April 4, 2019
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks at the Association for a Better New York Luncheon

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...

Governor Cuomo: "We prove that government can deliver, that it's not talk, it's not aspirational, it's not hope; we can actually make it happen. And that's what we need to do with the MTA next."


Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered remarks at the Association for a Better New York Luncheon, highlighting the FY 2020 budget and the actions being taken to protect New Yorkers against the federal government's continued assaults on the state.

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

AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here.

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


A rush transcript of remarks is available below:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. First, to Steven Rubenstein who is doing a great, great job leading ABNY. Let's give him a big round of applause. Steven is exactly right. The census is a big deal. We have to all do everything we can to make sure its counted and ABNY is already taking the lead and New York State will be a partner with ABNY and many other groups in making sure we count every New Yorker. Let's give Bill Rudin a round of applause for his service. He also did double duty on the budget this year so I want to thank him for that. And the legislature did an extraordinary job because this was probably the most difficult budgets that I've ever been involved in. Less because of the circumstances of the state, more because of the circumstances of the nation. Let me ask the Assemblymembers to stand, please. They've been introduced, but let's stand so we can give them a round of applause. We have members from the State Senate who are here also. They were also introduced, but please stand so we can give them a round of applause. To all the borough presidents, to the local elected officials, to the city council, to the members of my administration, thank you call very much for being here.

And as Steven said, it's been an eventful few months for the state government. We do what we call a budget and it sounds simple, the budget. It's actually not a budget. It's an action plan for the entire state. It's all the policies, it's all the programs, as well as all the finances. And it all comes together in a document that we call the budget. It was especially hard this year because of the external circumstances that we're dealing with. Because of the forces that are surrounding us. You have a federal government that is assaulting the state of New York. They may as well have declared war on the state of New York. What they did with the SALT tax reform—which we'll speak more about in a moment—our revenues are down $2.3 billion. The President's budget would cut about $4 billion from our Medicaid budget, which would be devastating. The Amazon loss that Steven eluded to. We had criminal justice reforms that were long overdue. We had MTA reforms. We have significant congestion, especially in Manhattan. We have extreme weather now almost every day. We have 100 year floods once a year. And all of this in an environment of political extremism where reasonableness and compromise is all gone. It's heated, it's angry, nothing is enough, and when you're dealing with these issues that are complex, the truth is almost always in the middle and takes consideration.

Understanding the forces that we were dealing with, we laid out a very robust agenda last December, a 100-day agenda that took the bull by the horns and addressed the issues and we said we would get it done in 100 days. We got it done and I again want to applaud the legislature for making some of the toughest, most meaningful reforms that this state has ever made. We start with criminal justice reforms and ending a cash bail system that was a disgrace. You look at Lady Justice. She wears a blindfold. She's holding the scales of justice. When did we ever say that the decision on whether or not to release a person should be based on wealth? And that's what the cash bail system is. If you can afford to pay bail, you leave and you go home. If you can't afford to pay bail, you go sit in Rikers Island and wait one, two, three years before you ever get your day in court, in one of the most abusive, worst jails in the United States of America. It is long overdue. Speaker Heastie's been working on it for years. Assemblymember Latrice Walker was working on it for years. We made a reform - 90 percent. Cash bail is eliminated for 90 percent of the people who will be arrested.

Education is always one of our top priorities. We are proud that we fund, we spend more money per pupil than any state in the United States of America. And we're proud that we have the highest paid teachers of any state in America. And we just funded the largest school budget in the history of the State of New York, a $1 billion increase to a total of $27.9 billion.

We have a President of the United States who is hell-bent on ending Obamacare. I think that the name Obamacare just is something he can't live with. But, he doesn't have any alternative to Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. And as a matter of fact, he says he's not going to have an alternative until after the next presidential election. Well that's convenient if you're rich and you can pay for private insurance. But if you were dependent on a public system, then you better hope you don't get sick until after the presidential election, and then you better hope they actually come up with a plan. What we did in New York is we codified the protections of Obamacare in New York State law, so I don't care what the president does, he's not going to end the protections of the ACA in the State of New York.

We have the boldest women's agenda in the United States of America, I'm proud to say. It began by passing Roe v. Wade to protect the women of New York State when you have a president who says he wants the Supreme Court to roll back Roe v. Wade. Mandated coverage of IVF, which is a first, which will help thousands and thousands of women. Extended rape shield protections, we reformed the domestic violence protections and we increased funding for child care programs.

