Cuomo says states need to take lead on infrastructure improvements

Feb 9, 2020

President Trump has promised to push a bill to improve the nation's infrastructure. But after three years, the administration has been unable to work with Congress in coming up with a plan. In an address to a national governors group Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo argued it's up to individual states to take the lead when it comes to improving transportation networks.

Credit Photo provided by Governor's Press Office

"While we all hope for an active federal partner, the reality is after such a long delay I think the best course forward is for the states to hope for the best and plan for the worst," Cuomo said. "If the federal government decides to embark on an aggressive building program, which we all will advocate for, they're going to look to the states for projects and they will look for projects that are ready to go, right, they're going to turn to the states and ask for shovel-ready projects. "

Cuomo said New York has always been ready, pointing to its role in developing one of the nation's earliest infrastructure projects -- construction of the Erie Canal some 200 years ago. 

Cuomo blamed presidents of both parties for failing to provide the necessary funding. He said federal spending on roads, airports and other transportation projects has dropped from 38 to 25 percent over the past 40 years.

"If we want to keep pace with the rest of the world, we have to update our transportation network," Cuomo said. "If the federal government won't do it, the states must do it as a basic matter of economic survival."