New York's Cuomo promises $22 billion for upstate roads and bridges

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 06, 2016 12:04 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state's Governor Andrew Cuomo promised on Wednesday the "largest investment in upstate New York in history, promising $22 billion investment in bridges and roads as he aims to reverse years of decline in the rustbelt north of New York City.

The timing of the investment was not immediately clear but the governor said next year's budget, which he will announce in an annual keynote address next week, would contain $7 billion of spending on upstate regions.

This is the "largest investment in upstate New York in history. Period," Cuomo told a meeting of local leaders in Syracuse, a former industrial power house on the Great Lakes.

The governor is presenting parts of his program in the run up to his state-of-the-state speech nest week, promising "the largest construction program in the modern history of the state." He announced on Tuesday a $1 billion plan to expand rail services in Long Island.

Also on Wednesday, Cuomo said he would dedicate $1 billion to reducing tolls on the New York Thruway, a highway that cuts across northern New York State from the capital Albany to Buffalo in the west.

What he called a "toll protection program" would freeze tolls until 2020, eliminating tolls entirely on agricultural traffic, and provide a tax credit for frequent users that would reimburse 50 percent of annual cost of use.

Cuomo is scheduled to make another announcement at Pennsylvania train station in New York City later on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported that he would announce plans for a major overhaul of the aging facility.

So far, financial details of the spending plans have been scant. Cuomo's office did not immediately respond to a request for further details.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Andrew Hay)