BY TRONE DOWD
As a follow-up to last week’s State of the State address in Albany, members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration are addressing more local aspects of the governor’s agenda in 2018 for the five boroughs.
On Monday, New York State Houses and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas dropped by the Harvest Room in Downtown Jamaica to drill down to other topics from the governor’s speech, including infrastructure, jobs, taxes and voting practices.
Infrastructure played a massive part of Visnauskas’ address. A total of $100 billion is scheduled to come to the five boroughs, with a large amount of those funds allocated to Queens. John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports, both of which will receive $10 billion, round out some of the most expensive projects slated for the borough. Other projects include the new spans of the Kosciuszko Bridge; additional rail lines for the Long Island Rail Road, which “will help congestion” during commuting hours; and cashless tolling “for speed and safety” on roads around the state. Visnauskas said that the large scale infrastructure plan will help bring new opportunities to New Yorkers everywhere.
“We are creating jobs,” she said. “Since 2011, the Regional Economic Development councils have created more than 6,000 projects across the state.”
A large part of that movement has been the governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, of which Jamaica was a direct beneficiary. In 2016, the Southeast Queens neighborhood received a $10 million grant to help make it a must-see destination for visitors and New Yorkers alike.
“The economic strategy is working,” she said. “There’s the highest number of jobs in [state] history, with 8.1 million private sector jobs. Unemployment is down from 8.3 percent seven years ago to 4.7 percent today.”
For the entire story, read this week’s Queens Tribune.