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New York Building Congress
Contact: Cathy DelliCarpini-Kruse (212) 481-9230
Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
Contact: Bud Perrone (212) 843-8068

NEW YORK, December 8, 2008 – The New York Building Congress, a coalition of design, construction and real estate leaders, today urged Governor David A. Paterson and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to lead a comprehensive and immediate effort to ensure New York gets a fair share of anticipated federal infrastructure investments and puts the money to work quickly to rebuild its aging infrastructure, including its transit network, schools, highways and electrical grid. 

In a policy statement sent today to Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg, State and City legislators and leaders of New York’s Congressional delegation, the Building Congress warned that action urgently is needed to identify worthy projects and to ensure they are ready to go at a moment’s notice, not down the road, which is typically the case in New York. 

“The stakes are enormous.  At the levels being considered in Washington, this infusion of money has the potential to help rebuild New York’s aging infrastructure and create immediate building industry jobs, while supporting a second wave of economic activity by pumping money into the local economy,” said Building Congress Chairman Stuart E. Graham.  “Infrastructure investments also pave the way for smart growth once the economy rebounds.  New Deal spending during the Great Depression, for example, produced such durable New York City mainstays as the Henry Hudson Parkway, Orchard Beach and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”

Added Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson, “No state or region stands to benefit more than New York, which relies on its vast infrastructure network to meet the needs of a growing population and the nation’s largest economic engine.  Pointing out need won’t be enough, however.  The situation is dire and calls for something other than a typical ‘business-as-usual’ approach in New York, where critical infrastructure projects can be delayed for years and even decades by bureaucracy, political inertia and needless delay.”

The Building Congress called on Governor David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to personally lead this effort and recommended the immediate establishment of high-level task forces that will draw input from close advisors, State and City agency heads, the State and City Comptrollers, the State Legislature and City Council, in close coordination with New York’s Congressional delegation. 

Among the questions that need to be addressed in the coming weeks:

  • Which projects are fully designed, absolutely ready for construction and provide the most bang for the buck? 
  • Should New York focus on unfunded projects that have not yet started or augment projects already in the pipeline, such as the #7 line extension and the Fulton Street Transit Center? 
  • What other priorities should be addressed, such as how much money should be used to fill a four billion dollar gap in the School Construction Authority budget or to modernize the region’s electric grid?

According to the Building Congress, the task forces would quickly create a short-list of potential stimulus projects, examine the current status of each and identify all remaining regulatory approvals, procurement matters or other issues that must be addressed.

When appropriate, Governor Paterson on the State level and Mayor Bloomberg locally, must invoke their power to issue Emergency Declarations to fast-track project starts.  Where legislative approval is required, the State Legislature and City Council must be willing to work with the task forces to shape, review and quickly pass enabling legislation. 

Mr. Anderson added, “Recent history shows, New York is capable of getting its act together.  After the attacks of September 11, government and the construction industry wasted no time in rebuilding a Lower Manhattan transportation network that was devastated on that day.  More than $1 billion in clean up, design, demolition and construction was completed within one year after the tragedy.  In the face of crisis, policy differences were set aside, red tape was cut, and onerous work rules amended.  Despite dangerous conditions and the unprecedented scope of damage, the work was conducted with extraordinary safety, efficiency and quality.”

Mr. Graham, who is also Chairman of Skanska USA, concluded, “We cannot squander this opportunity.  More jobs are being lost every day.  Government revenues are shrinking and yet our infrastructure needs keep growing.  The time to act is now. The New York Building Congress on behalf of the construction industry, which faces potential job losses of 25 percent or more in the coming years, urges public officials, at all levels of government, to work now to ensure New York gets its fair share of funding and that the investments are targeted to projects that offer the most long-term benefit."

Contact your local, state and federal representatives in government and urge them to support prompt enactment of a federal economic stimulus package that includes investment in the nation’s infrastructure and to collaborate on measures that will ensure New York is prepared to hit the ground running with “ready-to-go” projects when the money arrives.



The New York Building Congress is a membership coalition of business, labor, association and government organizations promoting the design, construction and real estate industry in New York City.

Published on

Dec 8, 2008 by NYCEDC