Press Release

Gillibrand Renews Call For Congress To Create Jobs By Upgrading Infrastructure, Homes, Offices, Communities

Oct 5, 2011

Washington, D.C. – In an effort to create new jobs upgrading New York’s crumbling infrastructure and rehabilitating outdated homes and office buildings, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is renewing her call for Congress to create jobs by making immediate investments in infrastructure upgrades, as included in the American Jobs Act, that would inject nearly $3 billion for New York and support approximately 38,800 New York jobs. Senator Gillibrand is also working to establish a National Infrastructure Bank to leverage more private investment into infrastructure projects, along with jumpstarting renovations to homes and offices across New York, creating new construction jobs in the process.

“I know New Yorkers are ready to get back to work,” Senator Gillibrand said. “And there’s no shortage of projects waiting to get started that can revitalize our communities and attract new businesses – from rebuilding roadways, railways and runways, to renovating empty homes and outdated office buildings. Each day we wait to start these projects and create the jobs to do them, we delay our full economic recovery. It’s time for all in Congress to heed the call of the American people, come together, and set the right policies that can put people back to work rebuilding this country.”

Across New York State, more than 2,200 Transportation Improvement Projects are planned for FY2012.*  

  • In New York City, there are 213 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012. 
  • In Western New York, there are 348 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • In the Genesee Valley, there are 227 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • In Central New York, there are 261 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • In the Mohawk Valley, there are 112 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012
  • In the Southern Tier, there are 302 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • In Southern Tier Central, there are 149 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012
  • In the Capital Region, there are 194 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • In the North Country, there are 113 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • In the Hudson Valley, there are 231 Transportation Improvement Projects planned for FY2012.
  • On Long Island, there are 85 Transportation Improvement Projects are planned FY2012.

American Jobs Act Impact for New York

Immediate Investments in Infrastructure
After ranking 6th in the world just four years ago, U.S. infrastructure has fallen to 16th for 2011-2012, according to a World Economic Forum study. The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded the nation’s infrastructure at a “D.” To jumpstart infrastructure projects and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, Senator Gillibrand is pushing for measures in the American Jobs Act that include nearly $50 billion in immediate investments for highway, highway safety, transit, passenger rail, and aviation activities.

  • Making America’s Highway Systems Safer and More Efficient: The American Jobs Act would invest $27 billion to make our nation’s highway systems more efficient and safer for passenger and commercial transportation.
  • Repairing Transit Systems and Improving Our Rail Systems: The American Jobs Act includes $9 billion of investments to repair our nation’s transit systems, many of which are desperately in need of modernization. It also includes $2 billion in funding to improve intercity passenger rail service. These funds will connect communities, reduce travel times and congestion, and create skilled manufacturing jobs.
  • Improving Airports: The plan also includes airport improvement grants of $2 billion to improve safety, add capacity, and modernize airport infrastructure across the country.
  • Opportunities for All in the Transportation Sector: The American Jobs Act would invest an additional $50 million in 2012 to enhance employment and job training opportunities that will benefit minorities, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in transportation related activities, including construction, contract administration, inspection, and security. His plan will also invest an additional $10 million in 2012 to help minority-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises gain better access to transportation contracts. And it will ensure that infrastructure investments allow for the hiring of local workers, to maximize economic benefits for communities where projects are located.
  • Funding for Innovative Transportation: The American Jobs Act includes $10 billion for innovative ways of financing and investing in infrastructure. This includes $4 billion to develop high-speed rail corridors; $1 billion to support NextGen Air Traffic Modernization efforts, which will employ technology to make the National Airspace System safer and more efficient, and $5 billion for the TIGER and TIFIA programs, which target competitive dollars to innovative, multi-modal transportation programs.

In total, the American Jobs Act would make immediate investments of nearly $3 billion in New York that could support approximately 38,800 local jobs.

National Infrastructure Bank
To direct federal resources for infrastructure to projects that demonstrate the most merit and may be difficult to fund under the current patchwork of federal programs, Senator Gillibrand is pushing for the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that leverages both public and private funds.

  • Independent, Non-Partisan Operations Led by Infrastructure and Financial Experts: While a National Infrastructure Bank would be a government-owned entity, it would not be controlled by any federal agency and instead would operate independently. No more than four voting members of its seven member board could be from the same political party. Board members would have to possess significant expertise either in the management of a relevant financial institution or in the financing, development, or operation of infrastructure projects.
  • Broad eligibility for Infrastructure and Unbiased Project Selection: Eligible projects would include transportation infrastructure, water infrastructure, and energy infrastructure. In general, projects would have to be at least $100 million in size and be of national or regional significance. Projects would have a clear public benefit, meet rigorous economic, technical and environmental standards, and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream. Geographic, sector, and size considerations would also be taken into account.
  • Addressing Market Gaps for Infrastructure Financing: The NIB would issue loans and loan guarantees to eligible projects. Loans issued by NIB would use approximately the same interest rate as similar-length United States Treasury securities and could be extended up to 35 years, giving the NIB the ability to be a “patient” partner side-by-side with State, local, and private co-investors. To maximize leverage from Federal investments, the NIB would finance no more than 50 percent of the total costs of any project.

Investing in infrastructure is one of the fastest ways to create a large number of jobs. And private capital is available and waiting to help finance infrastructure projects. The proposal for a National Infrastructure Bank is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

Creating Jobs Renovating Homes, Businesses and Communities
The economic downturn left communities across the country with large numbers of foreclosed homes and businesses that are weighing down property values, increasing blight and crime, and blocking economic recovery. In these same communities there are also large numbers of people looking for work, especially in the construction industry, where more than 1.9 million jobs have been lost since December 2007. Senator Gillibrand is supporting Project Rebuild to help address both of these problems by connecting Americans looking for work in distressed communities with the work needed to repair and repurpose residential and commercial properties. Building on successful models piloted through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Project Rebuild would invest $15 billion in proven strategies that leverage private capital and expertise to rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of properties in communities across the country. Key components include:

  • Focus on Distressed Commercial Properties and Redevelopment to Stabilize Communities: Many regions with concentrated home foreclosures also have concentrations of vacant commercial structures that weigh on property values and make it less likely that new businesses will come into the community and invest new capital. Project Rebuild will tackle this problem directly by allowing grantees to rebuild and repurpose distressed commercial real estate.
  • Include For-Profit Entities to Gain Expertise, Leverage Federal Dollars and Speed Program Implementation: Many successful redevelopment strategies involve unique collaborations between local governments, non-profit organizations and developers and other private actors. Project Rebuild will seek to empower and expand these types of collaborations by allowing federal funding to support for-profit development when consistent with project aims and subject to strict oversight requirements to ensure that the funds are being used as intended.
  • Increase Support for “Land Banking”: Land banks work with communities to buy, hold and redevelop distressed properties as part of a long-term redevelopment strategy and have shown impressive results in stemming property price declines and stabilizing communities across the country. Project Rebuild will seek to scale successful land bank models, providing much needed infusions of capital that they can leverage to raise private sector investment. This will increase the breadth and depth of their reach in helping communities better handle their distressed properties.
  • Create Jobs Maintaining Properties and Avoiding Community Blight: Project Rebuild will enable grantees to use funds to establish property maintenance programs to create jobs and mitigate “visible scars” left by vacant/abandoned properties.  

*New York State Department of Transportation, Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) FY 2012 Projects