October 4, 2018
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces $13 Billion Plan to Transform JFK Into a World-Class 21st Century Airport

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces $13 Billion Plan to Transform JFK Into a World-Class 21st Century Airport

Two New Major International Terminals Will Add 4 Million Square Feet to Airport's North and South Sides, Increasing Airport's Capacity by at Least 15 Million Passengers Annually and Transforming Traveler Experience from Curb to Gate

Historic Investment Advances Governor's JFK Vision Plan for a Unified, Modern Airport with World-Class Passenger Amenities, Expanded Taxiway and Gate Capacity, State-of-the-Art Security, Streamlined Roadway Access and Centralized Ground Transportation Options - See Renderings Here

First New Gates Will Go Live in 2023 with Project Completion in 2025; 90 Percent of $13 Billion Plan Represents Private Investment

Includes 30 Percent MWBE Goal for Contracts and Financing Interests; Extensive Community Opportunities to be Created, Including Local Office to Assist with Contracting and Job Placement to Open in Jamaica this Fall

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an historic $13 billion plan to transform John F. Kennedy International Airport into a modern 21st century airport anchored by two new world-class international terminal complexes on the airport's north and south sides. This record investment — including $12 billion in private funding — advances the Governor's vision for a unified and interconnected airport system with best-in-class passenger amenities, centralized ground transportation options and vastly improved roadways that collectively will increase the airport's capacity by at least 15 million passengers a year. More information available here.

VIDEO of Governor Cuomo's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of Governor Cuomo's remarks is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you very much. Boy, this is great news and the lord knows we need some good news just about now. To the Port Authority, to the Port Authority Board that has been extraordinary, Chairman O'Toole of the Port Authority wanted to be with us here today, he was coming across the bridge O'Toole and the Port Authority Board a big round of applause, thank you for your leadership, thank you for getting it done.

Rick Cotton, who as he said in his mild mannered way, he can be sitting back at NBC, he has been a phenomenal success in the private sector, he could be doing anything, anywhere, or just sitting on the beach and playing a little golf. He is an example of public service at its best. He is quality, he doesn't need to do this, he's doing it just to make a difference and we thank Rick Cotton.

To Steven Rubenstein congratulations on your leadership, it does my heart good to do a son following in his father's footsteps, so let's give Steven Rubenstein a big round of applause.

You know, JFK, LaGuardia, it's amazing when you think about it how long these situations have been allowed to go on. It's not like this happened overnight, that JFK was outdated or LaGuardia was outdated. JFK has been outdated all of my life. I'm a Queens boy in case you can't tell the accent. But, in my home when the call went out, you have to pick someone up at JFK, it was drawing up the short straw. That was a torture. If you could survive the Van Wyck Expressway, right, put splinters under my fingernails instead, it would be quicker. And then trying to figure out that spaghetti bowl of JFK with all those signs, it was just impossible. I wouldn't do it, I made my younger brother Chris do it. It has instilled in him a deep resentment, to this day, that actually exists.

So, it was long, long overdue, but so many of the things that we're talking about are long overdue. And it's not just a New York story, it is a United States story. We are losing the development race, it's a race that we won, it's a race that made America, America, it's a race that made New York, New York, and now we're losing it. You fly around the world and look at what everyone else it building and then you come back to the United States and you understand that we are being left behind, it's a mentality, and we're resting on our laurels. Well our forefathers did all this and it's our inheritance, it's our legacy, they handed it to us, and we're just going to sit and enjoy their gift. That's not the way it works. Either you are building and you are creating, or you are getting left behind, that is the simple reality of life.

I was HUD Secretary and I would fly all around the country and my message to every city was the same. Look, either you're developing, and the future is coming to you, or they're going to someone else. But, status quo, sitting where you are, that is a formula for loss, my friends. You are what you build, A.J. Parkinson, great quote. And you are what you build and look at what we built as New Yorkers. We built the greatest state in the nation. It didn't just happen, it wasn't evolution. We built it, we made it happen. Tallest building, 600 miles of subways, longest bridges. You can't do it, it's impossible. Baloney, we're New York, we will do it. And we did do it and that's what we made.

Every president has said, we must rebuild our infrastructure. We must rebuild our transportation. Democrat, Republican, Ronald Reagan said it, Jimmy Carter said it, President Clinton said it, President Obama said it, Vice President Biden is still saying it. President Trump said--not to get political. Are you a non-profit organization? Donald Trump said when he was running, I will invest in the infrastructure $1.5 trillion. That was his promise, that's what he said. You know what we've gotten? Nada. Niente. Nothing has happened.

So what we said in New York is look, we're not going to wait for the federal government. We've never waited before. New York's legacy is not what it is because we waited for the federal government to tell us what we should or should not do. We did it. And the rest of the nation followed us. So we said, we're going to fund the largest construction program in the United States of America, $100 billion. And people said, oh jeez, we don't know, government doesn't know how to build. Every time government goes to build they mess it up. The big dig in Massachusetts. Everyone has a horror story. We said, we're going to learn from the past, we're going to learn from our mistakes. You know what? We're not going to build anything. Know what you know and know what you don't know. And it's more important to know what you don't know in life.

We're not going to build. Why? Because government is lousy at building, that's why. Government can master plan, but then give it to the private sector, let them design it, let them build it, bid it, get the best price, incentives for early delivery, sanctions for late delivery, but you get government out of the building and the design process. And that's exactly what we did. And we are building more than any state in the United States. Steven is right, we're building more than has been built since Robert Moses, in a more sensitive, community-friendly way. Not to criticize Robert Moses.

