Economic Security for All New Yorkers:

A 21st Century Plan for Jobs and Economic Development

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A thriving private sector that spreads its benefits broadly is the key to providing all New Yorkers with economic opportunity. Five major state development initiatives can provide crucial support towards achieving that goal.

Ten Regional Economies New York should continue to invest up to $1 billion annually in public/private partnerships identified by regional councils to achieve four objectives: create local environments attractive to businesses and workers; establish workforce development programs that expand economic opportunity; support local industry, particularly in high growth sectors; and build collaboration networks to support innovation.

Life Sciences Cluster New York has underachieved in the rapidly growing and highly attractive life sciences industry. An existing $620 million initiative to promote a competitive cluster in the sector should be continued and expanded.

Competitive Corridor New York should launch a ten year plan investing $2.0 billion in the first year, with the amount rising to $4.0 billion annually over time, in four metropolitan areas with the potential to create self-sustaining, globally competitive, high tech, research centers of excellence.

Greater Metropolitan New York Transportation Renewal New York should invest $100 billion over ten years to restore the public transportation network that supports the state’s most important economic engine, and to create an urgently needed rail freight system.

Rebalancing In addition to acting as a catalyst to promote economic activity, government must mediate the demands of business and labor. When they fall out of balance, the state must act in favor of the public interest. Fixing a number of economic imbalances that now exist in New York State must be an integral part of an economic development program.

For greatest impact, development initiatives must be accompanied by state-of-the-art infrastructure, a first rate public education system, affordable housing, quality healthcare, and fair taxation and justice systems. New York State needs plans for achieving all these goals, and must structure all of them in ways that respond to climate change, an overwhelming threat to the quality of life that every public policy decision must consider.

Economic Vision

New York State, with the right leadership, can be home to the world’s deepest pool of creative human talent, spread broadly across the state, supported by the strongest infrastructure anywhere.

Few places could realistically aspire to that goal. In the Empire State, we can.

New York is rich in history, nature, culture, and commerce. It possess the natural resources, the entrepreneurship and skilled labor, plus the sense of purpose as a people to create a place where all New Yorkers in every reach of the state can have the chance to live a financially secure life, raise a family, and pursue their hopes and dreams supported by the community around them in deed and in spirit.

The breathtaking possibility is there, but it will not happen by itself. It is up to New Yorkers to seize the moment and craft the future.

The Moment

A good job puts food on the table, and a roof overhead. It leaves some money in the bank at the end of the month to build savings for inevitable emergencies, and to invest for retirement. It pays for a vacation once or twice a year to keep body and spirit together. A good job is a comfortable distance from home, not someplace that requires a soul crushing commute.

Jobs do more than provide tangible benefits, as important as those are. They provide people with a purpose, a mission, a reason to get up in the morning. Work organizes life and provides important psychological benefits, a sense of self-worth, and ideally a feeling of belonging to a community of workplace collaborators. Good jobs also provide a sense of economic security, freedom from the fear of not being able to pay for the basic things that all of us and our families need to live happy lives.

In less than a lifetime, global trends have upended local employment patterns from New York’s smallest villages and towns to its largest cities and everywhere in between.

Beginning just over forty years ago, China embraced market competition, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Russia and the Eastern bloc joined the world economy. Former communist countries in Southeast Asia as well as India and Brazil began competing globally in earnest. The world’s relevant labor market doubled before our eyes. Those changes raised the standard of living in poor countries, but the huge increase in the world supply of labor depressed wages in rich places like New York.

The tidal wave of low wage workers that flooded the world’s labor force accelerated a technology-driven shift that began in the United States in the 1960s away from labor-intensive basic manufacturing and towards services and information systems. The rise of the Internet beginning in the 1990s turbocharged that trend. Computer technology has become so pervasive that it is a fundamental element of every economic sector. Just as no industry can work without energy, none can work competitively any longer without incorporating state-of-the-art technology into the way its businesses operate. We are now living in the knowledge economy.

The impact is inspiring in some ways and dispiriting in others. Well educated professionals in global business centers have seen opportunities and incomes skyrocket. But the world we once knew, where a person with a high school education could learn some skills on the job and earn a living wage with decent benefits, has been largely shattered.

