Cuomo wants private sector for $15bn infra plan

New York governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on the expertise and capital of the private sector to help revitalise the state’s failing infrastructure. He also wants private capital to fund a new $4bn convention centre.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who is beginning his second year in office, spotlighted infrastructure as one of the state’s key areas of focus in 2012. In his annual ‘State of the State’ address, Cuomo outlined his solutions for growth and called on the private sector to help rebuild New York.

“There is a great opportunity to rebuild New York. We need jobs; we need to be competitive and safe. We must rebuild our infrastructure,” the governor said.

Acknowledging that New York’s budget is not solid enough to finance the reconstruction of the state’s infrastructure – which, according to Cuomo, is in a state of “disrepair” – the governor announced the creation of The New York Works Fund and Task Force, essentially a formalised package that addresses infrastructure needs. 

The fund would leverage each public sector dollar with 20 private sector dollars and would include an actual task force comprised of experts from the public and private sectors. “We need a comprehensive vision and the expertise to get it done,” said the governor. “There are people in the private sector who are experts. We want to invite them in”.

The opportunities are likely to take the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs) that will, according to Cuomo, “leverage state resources to stimulate billions of dollars in economic growth” and create jobs. 

Major projects that are on the radar include the reconstruction of the state’s Tappan Zee Bridge, along with upgrading dozens of other bridges, refurbishing approximately 2,000 miles of roadway, repairing 90 municipal water systems as well as improving historical sites.

Governor Cuomo also voiced his discontent with the functionality of the Jacob Javits Centre, an entertainment facility that is positioned between the Hudson River to the west and development projects to the north and east. 

“We can attract $4 billion in private sector investments to build a state of the art [complex],” said Cuomo. He suggests constructing a new, grander entertainment centre at the Aqueduct Race Track venue in New York City that will catapult the state into the number one position for entertainment.

“We need to accelerate construction and we can’t do it on government time. It must happen on real time. It can’t take three years to put a shovel in the ground,” he added.