Design and Construction Industry Letter in Support of the American Jobs Plan
Members of the New York Congressional Delegation,
We are writing on behalf of New York’s design and construction industry professionals to thank you for your strong support of the American Jobs Plan. As outlined, the jobs plan would dramatically improve the quality of New York’s infrastructure, all while reducing inequality, mitigating against the effects of climate change, and creating thousands of good-paying jobs.
As the jobs plan is being debated in Washington, we want to reaffirm our support for its provisions and highlight some areas of improvement that we believe would benefit all New Yorkers:
Increase funding for mass transit: New York alone requires hundreds of billions of dollars to fund mass transit improvements. We are pleased to know that necessary levels of funding will be dedicated to move the Gateway Program forward, however, we ask that other mass transit projects in New York also receive sufficient funding. Transporting New York’s people and freight more efficiently is imperative to our overall economic growth.
Fund transportation alternatives: Allocate robust funding to fix our transit challenges through relatively lower-cost design and construction solutions, such as bus lanes, bike lanes, and the pedestrianization of streets. These solutions will reduce the strain on existing infrastructure and improve the quality of life for cyclists, pedestrians, seniors, and people experiencing disabilities. New York has numerous programs and legislation in place to do this, but they require more funding to be implemented successfully.
Invest in reimagining urban highways: Highways have been critical to the success of modern cities, allowing for people and goods to move with ease, however, they have tremendous social costs, including polluting and dividing marginalized communities. We need dedicated federal funding to reimagine these transportation infrastructure assets into places that provide equitable access to open space, enhanced placemaking, and protection from the effects of climate change.
Provide funding for New York to implement sustainability legislation: At the state and city level, New York is in the process of implementing, respectively, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and Local Law 97-2019. These ambitious pieces of legislation require our state and city governments to spend billions of dollars upgrading energy infrastructure and retrofitting government buildings. Yet, funding is needed to make these projects move ahead so that government can lead the way towards a greener, cleaner future.
Increase funding for affordable housing: NYCHA alone requires at least $40 billion, most of which is expected to come from the federal government. Without significant federal investment, NYCHA’s residents will continue to live in dangerously dilapidated buildings.
Couple funding for housing with removal of exclusionary zoning: The federal government has a long history of driving local policy through mandates and making the receipt of federal funding contingent upon compliance with important national objectives. Therefore, funding to local governments for the development of housing should be contingent upon the elimination of exclusionary zoning practices that are overly restrictive, decrease affordability, and harm our local and regional economies, i.e., single-family zoning. These policies have seriously hampered efforts to combat the housing crisis in New York City and its surrounding counties, increased segregation and inequality, and ultimately prevented the housing supply from matching the needs of New York’s residents. The jobs plan offers a unique opportunity to combat exclusionary zoning policies across all of New York.
Again, we thank you for your strong advocacy on behalf of New York’s built environment. We are committed to ensuring that the jobs plan becomes law and that billions of dollars of funding support New York’s economy. Please consider our members in the design and construction industries as a resource while you examine the jobs plan and other similar proposals.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
American Institute of Architects New York
Carlo A. Scissura, Esq.
President & CEO
New York Building Congress
John T. Evers, PhD
American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
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