Governor Andrew Cuomo says the victory of Democrats in the Georgia runoff elections will mean Washington will be a friend to New York, specifically as it pertains to the state budget deficits and infrastructure projects.
The next phase of the Second Avenue Subway and the Gateway tunnel project are two specific projects mentioned by the governor of having been stalled by the federal government under President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who he now expects to be replaced by the current Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
Moreover, Cuomo expects stimulus money to cover New York’s $15 billion deficit.
“We couldn’t count on Washington for any help, because Washington has been an enemy of the state. For many years, so how do you close a $15 billion deficit largest deficit in the history of the state,” Cuomo said. “We had all sorts of great projects around the state that should have been going forward. Second Avenue subway was funded by every administration, in Manhattan. The Gateway tunnels, the President didn’t fund them just out of political pique. They did the greatest income redistribution in history. They took from the rich states, and they gave to the poor states. New York happens to be a rich state. The Republican states happened to be poor states.”
Another key project on hold pending federal involvement is the congestion pricing, or Central Business District Tolling which was explored starting in 2018 as a means of creating a dedicated revenue stream for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“Senate Democrats know America is hurting, help is on the way, and we have two new Senators coming to help. One the first things I want to do when our two new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to American families,” Schumer said Wednesday afternoon.
The last time the Democrats held the majority in the senate was six years ago, during the second term of former President Barack Obama.
“The Georgia Senate runoff results are shaping up to be very good news for public transit riders in New York and across the nation,” Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum said. “With Brooklyn’s own transit champion Senator Chuck Schumer as likely majority leader, riders look forward to winning more COVID aid and equitable investment in our common infrastructure. We are eager to work together to get public transit back on track and realize its potential to help meet the country’s pressing needs for climate and racial justice.”
The agency has been awaiting direction from the U.S. Department of Transportation as to the criteria they will require in an environmental report regarding congestion pricing.