Jacob Javits Center was opened in 1984. My father opened it. When it opened it was state-of-the-art. It was the biggest, it was the best. Time moved on, it is no longer the biggest and the best. We're losing the big shows. We're going to basically double the size of the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Getting those shows here is a tremendous economic vehicle for the city.

Penn Station is the circles of hell. It is. Amtrak doesn't like it when I say it, I'm sorry, but the truth is the truth. I have a large nose. Admitting it is just reality. We have to make significant changes in Penn and in the meantime what we're doing is building an entirely new train hall across the street. The Moynihan-Farley Complex. It was a dream of Senator Moynihan, it sat on the shelf, we are doing it, it's under construction, it's on schedule, it's $2.5 billion. And that's happening now. New Kosciuszko Bridge is being built, slides are going backwards, new Goethals Bridge as you heard from Rick is being built. Long Island Railroad has been stagnant for 70 years. It's basically the same railroad system that they built 100 years ago. When you hear about the problems on the Long Island Railroad in the morning and they say there is a problem on the track—that is literally correct. Because in some places, there's one track. And if anything happens on that track, it delays trains for hours. God forbid a squirrel walks on the tracks and has a heart attack, everybody is four hours late for work. We're building a second track, we're building a third track, we're rebuilding the whole Long Island Railroad.

Cashless tolling—they did it all across the country. Only New York couldn't figure out how to do it. We did it, we did it fast. It saves time, it saves money, when you go through a bridge or a tunnel it's a totally different experience and frankly it happened so quickly that people didn't even realize. Quick digression, funny story. An aunt of mine was coming through in a car—coming into Manhattan. She didn't come in all that often. And she's getting on in years at the time. And the driver goes to drive right through tollbooth right to the tunnel and she says 'stop, stop, we didn't pay the toll.' And the driver says 'no, this is now an electronic toll.' She says 'no, no, my nephew is the Governor, I have to pay the toll.' It literally happened so fast and so well that it changed people's experience.

New LaGuardia Airport as you knew, new JFK International Airport. Our two main airports. Now a cynical times reporter will say 'oh that's all you're doing is two new airports?' Well, actually, not exactly. Two new airports downstate. Upstate, New Plattsburgh Airport, new Elmira-Corning Airport, new Syracuse International Airport, new Rochester Airport, new Albany Airport, new Ithaca Airport, New York Stewart International Airport that's going to open up the Hudson Valley. So it's not just downstate. This is a statewide rehabilitation and new New York program.

What's next in terms of challenges? It's going to be the MTA. And fixing the New York City subway system. It's going to require the largest investment in history--$30 billion. It is something that we have to do. And we have to come to terms with it. What is the obstacle to rebuilding the subway system? It is the money, honey. That's what it is about. It is about the money. And you're now having this political discussion 'well where should the money come from?' Here are the options—God is going to send down $33 billion and it is going to descend from the clouds. That's not going to happen. Option two, we'll look under the city and the state mattress and maybe we will find $33 billion. That's not going to happen. Well New York City is going to dig into its pocket and they're going to ante up and the state will ante up. That's not going to happen. that's not going to happen. There is only one way it happens, that is [inaudible]. Everything else is political blather, 'well, ideally we would like to have a millionaire's tax.' Yes, I wish I could be an elected official who lived in the ideal. Unfortunately, I'm an executive so I actually have to get things done. The only realistic option is congestion pricing, we have to get it done, we have to get it done next year, I need your help.

If we get the funding, we will get it done. If we get the funding, we will get it done. Well, how do we know you will get it done? Because we have a track record for performance. Good look at what they're doing at LaGuardia, it is amazing that you can operate an airport and build a new airport on that small piece of land. Not that it's pretty, not that it's easy, but we are doing it on time and on budget. Go look at the new Kosciuszko Bridge, and go look at the Mario Cuomo Bridge, largest infrastructure project in the United States of America, a $4 billion project, it was on the cover of President Obama's last budget document as the premiere infrastructure program, it came in on time, it came in on budget. We can do it. If we get the funding, we will make these things happen because we work at it every day. You ask anyone who's in the real estate construction industry, how do you get a project done on time, you show up every day and you push that project along. And that is exactly what we did with the Tappan Zee, what Rick and the Port Authority are going to do with JFK and LaGuardia, and that's what we will do with the MTA projects.

I'm going to propose next year to raise our $100 billion investment to $150 billion over the next five years. It will provide thousands of good paying, middle class jobs, which is what this nation needs, that middle class anxiety. It will provide a generation of good paying union jobs that have an apprentice program, and have benefits, and have safety, and have training. And it will create a new economic future for New York. I, as I mentioned, I was HUD Secretary. The state that leads in transportation and infrastructure and technology is going to be the state where the economy wins. That can be New York, that can be New York, and we are on the track to do it. There's a moment in time for us to seal our future and our fate as the number one state in the nation again. Fortune favors the bold and New York is the state of the bold. We always have been. Look at what we've done, look at what we've built, look at what we've accomplished. We took a little sliver of land called Manhattan, we made it one of the greatest places in the United States of America. Every building, every design, every architectural challenge, we lead the nation because we dared to lead. Leadership is not easy, it's frightening, and it's risky, and it's hard, and you have to work at it. But that's why we are New Yorkers, that's what's in our blood and in our DNA and in our cells, otherwise we would not be here. You wouldn't make it in this city if you didn't have that constitution and that drive, so let's do it. Thank you and God bless you.

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