We launched the Green New Deal, which is going to be the most aggressive in the United States of America, 100 percent carbon free by 2040. No other state is being that aggressive. We are banning plastic bags, which is long overdue. They have been a blight on this city and state for many, many years. You see them hanging in trees in poorer communities like bizarre Christmas ornaments. They are all over the waterways. There's no reason for them, it's about time we ban them. We tried for the past several years and we got it done this year.

We have, we're blessed to have a Legislature that passed the strictest gun control laws in the United States of America called the SAFE Act. We have now even improved those laws by adding what's called the Red Flag Law. These mass murders in schoolrooms, over half the times the teachers will tell you that there were signs that the student was troubles before the shooting but there was nothing they could do. What the Red Flag Bill says is a teacher, a family member can go to a judge if they believe a person is troubled and could be a threat to themselves or others and can get the guns removed. It bans bump stocks and it extends the waiting period for purchasing a gun. Smart, common-sense and they will save lives in the State of New York.

The 2 percent property tax cap is very important. It's not important for the people in the City of New York for one very good reason: you don't have a 2 percent property tax cap. But, outside the City of New York, property taxes are the number one tax in the state. People pay roughly two and a half times in property tax what they pay in state income tax. Two and a half times. That's the largest tax in the state. If you live in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, you're paying one of the highest taxes in the United States of America in property tax. It was going up six, seven, eight percent every year. We put in a two percent property tax. We now made that cap permanent to give people the confidence after what the federal government is doing with SALT. I want to applaud the members from the Long Island delegation and from upstate New York who knew how important this was. It saved taxpayers $25 billion dollars over the past six years. Let's give the Long Island members a round of applause.

We cut middle class taxes for New Yorkers earning up to $300,000. We call it "middle class." It's an expanded middle-class for my Queens reference point. But up to $300,000 and below, people get a tax-cut. It's another sign to say this state is with you, stay with us. We want you here in the state of New York.

And we're battling SALT. SALT is one of the grossest injustices that I have seen a government entity perpetrate on another entity. What SALT is saying, is it reduces the state and local tax deduction. First time ever. So you now pay state income tax, city income tax, the federal government now taxes that tax. It's the first double-taxation in history. Not since 1861 when President Lincoln did the first income tax to pay for the Civil War have you ever had a double-taxation. Why is the federal government doing it? Because it affects primarily Democratic states. That is the only rationale which is purely political. That's why they're doing it. And as a matter of principle, listen to this, they're against redistribution, the federal government, right? You shouldn't take from the rich, you shouldn't give to the poor. That's redistribution. They shouldn't be Robin Hood.

There are 40 states that take more money out of the federal till than they put in only 10 states in the United States that actually contribute more than they take, okay? So 10 states put into the bucket. 40 states take out of the bucket. New York is the number one donor state. We put in $36 billion more every year than we get back. The former Governor of Florida wrote an Op-Ed saying "well, Florida has lower taxes." I said, yeah, because we're subsidizing your taxes! If you actually got what you gave to the federal government, if there was actually equity in the distribution, those local taxes would have to go up. So we're the number one donor state. We put in $36 billion more. Under SALT it would be an additional $15 billion that New York should pay. They want to talk about redistribution. Donald Trump is Robin Hood on steroids when it comes to redistribution. It increases taxes for many New Yorkers as much as 30 percent. We cannot allow it. It will change the economic trajectory of the state of New York.

I'm working with Governors all across the state. I spoke to the President about it. I met with Larry Kudlow about it last week. There's no rationale, there's no principle, it's all politics, but we have to join together and fight this. It's 15 states and we have to make sure this is repealed, or we're going to have a different economic trajectory in this state, and I look forward to working with you on that.

As Steven mentioned, we have spending down one and a half percent. The Republicans in the room say how can that be, you're a Democrat? You Democrats like to spend money. It's a genetic flaw that you people are born with. That's not a nice thought that you just had. There is an old paradigm that said "if government wants to do something good, you have to spend more money." More money, more money, more money. What they leave out is how you use the money. So our spending is at record low increases. Lower than Republican Governors. George Pataki, 12 years. His average increase was five percent a year. How can we be at one and a half? Because we take the time to actually manage the government. It's not that our government is doing less. Our government is doing more than ever before. We're just doing it better, more cost effectively, with more efficiency than ever before. But we are at a time when we cannot increase spending, because we are already seeing revenue losses. But managing the government, it's not sexy, it's not fun, but it actually works. And as Steven said, nine budgets on time, you have to go back to Governor Lehman to find a Governor who did nine budgets on time, and again that's the reasonableness and professionalism of the legislature.

