New York City plans to make more than $1 billion available for infrastructure projects that are already in progress or ready to begin, under an accelerated program announced today, Oct. 17. The move, part of the city's updated four-year Capital Commitment Plan, will create about 8,000 mostly construction-related jobs during the next two fiscal years, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in announcing the effort at a press conference with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Comptroller John Liu.

To do this, the city will borrow the $1 billion at low interest rates at a time when construction costs are also low. The low interest rates will help the city save more than $200 million, Liu says.

The program moves up capital commitments to fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for certain "unglamorous" projects that were scheduled to be undertaken later in the capital plan, Bloomberg says. Some of the projects will be completed within 20 months, he adds.

Projects earmarked for accelerated funding include: nearly $300 million in investments including lighting and fire safety for 100 public schools; $59.8 million for resurfacing an additional 300 lane-miles of roads, from 700 to 1,000 miles per year; $37.7 million for street reconstruction; more than $21 million in sewer and water main projects; nearly $20 million for protective bridge coatings; $20 million to improve living conditions in public housing developments; and $13.2 million for waterfront infrastructure improvements.

The mayor recognized Liu, who "first advanced the concept that we’re seeing here today." Liu followed that up by recognizing Richard Anderson, New York Building Congress president, "who was with me when we published our report back in June and made these recommendations."

Anderson praised the city officials' efforts in a statement. The plan "will do much more than create thousands of important construction jobs," he says. "It will allow New York City to maintain its competitive edge, while also reducing the city's overall debt burden by taking advantage of historically low interest rates."

The three-volume updated Capital Commitment Plan is available on the city's Office of Management and Budget Web site.