White House report says New York’s infrastructure woes include 1,700 bridges in poor condition, broadband and transit needs

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  • By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor Apr 13, 2021
FILE - NY Andrew Cuomo 12-19-2018
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tours the North River Rail Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York Wednesday on Dec. 19, 2018.Flickr / Gov. Andrew Cuomo

(The Center Square) – New York state received a C-minus grade from the White House on Monday for the state of its infrastructure.

The report card comes just two weeks after the Biden administration released its American Jobs Plan, a proposal to bolster the country’s infrastructure. The broad-based initiative seeks to improve transportation, broadband access, and energy and water distribution as well as shore up other needs across the country.

In all, the administration proposes to spend about $2 trillion over the next decade to make what it said are essential repairs and updates.

“The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China,” the White House said in a statement Monday.

Among the items the report card points out is that New York state has more than 1,700 bridges and almost 7,300 miles of highways that it considers to be in “poor” condition. Over the past decade, commute times have increased by more than 7 percent and motorists now pay $625 in annual costs because of the poor road conditions.

The federal government proposes to spend $115 billion to repair roads and bridges.

The report card also indicates that commuters who reply on public transit, including buses and rail, spend an extra 58.9 percent of time traveling to and from work. Minority communities are 2.5 times more likely to use mass transportation, and more than 1-in-10 busses and trains in New York are past their useful life.

Public transportation projects would receive $85 billion under the White House’s plan.

Also, 31.4 percent of the state’s residents live in places that have just one broadband supplier. In addition, 13 percent of New Yorkers do not have hard-line internet access.

The federal government is proposing to spend $100 billion to bring broadband to more people nationwide. That proposal comes as the state’s recently passed budget includes a provision that low-income families can get access for just $15 month.

“Everyone has to have access,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week. “Not only access, but access to affordable broadband.”

The White House report also notes that the state has experienced 31 extreme weather events, such as Superstorm Sandy, in the past decade that have cost the state $100 billion in damages.

Biden wants to spend $50 billion to improve the resiliency of the country’s infrastructure.

Another project that could be in line to receive funding from the proposal is the Gateway Tunnel initiative, which would build new rail tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey and immediately improve rail access to the northeastern United States.

It’s a project Cuomo has tried to get federally funded for years.

“I’ve already spoken to the President about it,” the governor said. “The president was very favorable about the gateway tunnels, but until I see a check signed by the federal government, I take everything with a grain of salt.”

New York was not alone in getting its below average grade. It was one of 21 states and the District of Columbia to get that mark. While eight states received no grade, the remainder of states and Puerto Rico received between a C-plus to a D-minus.

Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania received the same grade as New York. Vermont got a C, while New Jersey earned a D-plus.

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