Of the 20 items that we discussed in December, the only one we haven't gotten done is the legalization of marijuana. And we're going to continue to work on that through June. But we did take on the toughest issue

It's good to know there is one person here who is actually under the influence of marijuana. I understand.

We did take on the toughest issue, that has for decades gone without resolution. And it's always the tough ones that by definition have been around a long time. Because they're controversial and they're difficult, and politicians don't want to touch them because your hands get dirty. And that is really about the MTA. And I came to ABNY last February and I said it is do or die. We have to make dramatic changes and we have to do it now, no matter how uncomfortable. And it's M and M. It's about management and money. I am not going to go to the people of the state of New York and say we should give more money to the MTA, until I can say the MTA is better managed and they're going to use that money efficiently and effectively. I was not going to go for congestion pricing, I would not support a toll increase, until I knew the management reforms were being made. And if the board wasn't going to make them because they were too difficult, then we can make them by law. And that is exactly what we did.

You have to start by reorganizing the MTA fundamentally. It was set up by Governor Rockefeller and they took the easy way out. The easy way out is you take four corporations, the railroad, Metro-North, the subways, bridges and tunnels, and you put one piece of stationary over all four. You just create a holding company. But they left the four entities intact. Four separate operating divisions with one piece of stationary. The MTA is huge. 70,000 employees, $16 billion budget. It's larger than 17 states' budget, the MTA itself. 155 employees earn over $250,000, average compensation, $140,000. And we laid out a very aggressive agenda about what had to be done to reform the MTA. The legislature passed those reforms, all of them, and more.

The first one was to do a fundamental reorganization of the MTA, and consolidate common functions, rather than having the four subdivisions each do everything themselves. When decentralization doesn't work, then centralize. And that's what we're going to do here. Centralize it in the MTA, so all the common across the board functions get centralized. And we need to basically change the way the MTA operates. You have a double dynamic at the MTA. It's a negative synergy. First you have an MTA transportation industrial complex I call it. They don't like it when I say that but I say it anyway. There is a connectivity between the MTA and the vendor industry that goes back for decades. You work in the MTA, then you go to work at the vendor, and you have all these close-knit connections. On top of that you have a bureaucracy culture on steroids. Which happens automatically if there's not real accountability and real performance, and somebody's really not driving the bottom line, bureaucracy sets in. And that is the MTA. It has to be stopped. The MTA story, it's always the same, they did a contract, the contractor's late, the contractor's over budget, et cetera. It's Groundhog Day at the MTA. Every conversation is the same. The project name changes but it's the same conversation. And the answer, the refrain, is always the same. Why did we do this? Because we always do it this way. And there's a sense of security in I'm doing what we always did and therefore I must be right. There is a certain sense of security in that. Yes, unless you were doing it wrong the first time. And then you're just repeating a mistake over and over and over again. So it's a false sense of security. But it is the operating paradigm of the MTA, and you see if over and over and over.

Second Avenue subway, started in 1972. Original cost $380 million, wound up cosign $4.4 billion. That is not a cost overrun. That is a cost explosion of exponential magnitude. East Side Access project—started in 1969. Governor Rockefeller and Mayor Lindsay got together, I love that headline, "Mayor and Governor unite to start transit tube." Yeah, you see how well that worked out, right? 1969, this is the cost estimates of the East Aide Access. Starts at $75 million in the 60s, it's now up to $11 billion. 2012, it was $8 billion. How do you go from $8 billion to $11 billion? That is $3 billion, 2012, you're already into the project for 50 years. How can you be that wrong? You can't be. And, how can it take so long? At this rate, I don't think I'm going to be alive for the opening of the East Side Access. I think my grandchild will be there at the opening. Somewhere in the decade of 2040. And those are my daughters, Michaela, Mariah, and Cara. Mariah is here today. She's saying God forbid my grandchild looks like that. I would put that kid up for adoption. That's not nice. They remind you of me, always. What bothers me about this picture also is that Foye, Janno, and Steven look exactly the same 40 years later. Only I'm gone.

