by Rick Bell FAIA Executive Director AIA New York
In his 2009 State of the City Address, delivered at Brooklyn College on January 15th, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spoke of creating jobs, strengthening the quality of life in every NYC neighborhood, and stretching every dollar further. Job creation, he said, starts with investing in new infrastructure. And in this fiscal year, the mayor reported that there will be an all-time high of more than $10 billion in capital projects, creating more than 25,000 construction-related jobs. He gave as examples not only the #7 Flushing line extension, but also the new Police Academy in Queens, a new police precinct in Staten Island, libraries in every borough, the Queens Museum expansion, and the High Line build-out.
Relating construction to federal funding, Bloomberg had this to say: “For the past year, we’ve been pushing Washington to focus the Federal Stimulus on ready-to-build infrastructure. In all fairness, they’ve finally come around — and thanks to all the work we’ve done over the past several years, we’re ready to build. We look forward to working with Congress and President-elect Obama — not just on the stimulus package, but on re-thinking the entire way we fund infrastructure projects in this country.”
Those old enough remember the special relationship that existed between NYC and the federal government during the heyday of the Works Progress Administration and its funding of municipal projects. Mayor LaGuardia had a direct line to President Roosevelt, and many NYC Department of Health District Health Centers, among many other federally funded projects, came about as a function of that lifeline.