Works task force takes a stab at long term planning for NY state
After setting up the NY State Works Task Force in May 2012, the group has released what it describes as “…a forward-looking strategic plan for generating economic growth in New York State.”
The document gives some indication of how the Task Force intends to coordinate $174 billion in spending across 47 state agencies and authorities. It’s required to mesh that spending with the activities of the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils or REDCs.
Launching the Task Force in 2012, Governor Cuomo said:
"The collective expertise of the finance, labor, planning, and transportation professionals on the NY Works Task Force, together with the members of our regional economic development councils, positions government to support bold regional economic development strategies across the state. The Task Force will help enable and accelerate major projects across the state with government working as a partner instead of a barrier to business growth and job creation."
The Task Force is comprised of representatives from finance, labor, local government, training and transportation authorities.
The 10-year capital spending plan makes the connection between the parlous state of the state’s roads and bridges and sluggish economic growth. Extreme weather events experienced over the last couple of years have highlighted the fragility of the state’s energy and transportation networks.
The Task Force has some big challenges to address, and this spending plan contains a lot of the now- familiar themes of the Cuomo economic agenda.
In assessing the state’s civil infrastructure as part of its 2013 infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers assessed that just under 40 percent of New York’s bridges were either ‘structurally deficient’ or ‘functionally obsolete’. 60 percent of the state’s roads are in ‘poor or mediocre condition’.
Spending on transportation related projects and infrastructure makes up 65 percent of the total investment, followed by social services and public health (12 percent) and education (9.7 percent).
Other identified sectors include energy, development and public safety.
A sampling of some of the identified infrastructure spends include:
- Reconstruction of the Rensselaer side of the Port of Albany
- Expenditures on the Peace Bridge on the Niagara/Canada frontier
- Purchase of rolling stock for New York City’s Metropolitan Transport Authority
- Replacing outdated forklifts at the Port of Oswego
- Replacing roadway decks on the Thousand Islands Bridge
In his trademark style, Cuomo makes broad claims for the remit of the Task Force.
“Today, the Task Force has released a visionary roadmap on how we will leverage state resources to improve infrastructure in all corners of New York, save money for taxpayers, and compete in the global economy.”
One of the more compelling graphics in the document highlights New York's continuing low performance as a trade partner with Canada.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has been approached for comment.