The L train fiasco was another example. The MTA worked for two years to come up with a plan to redesign the L train and they had to close the tunnels and they were going to do new traffic and new buses and paint new lanes. And we brought in independent experts and they said you know what there's a better way there's an easier way there's a cheaper way you don't even have to close the tunnels. How can that be? How can it be? So, if the MTA can't design build and oversee a project, then we'll change the methodology by law. And we will go to design build construction, which is what New York State is doing, what all the smart states are doing. Understand that you can't do what you can't do. Understand your limitations. The most important thing to know is to know what you don't know. They are not good at actually building, they are not good at designing, then get out of the business. And go to the private sector, which is where they have this expertise. And contract with the private sector to do the design and the construction. Keep them together, get one sum, make the private sector company responsible for both, get the MTA out of the design business, and let them just oversee the contracts. That's what we've done on the state side, it's worked magnificently well, it's going to be disruptive to the MTA, but there's no alternative if we're going to get something done.

Second is we have to stop using the bad contractors. The contractors who we've had issues with in the past rebid and receive new contracts. I've never seen anything like it. If you were building a home and you had a home contractor, and they were over budget, and the house had many errors, and then you went to build a new house, why would you ever use the same contractor again? I don't know. But the MTA does. We put in the law, if a contractor's 10 percent over budget, or 10 percent over the scheduled deadline, the contractor will be debarred from doing business with the MTA, and can be debarred from doing any business with any state agency going forward. Severe sanction? Yes. But if you sign a contract with the MTA, you have to perform. Because it's not really the MTA. You're signing that contract with the people of the state of New York. And I represent the people of the state of New York. And when they sign a contract and they're paying, they demand their money's worth and they demand performance and I'm going to make sure they get it. And that's what this provision is going to do.

With the East Side Access, before I die, we're going to bring a new team in, the same way we did with the L train, we're going to have them overlook all the construction, all the design, and see if there's a better way to do it. East Side Access will be transformative when it's done. It allows the trains from Long Island to come right in to Grand Central. It will be phenomenal, but we have to get it done and we need a new set of eyes to do it. Fare evasion at the MTA is a very big issue. It has doubled. Why? Because when you see someone just walking through the emergency exit not paying the fare, then it says to you, well why am I paying the fare? I may as well just walk through and not pay the fare. Yeah, but then you end up with a voluntary fare system. And New Yorkers, if it turns into a voluntary fare system, they're not going to pay. We have to enforce the fare system in the MTA. I understand we don't want people to have a criminal record. I got it. But we have to have personnel at those entrances, we have to redesign the entrances so you can't just open the door and walk in, and we have to have MTA personnel, police personnel, who hand a person a civil summons, that civil summons is then enforceable and that civil summons will also be enforced by the state, when you go to get your motor vehicle license or register your car, et cetera. But you can't have a voluntary fare system.

The MTA board was a political nightmare, you had holdover appointments from people who are out of office, there was politics on top of politics on top of politics, and city politics, and suburban politics. The state has no politics so the state side was very easy. But all of their politics were difficult. It was one of the most dysfunctional boards I've ever seen. I had a suggestion for a new board, that would be less politically problematic because I thought they could get along better than the MTA board. But, we made changes to the MTA board no holdover appointments, we put on new members, and let's give Pat Foye a round of applause as the new Chairman. Also, only at the MTA, once the board acts, the Governor, the Mayor, the Senate Leader and the Assembly Speaker have the right to unilaterally veto the capital plan, even after the board passes it. Why? I have no idea. But, not only did they have the right to veto it, it could be a secret veto that they never said why, or what bothered them, et cetera. That's gone. They have the right to veto but it has to be public, they have to state their objections and the MTA has to have a right to cure.

The MTA's finances do not add up in my opinion because what they're doing is they're amalgamating the finances of the four different divisions, and the four different divisions all have different financial standards, and financial language and financial assumptions. We're going to bring in an independent audit to find out what we actually have. The signal system which you hear so much about, is outdated, is archaic, it has to be replaced. It regulates how fast the trains can run, and how closely the trains can run. The current technology we're looking at seven years, 10 years, 12 years, depending on who you talk to. Because vendors are installing technology they designed in the 80s. I believe there's better technology out there. If you can figure out how a car can fly, and you can get in a car that drives you by itself to Southampton. You have to be able to have technology where one train can tell you where the other train is on a closed system. There's an ultra-wide band system that we're exploring, but we have to get creative and accelerate this. The MTA also has to operate with financial integrity. New York State has a two percent cap each year, the MTA has to live within a two percent fare increase each year, because New Yorkers deserve it.

