature two breakdown lanes that could also be used to accommodate transit or other transportation purposes, state officials said. Additionally, unlike the current structure, it will include pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
A host of politicians from the region expressed their support of the DEIS and expedited plan in statements included in the state-issued press release, including: Rep. Nan Hayworth, Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Eliot Engel, State Senators Suzi Oppenheimer and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Assemblymen Robert J. Castelli, George Latimer and Kenneth Zebrowski, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins, Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, and Christopher St. Lawrence, supervisor of the Town of Ramapo.
Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, said, “Today’s Environmental Impact Study takes us one step further towards completing Governor Cuomo’s bold plan to aid in the reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge which needs to provide a cohesive transportation network for the region and north-east mobility. Today’s announcement provides a concrete timetable for when improvements will begin, and how the new bridge will differ from its antiquated predecessor. This project also provides thousands of job opportunities for the region and state.”
Al Samuels, president and CEO of the Rockland Business Association, said, “For too long the Tappan Zee Bridge has been rapidly decaying and government has done nothing. The Governor’s Environmental Impact Study demonstrates significant progress in rebuilding one of New York’s most essential bridges. The governor’s expedited plan to replace the obsolete Tappan Zee Bridge, generates much needed job creation and economic development in Rockland and Westchester. It is clear that anyone who opposes the Governor’s plan is directly opposing jobs in the Hudson Valley. I commend Governor Cuomo for his bold plan which will facilitate safer and faster transit to help rebuild our economy.”
NYSDOT and NYSTA are currently reviewing statements of qualifications that were submitted by prospective contractors as of a January 10 deadline. A short list of qualified bidders will be identified by the agencies on January 31. The project team is scheduled to publish the final Environmental Impact Statement, which would include the selection of the bridge design, in June 2012. It will announce the selection of the Design/Build contractor by July 2012 and reach a Record of Decision, execute the Design/Build contract and issue a Notice to Proceed to the winning contractor by August 2012.
In October 2011, President Obama announced that the Tappan Zee Bridge project, which had been mired in more than 10 years of study with no end in sight, was one of 14 mega-projects across the nation to be fast-tracked in an expedited approval process. At that time, the Federal Highway Administration, which is now spearheading the project, rescinded the prior environmental studies that were underway, which included a number of designs for a new span as well as bus rapid transit and commuter rail to be possibly incorporated into the project. Cost estimates ranged from $8 billion to $16 billion for a full build-out that included commuter rail in a 35-mile study area that began in Suffern and ended in Port Chester. Instead, the new fast-tracked study now involves a little more than three miles from Nyack to Tarrytown and is focused solely on building a new bridge that “does not preclude transit in the future.”
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YONKERS -– Numerous business groups across the Hudson Valley region and the state offered praise and support for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $132.5-billion state budget, which includes significant increases in infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy, while at the same time closing a $2-billion deficit without raising taxes or fees.
However, officials with the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (pending name change approval by the National Association of Realtors from the existing Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors) are hopeful that the governor will withdraw or the State Legislature will reject or modify a proposal that would extend real estate broker and salesperson license terms from two to four years. In addition, fees would be increased from $150 to $300 for real estate brokers and from $50 to $100 for real estate salespersons. The act would go into effect on April 1, 2013.
Other key provisions of the proposal include: doubling the continuing education requirements to 45 hours in the four-year renewal period, including six hours of fair housing and/or discrimination course training.
Renewals scheduled prior to the April 1, 2013 effective date would have two years to complete the standard 22.5 hours of continuing education training. Any renewals on or after April 15, 2015, will increase to the 45-hour requirement, according to the New York State Association of Realtors.
Richard Haggerty, chief executive officer of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, said the governor’s proposal would have a large impact on the HGAR School of Real Estate and other Realtor Board real estate schools across the state. In a communiqué to officials with the New York State Association of Realtors, Haggerty said that this licensing policy change, if enacted, would also adversely impact consumers.
“We have spent several years raising the education bar for the real estate profession, much to our credit. We successfully shortened the education cycle to two years, so that real estate licensees stayed more current on the laws and regulations that affect their profession. We raised the number of licensing hours for the sales course from 45 to 75 hours,” he said. “We included three hours of fair housing training in every 22.5-hour continuing education cycle. I can’t help but feel that with this change we are surrendering some of these hard fought gains, which will ultimately have a negative impact on the consumer.”