A study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company reports that most of the tasks required for over a million New York State jobs could be performed by technology that already exists. It will not be long before managers engineer most of those roles out of existence. We need to focus on this problem now, and not wait until more people have been displaced.

Globalists see only the benefits of the disruption. Nationalists see only the carnage. A smarter assessment recognizes both impacts. We need to craft a course that holds onto the rich gains while acknowledging that the serious damage done to the ability of many to earn a decent living and to achieve financial security requires a government response to channel the private sector constructively.

In 1970, workers took home nearly 66 percent of national income by one Federal Reserve Bank estimate. In 2012, the figure was closer to 60 percent, $1.2 trillion less than it would have been had the share remained stable. The richest 1 percent of Americans control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The trend is unsustainable.

Government’s Role

Liberty and equality anchor America’s capitalist democracy. There is an inherent tension between these two treasured principles. Liberty is the bedrock of capitalism. It declares each of us free to enrichen ourselves, and it values us according to how many dollars we control. Equality is democracy’s bedrock. It values everyone’s humanity the same.

Balancing the competition between liberty and equality is at the heart of American government. Since the 1980s we have short-changed equality to a degree that has damaged the strength of our country. We need to reset the balance.

Market economies must be allowed to undergo continuous change to remain vibrant. The twin revolutions in labor markets and technology were driven by historic forces that have to be respected. But the enormous disruption they caused to people’s lives did not happen in a vacuum. Government decisions actively and passively promoted the outcomes we have experienced. Elected officials followed policies that have contributed to great concentrations of wealth for the few coupled with economic anxiety for many.

We must elect officials who will choose policies that will undo the damage and restore balance to our capitalist democracy.


Smart governments are friendly to business and labor. Without businesses, there are no jobs. Without workers, there are no businesses. Both must be treated fairly. Currently, there are imbalances in New York State that require adjustment.

· Forty percent of working New Yorkers are Gigsters. Some value flexible schedules that allow them to earn some money while focusing on other things, like college or childcare. Others are de facto full-time employees who are not being treated fairly. All require the same fundamental benefits people expect from a job, especially healthcare and retirement savings. We must insist employers treat employees fairly, and we must create high quality, cost effective programs that ensure every worker has realistic access to benefits in proportion to their employment.

· The purchasing power of the federal minimum wage in 1969 is equivalent to $22 per hour today. The state minimum wage should be raised to that level and increase annually in line with the consumer price index to ensure the purchasing power of low wage workers is not diminished.

· The New York State public assistance housing allowance should be indexed to inflation. At times, it has gone without adjustment for years. Homeless people struggle to keep jobs, so a provision that helps keep low wage workers housed will help them to stay gainfully employed and also reduce homelessness.

· Women are often paid eighty cents on the dollar for the same work men perform. Equal pay laws should be actively enforced with adequate resources.

· Women and people of color have often had less access to investment capital to pursue business opportunities than others. New York State policies must ensure all entrepreneurs have an equal chance to secure financing.

· Wage theft enforcement must be made stronger to prevent vulnerable, low wage workers from being treated unfairly.

· Non-compete clauses that prevent employees from leaving one competitor to work at another should be outlawed. It is an unwarranted and unfair restriction on labor mobility. (Specific protections against intellectual property theft should remain).

· Binding arbitration as a requirement in the event of a dispute should not be allowed as a condition of employment. The practice deprives workers of full access to their legal rights. Moreover arbitrators, who are paid by companies who hire them repeatedly but typically deal with a single employee only once, systematically favor companies in these disputes.

· Non-disclosure agreements that prevent aggrieved parties, like women in harassment cases, from sharing facts publicly should not be allowed. These prevent the public from learning about behavior that people have a right to know. (Liable laws that protect people and businesses against inaccurate, unfair publicity should remain).

· Laws that forbid racial profiling or steering by landlords and real estate brokers must be enforced more strongly as a basic concept of fairness as well as for practical reasons. Workers whose housing options are limited illegally can be forced unfairly into undesirable commutes, or miss out on jobs because they are effectively inaccessible.

· Incarcerated New Yorkers who lack high school education should be required to participate in classes to secure the basic level of learning necessary for a person to be a fully productive citizen. Without it, they will leave prison with few options for earning a living, leading to repeat offenses and requiring tax-payer financed support. College courses of study and skills-based training should be offered for qualified inmates for the same reasons.

