by AIA New York
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would be resigning in two weeks amid accusations of sexual misconduct. This marks the end of over ten years of his administration, with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul soon to be elevated to the governorship. During his time in office, Governor Cuomo was particularly focused on improving the state’s infrastructure, something even President Biden noted recently. This made him an incredibly impactful executive for the design and construction industries.
Cuomo managed to push through some enormous infrastructure projects during his tenure. These include Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway, Moynihan Train Hall, and the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement (officially named the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge). The renovation of LaGuardia Airport, East Side Access, and the third track of the LIRR are nearing completion. Not only did these projects create significant job opportunities in the industry, they transformed the built environment for all New Yorkers.
However, Cuomo’s role in infrastructure was often marred by accusations of cronyism, as some of his close allies benefitted financially from projects. Two of his senior staff, Alain Kaloyeros and Joe Percoco, were convicted in separate illegal schemes related to bid-rigging. Cuomo himself was accused, though never charged, with operating a “pay to play” culture for MTA contractors, in which potential contractors were expected to receive work in exchange for political contributions. His departure provides New York with an opportunity to continue improving its aging infrastructure, while doing so in a way that adheres to principles of good government.
With the end of an era coming in Albany, many questions remain for the future of the state’s infrastructure. Crucially, future Governor Hochul will need to address how congestion pricing is implemented and how to distribute an influx in federal infrastructure funding. AIANY will continue its staunch support for congestion pricing, which we fought hard to pass in the NYS Legislature, and for the state to receive significant infrastructure funding. We will continue to keep our members updated and informed on how their work may be impacted by the political shifts in Albany.