Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the 2018 state budget this month, nine days behind schedule. State operating funds (excluding federal and capital) stood at $98.1 billion—up two percent from 2017. All in all, New York will receive $153.1 billion in funding (including federal and capital funds).
Much of this money will be spent on infrastructure. The Greater Rochester International Airport will receive an initial $39.8 million to kick-start its transformation, with overall project costs estimated at $53.7 million. JFK too is in line for major—and much-needed—changes. The Kew Gardens Interchange will receive $564 million to aid the reconstruction of and expand capacity along the Van Wyck, improving access to the airport. Most of the changes to JFK Airport itself will come from a $7 billion private investment that will modernize terminals and accommodate a projected increase in passengers.
However, Governor Cuomo’s statement also burned bridges. The 77-year-old Kosciuszko Bridge, to be specific, will be demolished (a celebration party is being held on July 11). In its wake, two new state-of-the-art bridges, one Queens-bound and one Brooklyn-bound are to be constructed with a dedicated $270 million.
Meanwhile, $15 million will supplement a new Amtrak Station in Schenectady. Improved parking, lighting, and landscaping will fall under this allotted budget as will new walkways leading to the bus and rapid transit areas on State Street and the new parking area on Liberty Street.
But what about housing? Governor Cuomo’s “Vital Brooklyn” plan, which targets health, violence, and poverty in low-income communities around Brownsville, East New York, Flatbush, Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant will receive $700 million.
Initially outlined (albeit vaguely) in early March, the $1.4 billion plan asserts itself as a “national paradigm.” It calls for more than 3,000 new multifamily units to be built on six state-owned sites, with options for supportive housing, public green space, and a home-ownership plan.
As part of Governor Cuomo’s “Affordable New York” Housing Program, developers of new residential projects with 300 units or more in certain areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens will be eligible for a full property tax abatement for 35 years. This is, however, if the project creates a specific number of affordable rental units and meets newly established minimum construction wage requirements and the units remain affordable for four decades. Governor Cuomo estimates that the program will create roughly 2,500 new units of affordable housing each year.
Governor Cuomo also outlined plans to fund state parks and protect the environment. As per the $900 million New York Parks’ 2020 initiative, $120 million from the budget will further the “transformation of the state’s flagship parks” and “strategically leverage private funding to improve New York State Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation facilities and services.”
Moreover, Governor Cuomo disclosed $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, the most the state has ever pledged toward this. Within this sum, $41 million will be for solid waste programs, $86 million for parks and recreation, $154 million for open space programs, and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.