In his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the $306 billion in current and proposed infrastructure projects around New York that he said would revitalize the economy after COVID-19 shut down businesses and non-essential construction.
In his Jan. 14 speech, the governor said a total $51 billion was being spent for projects to revive Manhattan's Midtown West neighborhoods, citing potential new projects as well as those well into planning. That figure includes the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall, which opened Jan. 1; the $1.5 billion Jacob K. Javits Center expansion, expected to be completed this year; and the $16 billion Empire Station Complex project, which includes reconstructing Penn Station and increasing its track capacity by 40%, and increasing its track capacity, and connecting Penn to Moynihan hall. The final scope of work for the complex is expected to be presented this year.
Other Midtown West proposals include a replacement for the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is still at the planning-level scoping process; 1,400 units of affordable housing as part of the 14 buildings spanning from Broadway to the Hudson River that will house residential and commercial spaces; and a new waterfront park at Pier 76, occupied by an NYPD tow pound until the end of this month.
"The visionary proposal for the West Side of Manhattan, including the newly announced Empire Station Complex and the replacement of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, will revitalize our strained public transit system and increase access for New Yorkers," said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress.
Beyond Midtown West, Cuomo mentioned rail projects that serve the city or beyond. He said the MTA's $51.5 billion 2020-24 Capital Plan, delayed by the pandemic, would "get back on track" with repair projects, modernized signals, ADA accessibility projects and an expansion of the Second Ave. subway from 96th Street to 125th Street. And the Long Island Rail Road's $2.6-billion third track project is still chugging along, with eight grade crossing eliminations on the main line expected to be finished by the end of 2021.
Cuomo also noted the $21.3 billion being spent to update airports around New York City and upstate. These include $8 billion for new terminals, concourses and roadways at LaGuardia Airport; $13 billion being spent on JFK Airport, including the $700-million Kew Gardens Interchange modernization project; and what's now $300 million in funding for upstate airports, after an additional $100 million commitment.
Other projects located upstate will repair and update highways, roads and bridges, such as the $150 million I-390 and I-490 interchange improvements; the $1.9-billion replacement of the Interstate 81 viaduct in Syracuse, expected to break ground in 2022; and removing the Skyway Bridge in downtown Buffalo and transforming the area into a waterfront park.
The governor also made note of the UBS Arena, expected to open in time for the New York Islanders' 2021-2022 NHL season, which is part of $1.3 billion in private investment around stalwart the Belmont Park horse-racing facility.
The plans outlined in his address showcased Cuomo's strong focus on construction, and he said in his speech that "building with bricks and mortar also builds public optimism and confidence."