New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his annual State of the State address to a crowd gathered in Albany today, where he laid out several ambitious plans—proposals that didn’t exactly go over well with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
Cuomo outlined ideas for the state including proposals aimed at economic growth, upgrades to public transportation, and developing infrastructure throughout the state as part of a $145 billion spending plan.
Cuomo’s “Built to Lead” Program was a focal point of his address. The program is a “$100 billion investment in transformative projects statewide,” as he described it. It includes the Gateway partnership rail tunnel, a third track on the LIRR, a new Penn Moynihan Complex, and an expansion of the Javits Center. Also included in this Built to Lead Program is the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge is a project that is undoubtedly familiar to most Westchester residents. Construction on the bridge, which began in 2013, is expected to cost the state $3.14 billion.
In a statement after the speech, Astorino described the issues plaguing the bridge project as a microcosm of issues plaguing the state. “For five years [Cuomo] has failed to find $3 billion in funding for the new Tappan Zee Bridge,” says Astorino. “Now he’s throwing out pie-in-the-sky ideas that could cost taxpayers $100 billion or more.”
Astorino characterized the overall infrastructure pronouncements made by Cuomo as “simply delusional.”
Another point that Cuomo made in his address is the need to restore the public’s trust in the government. “[Public trust] is essential,” Cuomo said. “For government to function at the level we need.”
Astorino, however, questioned the sincerity of those remarks, in harsher terms. “If [Cuomo] really wanted to regain the public’s trust,” Astorino said, “he would finally appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether he broke state laws when closing the Moreland Commission.”
“Governor Cuomo saying that he’s going to clean up corruption,” Astorino said, “is like OJ saying that he’s going to find the real killer.”