· New York must rationalize and contain healthcare expenses for the benefit of all and to ensure no worker loses a job due to illness and an inability to pay for medical treatment. Proposals for a rational healthcare pricing system and a state run generic drug company are outlined in more detail in a separate study: Affordable, Quality Healthcare for Every New Yorker in the 21st Century.

Ten Regional Plans

State government must do more than fix existing inequities to promote economic development. It must act as a catalyst for an environment that develops new industries and that sparks renewed economic energy in underachieving sectors and locations, and it must ensure that the benefits of economic growth are broadly shared. Successful public investments result in sustained private investments in new businesses that create jobs with attractive careers for professionals and middle-class wages for workers.

New York State, since 2011, has managed its economic development investments through ten regional advisory councils composed of local leaders from businesses, four year colleges and universities, community colleges and high schools, social service agencies, unions, elected officials and others. The councils are tasked with creating plans along four dimensions: place-making; workforce development; tradable industries; and innovation. Investments in programs the councils have recommended are budgeted at close to $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2020.

New York’s Ten Regional Economies

Capital Region Mohawk Valley

Central New York New York City

Finger Lakes North Country

Long Island Southern Tier

Mid-Hudson Western New York

The councils’ activity levels have been high, and many worthwhile projects have been pursued. Yet, results to date have been modest, more successful in some regions than others, and exceptional in none. The program, now in its tenth year, needs to be revitalized.

The structure relies on several reasonable premises. One is that New York’s economic output is determined by ten regional sub-economies. Another is that local leaders are best placed to determine how to implement programs to create a favorable business environment in the regions where they live and work. A third is that the four dimensions identified are key to promoting businesses and creating jobs.

The things that make a place desirable for businesses and talented workers have changed over the past half-century. In the heyday of the manufacturing economy, regions competed on cost and efficiency. In today’s economy, it is the richness of human capital and the innovation network around it that counts the most.

General characteristics of a region that attract entrepreneurs and the creative teams of highly talented workers they need to succeed include:

· Clusters of related businesses for networking and collaborating on ideas

· Mixed use settings rather than isolated office parks

· Offices walking distance from affordable housing or near transit stops

· Excellent mass transportation limiting reliance on cars

· Lifestyle enhancing retail shops, restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops nearby

· Easy access to parks, outdoor recreation, and attractive cultural amenities

· Waterfront access where relevant

· Good schools and excellent colleges and universities in the region

· Excellent medical facilities and access to healthcare

· Immigrant friendly environment

· Easy national and international air travel

Policies follow logically from the list and provide an outline of development priorities to pursue throughout the state.

Downtown Main Streets in cities and rural towns, and their adjacent neighborhoods, need to be revitalized.

Historic buildings should be saved to retain community character, renovated, and repurposed.

Housing developments with amenities should be built within walking distance of downtown or a half mile of high use transit stops.

Mass transit must be frequent, reliable, safe, and affordable. In most of New York State that means well-resourced bus routes (with conversion to electric buses for all carriers as a priority), and in some areas light rail.

Parking facilities should be placed where they do not invite congestion into the business center and where they do not detract from the neighborhood atmosphere.

Brownfield sites, like old gasoline stations, should be decontaminated and made ready for development.

Pedestrian malls should be created where sensible, and parks, hiking trails, and bike lanes created as well, particularly where waterfront access is possible.

Schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities must educate the workforce.

Robust workforce development training must focus on useful skills aligned with local business needs.

Specific policies must ensure low skill New Yorkers living in or near poverty have on ramps that allow them to enter the labor force with a chance to grow.

High quality healthcare must be accessible and affordable.

Local airports must meet international travel standards. (Stewart International Airport in Orange County stands out as an underutilized asset that could serve Westchester and the entire Mid-Hudson Valley as well as provide additional air travel capacity just over an hour from New York City).

Closed factories can be converted into industrial parks with mixed use facilities incorporated into the compound or built close by. Vacant manufacturing sites are often located near transportation hubs that promote product distribution. Many are also in poor areas that would welcome local opportunities. Working with existing developed sites rather than new ones reduces sprawl and preserves land for recreation.

