Chairman, Assembly Cities Committee
On the recent agreement between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund the MTA capital plan ...
“I’m really happy … It seems to be, for the most part, most people are very happy with it. We’ve got close to 9 million people a day riding the mass transit system, be it the subways, buses or the rail lines coming into the city and going out. They rely on this system and it’s got to be constantly kept up and it was a worry for us and I’m sure other New Yorkers that this wasn’t going to happen.”
On his focus as the new Assembly Cities Committee chairman ...
“I have to look at the needs of the cities and one of the things we’ve found out, certainly during the last winter, we have waterlines busting all over the place. Across the river in Troy and Rensselaer, they were having massive problems with that and rest of the state, too. We have some very vocal members out there, mayors, who are very concerned and turned my attention on that and I want to look at them seriously. This is the proper role of government – to take a look at the entire state’s needs and deal with them.”
Manhattan Borough President
On the Verizon FiOS broadband expansion ...
“Verizon signed a contract with New York City to provide FiOS service to city residents who want it. Verizon needs to take the necessary steps to make good on its word, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration needs to be ready to exercise every legal option to hold Verizon to its agreement. That said, we need to assess the practical problems Verizon is reporting it’s had in trying to extend service, and look into whether there are actions we can take to help Verizon. The biggest example seems to be figuring out how to make it easier for Verizon to pass through private property in order to lay cable and complete installations. We need a full accounting of requests for FiOS and whether they were fulfilled, we need to communicate consumers’ rights clearly so they know what they have a right to expect, and we need to establish clear standards for what Verizon’s real obligations are under the contract they signed.”
Member, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
On replacing the elevated portion of I-81 through downtown Syracuse ...
“This project is the largest civic project in the history of Central New York. Early in my term, I had concerns that the final scoping document would permanently discard feasible, constructive options for the I-81 rebuild. For this reason, I urged state and federal stakeholders to present a comprehensive range of options to the public in the state’s final scoping document – and I was happy that they did so. Our community is now able to move forward with a public conversation on the future of this project.”
On how the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act helps move the I-81 project forward ...
“The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act provides long-term solutions to address many of Central New York’s pressing infrastructure needs. This bill breaks the cycle of short-term extensions and, importantly, speeds up project delivery and provides stability so that our state can plan for the long term. At my request, the bill designates I-81 through Central New York as a ‘high-priority corridor,’ signifying the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s recognition of the importance of I-81 to our community and to our national economy.”
Sean Patrick Maloney
Member, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
On why he supports public-private partnerships in government work ...
“P3s are by no means a silver bullet for our transportation and infrastructure needs, but as we have seen in other developed nations, they can unlock tremendous potential and possibilities for a country’s infrastructure. The need for investment in our roads and bridges has never been greater and we as a country are falling behind. This hurts our competitiveness, our labor markets and our economy as a whole. While Congress certainly needs to pass legislation with a robust source of traditional federal funding for infrastructure, we can and should be doing more. P3s aren’t right for every project, but when well-executed and done in a way that ensures we are protecting our workers, they have the potential to get more projects done quickly.”
On his public-private partnership bill ...
“My bill, the Public-Private Partnership Infrastructure Investment Act, creates an office within the Department of Transportation to assist states in making use of P3s. P3s are used throughout the world but since they are still relatively new in the United States, many states and municipalities lack the resources or expertise to make use of this method of project delivery. By providing states and municipalities with technical expertise, contract drafting assistance, and strategies for how best to leverage their assets and unlock private investment all while protecting taxpayer interest, this office can ensure that projects in the Hudson Valley, in New York and across the country are able get off the ground with proper funding in a timely manner.”
Chairman, Senate Transportation Committee
On how the state spent the Department of Financial Services bank settlement money ...
“We felt, given we’re in the Northeast, have an aging infrastructure and are directly responsible for not only some major roads, bridges, canal bridges and things of that nature all the way from New York City across upstate New York, that a greater lion’s share of that should have went to infrastructure. Both because there is a need and you can’t keep pushing it down the road – it will only get more expensive – and also because this was one-time money and it made great sense to me to take care of things that would last 20 or 25 years out. Not only would the jobs put people to work, but also help taxpayers. I was in the camp and spoke at rallies and had dialogue with my colleagues, both as a transportation chairman and as my own opinion and what I was hearing from people in my district and knowing the need here. I thought more of it should have gone into infrastructure, especially roads and bridges. I’m glad we did Tappan Zee and there are some transportation projects, but I think I can say loosely that I for one really felt we should have spent more of that money on those projects.”
State Special Adviser for Infrastructure
On identifying innovative ways to rebuild critical infrastructure in New York ...
“Among the projects I have been involved with is LaGuardia Airport, which had expanded in a piecemeal fashion since it first opened in 1939. The governor had a bold vision to take a comprehensive look at LaGuardia and reimagine it as a state-of-the-art facility, worthy of New York City in the 21st century. Through an innovative public-private partnership, half of the proposed $4 billion LaGuardia project will be privately funded. We are breaking ground next year, and with it, creating 8,000 construction jobs alone. Having completed work on LaGuardia, the Airport Advisory Panel the governor appointed, of which I am a member, is now focused on JFK and exploring ways to overhaul Stewart and Republic airports.
“Another major initiative that the governor has been championing is the use of alternative project delivery mechanisms – like public-private partnerships and design-build – to foster innovation and deliver major infrastructure in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. The construction of the New NY Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee over the Hudson River is a great example of design-build – the “I Lift NY” super crane helped reduce construction time and project costs from original estimates. We are currently working with other state entities, including the MTA, to deliver major infrastructure projects using design-build and other innovative delivery systems across the state.”
Director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency
On the innovative storm-protection infrastructure project from 23rd Street down to Montgomery Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side …
“Many people were calling for flood walls and making sure that we wouldn’t flood in the event of another Sandy. And what we didn’t want to have is the type of infrastructure that was a big, bulky flood wall that, yes, would work, but during all those days where there’s no hurricane or coastal storm or flood risk is cutting off our neighborhoods from our greatest natural asset: our waterfront. We wanted to approach it a little differently and really think about the integration of flood risk reduction measures into our neighborhoods in a way that enhances the neighborhood fabric.
“We’ve been working with the community on scoping out the project, and it’s turned into a mixture of temporary and permanent flood protection measures. In some cases, it is an elevated berm that is part of the park, and helps to access the bridges that get you over the highway, over the FDR. And then some temporary features, where when for any number of reasons you can’t have permanent flood protection put in place because of public access or how it fits into the neighborhood, there will be sections where flood protection can be temporary in nature – where it can be installed in advance of the storm. We’re making sure that it is stitched together in a rational way to provide that protection when needed, but enhance the neighborhood fabric on those days when there is no flood risk.”