Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a major push to revamp New York's crumbling infrastructure, calling it key to elevating the state's economy amid the doldrums of the pandemic-induced recession.
Cuomo, giving the fourth and final portion of his State of the State agenda that began on Monday, compared the effort to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal first launched in Albany in the depths of the Great Depression.
"It raised physical structures and it raised spirits," Cuomo said. "Confidence is essential in our rebirth."
Indeed, Cuomo hopes a similar effort will be a New York-wide morale boost after a difficult year.
"Building new projects, enhancing day-to-day life, also lifts spirits," Cuomo said.
Many of the projects Cuomo name-checked on Thursday have been underway for years and previously announced.
Cuomo, in the address, pointed to the push for a West Side transit hub in Manhattan and improvements to Penn Station while also reiterating his push for federal aid to move forward with the Gateway Tunnel Project. He called for an extension of the popular Highline park in New York City.
"They will show New Yorkers and the world that a new New York City is within reach," Cuomo said.
Upstate, Cuomo touted plans to complete riverfront development in Rochester, the removal of the Skyway in Buffalo, and the creation of an elevated park in Albany.
In the Southern Tier, Cuomo said a nursing school would be completed later this year in Binghamton, and a new ski lodge at Whiteface is on schedule to be completed.
And Cuomo said ground will be broken on the long-gestating I-81 overhaul project in Syracuse by 2022.
Cuomo has made infrastructure a recurring theme over the last decade in office, often rivaling master builder Robert Moses in the ambition of the plans. He has touted investments in airports and train stations in New York City and across the state, the gateways for entering any city for many travelers.
At the same time, Cuomo was able to push through the building of a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, a span crossing the Hudson River at Westchester and Rockland counties and named after his late father, Mario Cuomo.
In the last year, state officials have been able to forge ahead with construction projects, including finally putting cashless tolling in place along the state Thruway, as the pandemic has led to a reduction in traffic.
The speech given on Thursday is the fourth and final address Cuomo gave this week laying out his State of the State agenda, focusing on a transitional economy in the middle of a pandemic that has led to a sharp rise in unemployment, the closures of businesses, and tremendous uncertainty over the next 12 months.
Cuomo wants to use rapid COVID-19 tests to potentially opened up public gatherings once again and pushed for new green economy jobs and projects to transition the state to renewable fuels.