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Construction industry lauds de Blasio’s big-spending infrastructure plan





Budget hawks, begone!

That was the message a construction industry group delivered Wednesday in an assessment of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s capital plans. The New York Building Congress rejoiced that the mayor has proposed $52.6 billion in new spending on the city’s physical plant over the next four fiscal years—”more than any similar period on record.” This is in addition to about $9.8 billion in capital spending in the fiscal year ending in July, which is the most since 2012.

This upbeat appraisal comes even as the report admitted fears of an economic slowdown and the potential loss of state and federal funding, which also have been noted by the city and state comptrollers and fiscal watchdogs including the Citizens Budget Commission.

“The long-term stability and growth of New York is contingent on good schools, safe and reliable transportation, and a basic state of good repair of the city’s infrastructure,” the report said. “Mayor de Blasio and his administration’s latest capital plan is a timely and sensible step forward to ensuring our city’s prosperity in the coming decades.”

The group, representing a broad swath of union and nonunion building interests, defended de Blasio against budget hawks’ charges of profligacy by pointing out that his proposed budget—distinct from the capital plan and funded largely by tax revenues instead of bonding—calls for $750 million in agency savings. It highlighted that debt service on outstanding bonds eats up less than 15% of the city’s annual haul from excises, a figure it characterized as “the threshold for responsible debt financing.”

“As the city looks to pursue increased investment in major new construction and maintenance, the budget is still fiscally responsible,” the report said. “The New York Building Congress’ analysis finds these planned increases are affordable, based on the city’s current financial outlook.”

The document also credits the administration with finishing 80% of its planned projects last year.

The Building Congress’ assessment contrasts with the gripes of the Citizens Budget Commission, which noted that the city’s latest 10-year capital plan—stretching through 2029—cracked $100 billion for the first time.

Click here to read the article at CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS.

Published on

Feb 27, 2019 by New York Building Congress