N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo Promises Big 2016 for Transportation Projects

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will formally unveil his 2016 agenda and budget proposal Jan. 13 during his State of the State address to lawmakers.

📅   Thu January 28, 2016 - Northeast Edition
David Klepper - ASSOCIATED PRESS


Gov. Andrew Cuomo will formally unveil his 2016 agenda and budget proposal Jan. 13 during his State of the State address to lawmakers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will formally unveil his 2016 agenda and budget proposal Jan. 13 during his State of the State address to lawmakers.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo will formally unveil his 2016 agenda and budget proposal Jan. 13 during his State of the State address to lawmakers. But he has already detailed many of his top priorities in a series of speeches throughout the state.

The Democratic governor is promising big investments in transportation, a plan to address corruption and a proposal to help the homeless in what he says will be his most ambitious to-do list since he took office in 2011. He is calling the agenda “Built to Lead,' a name he says recalls New York state's tradition of using big investments like the Erie Canal to build for the future. The new plan calls for billions of dollars of investments in bridges, roads, rail, a convention center and Penn Station — the nation's busiest train terminal.

“This is surely the most ambitious State of the State that I will have suggested,' he told a Manhattan audience. “We will have the most aggressive development program in the history of the state of New York.'

Tolls and Roads

Motorists who use the Thruway the most would get a tax credit under a plan from Cuomo that would also freeze tolls on the Thruway and the Tappan Zee Bridge until 2020. The governor's proposal also calls for $22 billion in transportation investments, including $1 billion to upgrade and replace 200 bridges and $1 billion to pave 1,300 miles of state and local roads.

Rail

Cuomo wants to restart the long-discussed plan to revamp Penn Station, which he says is “dark,' “ugly' and outdated. He has also called for a third rail line on the Long Island Rail Road.

Tunnel

Proposals to dig a tunnel between Long Island and the Bronx, Westchester County or even Connecticut date back nearly a century. The governor wants to devote $5 million to study the feasibility of the project, which would likely cost many billions and take decades to plan and complete.

Javits Center

The New York City convention center would double in size under Cuomo's $1 billion plan to expand the facility.

Minimum Wage

Called “The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice' after his father, Cuomo's push for a phased-in $15 minimum wage is expected to be a defining issue in the legislative session. It's a sure thing in the Assembly, but the Republicans in the Senate are likely to ask for big tax cuts or other trades in exchange. The increase, when fully implemented in 2021, would give New York the highest state minimum wage in the country.

Airports

On Jan. 9 Cuomo proposed a $200 million upstate airport competition, which would award five $40 million prizes to the airports that submit the best revitalization plans.