by Adam Roberts
The results of the 2018 General Election, also known as the “Midterms,” may have major implications for architecture and the construction industry. Democrats look likely to have lost a net of one to two US Senate seats and are likely to pick up over 35 seats in the US House of Representatives and seven governorships. In New York, Democrats took control of the State Senate, giving them total control of the state government.
Democratic control of the US House may restart conversations around an infrastructure bill. While President Trump did propose an infrastructure plan earlier this year, it offered little federal funding for work and received a poor reception. As infrastructure is one of the few issues both Republicans and Democrats may be willing to address, the possibility of a more serious proposal from Trump, or even a bipartisan plan, seems more likely.
There is also the issue of funding the Gateway Program, which would construct a much-needed new rail tunnel on the Hudson River from New Jersey into Manhattan. While President Barack Obama had promised to fund Gateway, Trump has withheld funding. A Democratic House, particularly one with numerous New Yorkers likely to chair key committees, could potentially force Trump back to the negotiating table.
Meanwhile, Democratic control of the New York State Senate may also lead to further discussion of infrastructure improvements. Republicans in the State Senate, particularly those from upstate, had long opposed funding for the MTA and mass transit in general. With a strong push for congestion pricing to fund NYCT’s Fast Forward Plan to fix the subway and bus system, and Democrats controlling the state, the MTA may finally receive enough funding to address its capital needs.
Affordable housing is also likely to be addressed by the new state senate. Many more left-leaning Democrats are pushing for significant changes in the state’s laws around rent-stabilization, though it is unclear if Governor Cuomo supports these. AIANY has worked to ensure well-designed affordable housing is a priority, with AIANY’s Housing Committee publishing its Designing Quality Affordable Housing report in conjunction with the Public Design Commission.
AIANY has already taken stances on many of these issues, coming out in favor of a stronger federal commitment to mass transit and Gateway, as well as funding the Fast Forward Plan to fix the subway and bus systems.
Finally, in New York City, all three ballot proposals to amend the City Charter passed resoundingly. AIANY came out strongly in favor of proposal #2 to create a Civic Engagement Commission, as well as #3 to institute community board term limits. You may read AIANY’s statement here to learn more about what these proposals will mean for New York City.
- The Mayor’s Office of Appointments has asked that AIANY members strongly consider working for the City of New York. To apply for positions, submit your resume to the resume portal. Please contact Adam Roberts, Government Affairs Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that AIANY can advocate on your behalf.
- On Thursday, November 15 at 4:30pm there will be the Statewide March for Housing Justice taking place at Bowling Green. More information can be found here.