Tradable industries are business sectors that sell products and services outside their region, and that also attract investments from elsewhere. The revenues that flow from them into an area have a multiplier effect, often creating one to five additional service and support positions for each job in the industry. Every region needs some to be successful.

Targeting tradable industries for growth is part of sound policy. Certain traditional sources of economic activity, like agriculture and tourism, are tradable sectors that offer ongoing opportunity in parallel to initiatives to replace lost jobs in basic manufacturing with growth in knowledge economy businesses.

The type of environment described is especially appealing to young workers, ages twenty to thirty-four. Until recently, to have the lifestyle they seek and the economic opportunities they want, many millennials have felt compelled to leave hometowns that were once basic manufacturing powerhouses. The policies outlined respond to lifestyle and career aspirations and will help attract them back or convince them to stay.

Workers who are thirty-five to fifty, perhaps married and raising children, may opt for towns on the outskirts of a central business district. We have learned over time that cities and the villages around them tend to rise and fall together. They are in a symbiotic relationship more than a competitive one. Many of the features of the knowledge economy city or town will continue to appeal to professionals at later stages of their careers, even if they opt for suburban life.

Family friendly policies are important, but not sufficient to attract a world-class workforce. Americans are having too few children to maintain our population. Consequently, local workforce growth depends on immigration.

Highly educated foreigners have moved to America and infused our technology industries with brains and energy in some of our most rapidly growing businesses. Others have come here to study in our universities. Once their education is complete, they should be encouraged to stay. We helped to create the human capital that resides with them, we should benefit from it.

Certain industries are particularly dependent on low-skill labor from other countries, tourism and agriculture for example. More than 100 million visitors pass through the state in a given year to visit cultural centers, historic sights, and the natural beauty located in every region. Some two-and-one-half million New Yorkers, roughly 15 per cent of the population, live in rural areas located in almost every county where farming is an occupation and a way of life. A steady flow of immigrant labor, particularly for seasonal help, has been an essential element of the success of these two sectors.

New York State remains among the most popular places for America’s newcomers. We must continue to welcome immigrants locally, and we must encourage national policies that protect our borders without diminishing New York State’s access to the entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and work ethic associated with American immigrants.

The Ten Region strategy has merit. Yet, despite diligent work by the regional councils and the many New Yorkers who have supported local initiatives, job growth and economic expansion to date have been disappointing. Some regions continue to lose population, and significant pockets of urban and rural poverty persist, undiminished. Certain flagship projects have been soiled by corruption, diminishing confidence in their management.

Renewed effort will be needed to ensure public investment dollars are used wisely and that regional plans are advancing the state efficiently toward the goal of sustained economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Life Sciences

New York has long underachieved other areas in the fast growing and research intensive life sciences and bio-technology fields. The state has some of the most respected medical research institutes staffed by some of the most talented scientists in the world. It ranks behind only California and Massachusetts in attracting research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Yet, California attracts $1.24 in venture capital for every $1.0 it receives from NIH. Massachusetts attracts $1.13. In New York, the number is a paltry $0.12. To a disconcerting degree, brilliant ideas for new medical devices and services that emerge from New York’s powerful pool of intellect are turned into commercial enterprises elsewhere.

Historically, New York’s research scientists have had an anti-commercial bias. Perhaps as a consequence, the state has not developed the ecosystem that converts creative ideas into valuable commodities in the health industry. The most glaring deficiencies have been a lack of laboratory space dedicated to providing start-ups with the specialized resources the industry requires, too few talented business people specializing in health related products and services, and not enough investment firms with specialized knowledge of medical innovation to fund promising ventures.

A June 2016 report by the Partnership Fund for New York City concluded that the city alone could create life sciences businesses with 18,000 to 25,000 jobs and $2.2 to $3.1 billion of economic activity with a few years of focused effort. Activity has already begun, and New York City leaders, in conjunction with leaders in the Mid-Hudson Valley including Westchester, and Western New York including Buffalo, are collaborating to create a world-class life sciences cluster of resources in the state. In Albany, a $750 million renovation of the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Lab for the 21st Century promises to create an additional life sciences center of excellence. Other regions are also focusing more attention on the sector.

