January 20, 2015
Albany, NY

2015 Opportunity Agenda: Restoring Economic Opportunity

2015 Opportunity Agenda: Restoring Economic Opportunity

Re: Building a New New York

Date: January 20, 2015


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the twelfth part of his “2015 Opportunity Agenda” – a six-point plan that outlines his vision to strengthen and modernize New York’s infrastructure.

In 2011, the Governor recognized that the demands of the 21st century economy were being stymied not just by a 20th century-way of doing business, but by 20th century infrastructure. Along with making ongoing financial commitments to improved infrastructure, Governor Cuomo has led the way in embracing innovative building and financing mechanisms. The result has transformed the way New York builds and maintains its transportation network, the lifeblood of the state’s economy.


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However, much of New York’s essential infrastructure has been neglected for too long. The state has enough bridges to stretch from Albany to Miami – 6,000 of which are in need of repair. The state has enough roadway to circle the earth 1.5 times, but 60 percent of those roads are in need of repair. The MTA moves 8.5 million people each day – 70 percent of all subway riders, 40 percent of all rail commuters and 20 percent of bus riders nationwide – but the aging infrastructure needs investment. The system’s importance to the economic well-being of the region was never more apparent than in the days following Superstorm Sandy.

The Governor’s infrastructure plan will help sustain our vital transportation and will foster strategic growth in New York, especially in regions experiencing rapid population growth. This infrastructure plan will be a key pillar of the Governor’s second term and will include:

Modernizing New York’s Airports

New York’s airports are the gateways to the state, region, and the nation. John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia alone host an estimated 80 million travelers per year, supporting approximately 350,000 jobs, $18 billion in wages, and more than $50 billion in economic activity. However, both are consistently rated among the worst airports in the country in terms of design and overall passenger experience.

Last year, the Governor launched a Master Plan Design Competition to reimagine LaGuardia and JFK. Final design submissions must include:

  • High-speed ferries and new ferry terminals for direct access to the airports;
  • Opportunities to modify and rehabilitate the current facilities, including the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia and its potential reuse;
  • Enhancements to cargo business to support jobs and economic development including at Stewart International Airport;
  • Airport hotel improvements;
  • State-of-the-art amenities that offer a best-in-class retail experience and diverse dining experiences;
  • Additional access to the airports through various transportation modes, including improved rail or mass transit service and accessible parking;
  • Incorporation of a people mover to allow for quick access between terminals;
  • A view of the iconic New York City skyline.

Today Governor Cuomo announced the formation of a seven-member panel with expertise in business, planning and the local community, to advise him and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on the top airport redesigns. The panel is comprised of:

  • Dan Tishman, Chair – vice chairman at AECOM Technology Corporation and chairman and CEO of Tishman Construction Corporation;
  • Jacqueline Snyder – special advisor for infrastructure for New York State and the former head of the NYC Design Commission;
  • Amanda Burden – former New York City Planning commissioner and a current principal at Bloomberg Associates;
  • Tony Collins – president of Clarkson University, co-chair for the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, president of the Seaway Private Equity Corporation and a member of NYSERDA’s Technology & Market Development Advisory Committee;
  • John Zuccotti – co-chairman of Brookfield Office Properties and chairman of the board of directors of Brookfield Financial Properties LLC;
  • Jose Gomez-Ibanez – the Derek C. Bok Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design;
  • Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The Governor has also directed the Port Authority and Empire State Development to grow cargo capacity at Stewart Airport in the Hudson Valley, making it a regional cargo distribution hub. The Department of Transportation is also working in conjunction with Empire State Development to identify a new operator for Republic Airport on Long Island.

Expand Public Transportation

Create an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is New York’s primary domestic air gateway, serving nearly 27 million passengers annually. For years travelers, businesses, and airport employees have called for improved accessibility to LaGuardia. In addition to modernizing airport facilities, the State will also improve access by creating an Air-Train to LaGuardia that directly connects to the subway and Long Island Rail Road at Mets-Willets Point Station. The AirTrain will be constructed by the Port Authority and the MTA at an estimated cost of $450 million. Renderings of the AirTrain line can be viewed here.

Build New Metro-North Stations in the Bronx and Extend Access to Penn Station
Metro-North access to Penn Station will not only enhance transit between New York City and the surrounding area, but it will strengthen the region’s resiliency in the face of future storms. The Penn Access project will provide new rail service to underserved and growing portions of the Bronx to the West Side of Manhattan and to growing jobs centers in Westchester and beyond. The State will build four new stations in the Bronx – Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point – to extend rail access to over 93,000 residents living near the stations. The project will also serve one of the largest concentrations of medical facilities in the United States at the Morris Park station. The cost of the new line and stations are less than $1 billion, with the State investing $250 million of that funding.

Construct Parking Structures Near Transit Hubs
To help alleviate congestion due to area growth, the State will invest in the development of vertical parking facilities at the Ronkonkoma and Nassau Hub locations on Long Island, and at Lighthouse Landing in Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County. These investments will ensure that real estate currently utilized primarily for parking can be re-developed for mixed use – spurring investment in retail and residential developments - to help strengthen those local communities and their economies. The State will invest $150 million to help offset the cost of the parking facilities.

Critical Investments in the MTA
To ensure it remains one of the most efficient, effective and resilient mass transit systems in the world, the State will invest $750 million into the MTA capital plan to ensure that strategic investments are made into the system to improve passenger experiences through the purchase of 900 new subway cars and 1800 next generation buses; enhance the reliability and capacity of its signal system and passenger notification; continue with projects that improve and enhance service; and ensure the system is protected from future natural disasters.

Statewide Infrastructure Investments

The State will drive New York’s growth forward by investing to repair and maintain key infrastructure. It will invest $1.3 billion in the Thruway system to keep tolls down and allow for critical repair and maintenance, support the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge and alternative transit options. In addition, $750 million will be strategically invested into the Department of Transportation’s network of roads and bridges statewide to ensure that businesses can grow and create jobs.

High-Speed Ferry

To boost regional travel to New York City as well as LaGuardia and JFK airports, the State will explore establishing additional high-speed ferry service in the New York City metropolitan area. These additional routes may include new services to LaGuardia, Westchester County and Long Island.


The State will launch a $500 million statewide broadband program that leverages at least an additional $500 million in private resources to ensure every New Yorker has access to high-speed internet by 2019. This $1 billion investment represents the largest and boldest State investment in universal broadband deployment in the country.

Expanding Design-Build

To help New York create sustainable success by permanently cutting through red tape, the Governor has proposed extending the use of “Design-Build” – a method where designers, engineers and builders come together as one entity to deliver a project – indefinitely by all State departments. Design-Build has saved New York taxpayers more than $1.6 billion and more than two decades of construction time. Design-Build authorization expired at the end of 2014 and the state must take action to allow any agency to use the method going forward.

Design-Build method is currently used by 45 other states. Since legislation authorizing Design-Build was passed in 2011, the Department of Transportation has awarded 10 contracts valued in excess of $800 million, including the Department’s largest ever single contract – the $550 million Kosciuszko Bridge. These projects are underway throughout the state and the results are overwhelmingly positive: projects are being delivered sooner and on-budget, jobs are being created, and the State’s infrastructure is improving.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office:  212.681.4640

Albany Press Office:  518.474.8418