Other real estate-related proposals in the governor’s proposed 2012-2013 budget included the elimination of the STAR tax benefit for those taxpayers who have outstanding state tax debts. The plan also featured two proposals to assist homeowners and tenants—the creation of a Foreclosure Relief Unit to provide counseling and mediation services to homeowners and a Tenant Protection Unit to provide stricter enforcement of New York State’s rent laws.
In his budget message delivered on Jan, 17 in Albany and the next day at a presentation in Yonkers, Gov. Cuomo revealed his $132.5-billion budget, which includes the $15-billion New York Works infrastructure fund, will feature $917 million in accelerated federal transportation aid and $247 million in additional state funding from the highway bridge dedicated trust fund. The struggling construction industry in New York State can expect a major shot in the arm with approximately $1.16 billion in added state transportation capital spending in 2012-2013 if the governor’s budget is adopted as is.
To close the deficit, the governor has proposed a 4.5% reduction in planned state operations funding for a savings of $1.3 billion and a $756-million reduction in projected aid to localities.
Governor Cuomo said, “This budget demonstrates fiscal discipline and proposes real reforms that puts students ahead of the education bureaucracy and leverages major investment to spur private sector growth. By coming together in the same bipartisan manner we did last year, we will continue our work to build a New New York.”
Focus on Infrastructure
The New York Works infrastructure fund program will accelerate capital investment, building upon core transportation funding, to provide a total New York State Department of Transportation capital program of nearly $4.5 billion in 2012-13, including highways, bridges, rail, aviation, non-MTA transit, and DOT facilities financing. The MTA’s capital program will receive $770 million in new state support over a multi-year period to help fund the MTA’s $22.2-billion 2010-14 capital program. The governor’s proposed budget includes $250 million from the General Fund to offset the impact of the MTA payroll tax reform signed into law by Gov. Cuomo a month ago.
Gov, Cuomo explained that the New York Works Fund will be seeded with $1.3 billion in state funding ($723 million in new capital and $600 million from accelerated existing capital): $1.7 billion from the federal government, which involves a combination of new and accelerated federal aid); authority financing that would include $5 billion for the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge, $3.23 billion in existing capital accelerated from NYSERDA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and $770 million to complete the MTA capital plan; and $3 billion from the private sector.
The governor intends to tap the New York Works Fund to finance the improvement of more than 100 bridges, the repair of 2,000 miles of roads, the upgrade 90 municipal water systems, the improvement of 48 state parks and historic sites and the repair of 114 flood control projects statewide.
Other key economic development initiatives that were part of the governor’s proposed budget include: the redevelopment of the existing Aqueduct Racetrack and Racino by building a new 3.2-million square-foot convention center along with 1,000 hotel rooms and added gaming space. In exchange for some state approvals, gaming giant Genting Group will finance the $4-billion venture with no state funding necessary.
With the development of the convention center in Queens, the governor is proposing to revitalize the existing Javits Center in Manhattan by redeveloping the 18-acre property similar to the Battery Park City complex on the West Side.
He also proposed that a constitutional amendment be introduced to legalize casino gaming in New York State and a second round of Regional Economic Development Awards.
Business Groups Express Support
Reaction from the transportation and business sectors on the governor’s budget has been positive.
Ross J. Pepe, president of The Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. of Tarrytown, said the additional funding for highway and public works projects are coming at the right time, when the economy is ailing and crews are out of work.
“Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13 beginning April 1 is clearly aimed at solving many of the problems we as New Yorkers now face,” Pepe said. “There are high unemployment levels in many sectors of the economy and a very demonstrable need to bring our transportation infrastructure up to par with neighboring states. Transit and transportation safety and reliability are essentials if we hope to grow our economy in New York.”
After attending the budget presentation in Yonkers, The Business Council of Westchester released a statement of support for the governor’s proposals. The $25 billion in infrastructure and economic development projects that leverage public/private partnerships will jumpstart our economy and generate revenue for the state. These proposals prove, once again, that the Governor understands the importance of the business community in New York. He has set out an ambitious plan for 2012 and we look forward to helping him achieve these goals.”
William Mooney, president of the Westchester County Association, stated, “We are pleased that The Executive Budget introduced by Governor Cuomo today continues along the fiscally responsible path initiated last year. We are hopeful that the policies put in place will launch major job creating projects here in Westchester and across the state. We agree with Governor Cuomo that it takes a strong private sector to ensure a secure future for New York State.”