We also need a real Capital Plan. The range is now $30 billion to $80 billion--that's not a range, that's a guesstimate. The State, the City will work with the MTA to come up with a real Capital Plan that we can actually get done. And in the meantime, we have to accelerate what we're now doing which is the Subway Action plan, which is working. All the arrows are now in the right direction and what the Subway Action Plan said is we're going to intensely focus on basics: getting the water out of the Subway system that is short circuiting the signal; fixing the bad signals; cleaning the cars; cleaning the stations. Get back to fundamentals and make it happen. Just make the bureaucracy function, and that's gone well but we have to continue doing that. And we will with a new vigor.

Change the culture from "why we can't get it done," to "how we can." And that is a culture change but the MTA is in the middle of that now. And then a reliable funding stream so we don't have to guess every year and that is going to be congestion pricing. Congestion pricing is an idea that is long overdue. It doesn't exist anywhere in the nation but Singapore, Stockholm has done it, London has done it; it's common sense. Toll the Central business district. The tolls are estimated to raise $15 billion. The toll will be set when we know what the Capital Plan is because the toll pays for the Capital Plan so you need to know what the Capital Plan is first. We also have to put in electronic tolling infrastructure to actually charge it and that's going to take about two years.

All the yelling, "well this is going to be a big burden on the out of State, out of City, the outer borough people." outer borough residents are not driving their cars into Manhattan; that's not how they come in. I'm a Queens boy, only very rich people can drive into Manhattan. You have to pay the toll; you have to pay parking $0 to $50; it probably comes close to $100 a day. Brooklyn—one percent were driving in; Queens—two percent; Bronx—1.9 percent. Most of the people driving in are driving in from outside of the State. And it will also reduce congestion. We have to get congestion down in Manhattan. Buses don't move. The average speed now for a bus is four miles per hour. You sit in a car, you're better off getting out and walking, usually. You have to reduce congestion. And the only way you do that is to have a final disincentive for cars driving in or for cars just driving in for-hire vehicles and constantly circulating in Manhattan waiting to pick up a fare.

On top of the tolls, we have a $5 billion mansion tax that will be dedicated to the MTA. A $5 billion internet tax, which is a tax that was long overdue. There's no reason there shouldn't be a sales tax on internet sales; it's just another advantage for internet companies over bricks and mortar. But those funds will all go into a lockbox, they will only go to the MTA. I believe they will endure to the benefit of Manhattan real estate interests when we have a better transportation system. 80 percent of the plan will go to New York City Transit, 10 percent to Metro-North, 10 percent to Long Island. We'll fund major capital projects that are already underway. I want to thank again the Speaker, the Senate Leader, the Mayor who supported it, ABNY, who did a great job, and the Partnership. Let's give them a round of applause.

And most of all, we are doing it. we are making it happen. And this is a point that, the older I get and the more I see, the profound it is. We were New York, we were America. We had confidence. We believed in ourselves. We did things that they told us were impossible to do. If you told us it was impossible to do, all you did was get us excited. You can't build the Brooklyn Bridge, just watch us. You can't build the George Washington Bridge, just watch us. You can't build 600 miles of subway in the early 1900s with only picks and shovels, you can't do it! Just watch us. You can't build that big city on that little piece of land, just watch us. You can't take people from all over this globe and bring them to one place and forge one community. Just watch us. That's who we were. That's who America was but New York was a distillation of that vision of that courage of that daring.

When did government incompetence become okay? When did this happen? That government became impotent. And it would say it was going to do something but it never did anything. How did this happen and when were we okay with it? When did we lose our sense of outrage? And this is not just New York. It's an American problem. We're building a new LaGuardia Airport it's going to be the first new airport in 25 years in the United States of America. You've had five presidents promise, were going to rebuild, were going to be rebuilding, I'm going to do money for infrastructure. Donald Trump $1.5 trillion infrastructure. You know what we got? Nothing. And it wasn't just Donald Trump, it was President Obama, it was President Clinton. We've lost our confidence and our drive in saying we can do these things and we need to do these things. And by the way when we're not doing it, not everybody else is standing still. All the other countries are building.

I used to say when I was HUD Secretary, if you're not building, the town down the block is. Nobody is waiting for you, it's a competition. And these other places that are developing and we are standing right where we are. Maglev trains, we talked about it 25 years ago. Now China has trains that go 268 miles an hour. There building tunnels, there building longer bridges, they're building magnificent infrastructure. And we have lost our ability to do it. It costs us governmental credibility and it cost us economic growth. It cost us both.

I was speaking to a gentleman the other day and he said, "ya know, I went past LaGuardia. They're building a new LaGuardia." I said, I know. I announced it 11 times that we're building a new LaGuardia. And he said "Yeah, but I never believed you." I said, what do you mean you didn't believe—I said we are going to do it, what did you think that I was not going to do what I said what I was going to do? He said "Exactly! That's what you people do." How did we get to this place and how do we get from this place? You stop talking and you starting doing.

Congestion pricing, Mayor Lindsay proposes it in 1966, Rockefeller propose it in 1973, Cox proposes it, Bloomberg proposes it. We got to get it done after 53 years. Moynihan Train Hall. President Bill Clinton, George Pataki stood up, announced it. 2005 Senator Clinton had the federal money after 27 years were going to get it done. It's going to be done in 2020. Second Avenue subway first proposed in 1919 because it was common sense. Governor Rockefeller and Mayor Lindsay another big groundbreaking 1972 Governor Spitzer the first ground breaking was so long ago he came back he broke ground again nobody even knew it was broken ground. We got phase one completed in 2016 and we now have funding to do phase two. Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko Bridge 2002 Governor Pataki launches the study to replace the 1939 bridge. After 17 years we're going to get it rebuilt. Javits Center expansion - 2004 they said Javits Center is too small. 2006, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg broke ground. 2008 Governor Spitzer had a new plan. 2008, short-term Spitzer, Governor Paterson proposes another new plan. After 15 years, we're going to open it in 2021, doubling the size of Javits. LaGuardia Airport, a disgrace for decades. 2002 it started. 2021, Mr. Rick Cotton is going to have a party, you are all invited, after 17 years LaGuardia will be new, the first new airport in 25 years.


Downgrading the Sheridan Expressway so you open that part of the Bronx to the river. Robert Moses, wherever he saw a river was a place to build a highway. We're now going back and taking down those highways, we're going to do it on the Sheridan Expressway. Tappan Zee Bridge, 1997. We completed it after 21 years. The Third Track in Long Island, proposed in 1949. 1994, the LIRR put out a study. We're doing it after 70 years, it will be finished in 2022. The, what they call the Double Track, which was talked about in 1963, that was completed last year after 55 years. Electronic tolling, other states started in 2011. We got it done in 12 months.

That was our $100 billion statewide infrastructure plan, the most aggressive state plan in the United States of America. It wasn't just downstate; it was all across the state. Albany Airport, they talked about improving since 1990. We actually did it after 29 years, it's going to open in 2020. A new train station for Schenectady, they've been talking about for years. That opened in 2018 after 19 years. In Buffalo, they've been talking about a new Peace Bridge to go to Canada. We got that done after 27 years. A new airport in Rochester, new airport in Elmira, new airport in Plattsburgh, new airport in Syracuse, new airport in Ithaca. New Albany Convention Center opened up.

We prove that government can deliver, that it's not talk, it's not aspirational, it's not hope; we can actually make it happen. And that's what we need to do with the MTA next. The past four years we spent $100 billion, we showed the taxpayers we can get things done. This budget provides $150 billion, the largest building program in the United States of America.

Over the next four years, I am willing to put my name on the line and tell you exactly what we are going to get done. New LaGuardia Airport, new Javits, new Moynihan Train Hall, L Train Tunnel finished, Long Island Rail Road Double Track - Third Track, 39 new stations on the Long Island Rail Road. A new Sheridan Expressway, Kosciusko Bridge, Nassau Expressway, East Side Access is going to be open or you can bury my heart in the East Side Access. Congestion pricing will be done, JFK will be underway, major service improvements in the Transit Authority and the largest major wind turbine power system of any state in the county, which is going to be the economy of tomorrow. That's four years and we're going to get that done.

We get this done, we will have transformed New York. Think about all those projects and think about how comprehensive they are. New airports, new rail, new bridges, new power systems. It will be a new New York. We will have shown the daring and the confidence that our forefathers showed when they built this New York in the first place. And that is our obligation as citizens - to leave this place better than we found it. And we will leave it better than we found it. And at the end of the day, when my day is done, I need to be able to look my daughter in the eye and say, "We left you a place that is better than the place that our parents left us." We have advanced the ball. We hand you the baton. And you can now take this place to an even higher place. That's what New York is about. That spirit that says you will not defeat me, that I don't care how terrible the obstacle, we will overcome time and time again. And that is how New York has always led this nation. It's our legacy, it's our destiny, it's in our DNA. We did it first, we did it better, we raise the bar higher. And we will again. Thank you and God bless you.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office