State financing for development of the infrastructure needed to facilitate the life sciences industry and to convert ideas into businesses should pay enormous economic dividends while producing life-saving and life-enhancing medical innovations. The state’s $620 million commitment of funding and tax benefits announced in 2016 is a welcome start. More investment is likely to be needed as the sector gains momentum.

Competitive Corridor Research Funding

Four regional economies that stretch across the middle of New York State constitute a competitive corridor with enormous unrealized potential. A New York State economic development program starting at $2.0 billion per year and scaling to $4.0 billion annually over ten years can provide the research capital these four regions need to become competitive, high tech, scientific research centers.

The corridor is anchored on the east by Albany along with Schenectady and Troy, and moves west through Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo linked to Cheektowaga and Niagara Falls. It is not coincidence that some of the state’s greatest opportunity lies along the Erie Canal. It is the historic legacy of the impact of government sponsored infrastructure, which has long been crucial for economic development. Together, the four areas include three and three-quarter million people, almost 20 percent of New York’s population.

A 2019 study by the Brookings Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation put all four on their list of target cities with the potential to become centers of high tech innovation. Out of 382 metropolitan centers, Albany ranked third and Rochester fifth, Buffalo ranked nineteenth, and Syracuse twenty-sixth on the relevant factors. The leaders in each region are working hard to realize the potential national institutes have recognized. They will need government help to make it.

Some ideologues pretend not to notice that our most vibrant centers of high-tech industry were, and are, richly nurtured by government spending. There would be no Silicon Valley without government support for research performed at Stanford, and no Route 128 outside Boston without federal research contracts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The same is true of North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Those three regions each received between $2.7 billion and $3.3 billion in federal grants in 2017. The role of government as catalyst to create a critical mass of research and development talent in a region is crucial.

Foolishly, the federal government has been reducing its spending on primary research which was essential for America’s economic vibrancy in the twentieth century. Interestingly, China has been increasing government spending on research and development. Which country is making the smarter bet on the future?

New York’s congressional delegation must work diligently to reestablish the federal government’s role in primary research and development, and to bring New York its fair share of the investments. While that effort is pursued, New York State must act.

For a region to aspire to the ambitious goal of creating a self-sustaining, high tech ecosystem, the starting point is a world-class research university, often affiliated with a research hospital. Ideally, those anchors are supported by a regional cluster of institutions of higher education. The area must have a high proportion of college educated workers skewed towards science, technology, engineering, and math, and it must have a core of existing knowledge industry businesses as a launching point for organic growth. It also needs a critical mass of general population, roughly a half million to a million people. Research funding attracted and patents awarded to the regions inventors and institutions are measures of the intensity of local research activity.

The four metropolitan regions in New York’s competitive corridor all possess the required assets, plus attractive quality-of-life characteristics for anyone who enjoys four distinct seasons. They have the capacity to create economies characterized by a critical mass of industries fueled more by intellectual capital than physical capital, primed to develop new products or processes constantly, with businesses whose marginal costs are significantly lower than average costs so that profits scale as the companies expand. These are the sorts of sectors growing most rapidly, creating the best paying jobs, and offering attractive careers.

A New York State economic program starting at $2.0 billion per year and scaling to $4.0 billion annually over ten years can provide the research capital these four regions need to become competitive, high tech, scientific research centers. Technical expertise, research funding, and investment capital should be distributed to them through transparent, competitive processes that invite local stakeholders to submit research proposals.

Among the most important science and high tech sectors are the six listed below, each of which includes many subcategories.

· Chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and fertilizers

· Computers, satellite and telecommunications equipment, semiconductors and electronic component parts

· Control instruments for navigation, measuring, and electro-medical uses

· Aerospace and unmanned flight products and parts

· Data processing, hosting, and other information services

· Scientific research and development services

The products and services of these industries are in demand throughout the United States and the world. This is critical for self-sustaining success. The U.S. economy is the world’s largest, accounting for roughly 20 percent of activity. As large as it is, the ability to export to other countries offers access to the other 80 percent of the world’s economic activity. China, India, and Brazil together, for example, generate more economic output than the United States. Long-term success for New York’s regional technology centers requires global strategies.

Teams of local leaders across the spectrum of business, academia, and government are best placed to determine how to align their cities and towns in the direction of the new economy, and which industries offer their region the most opportunity. The effort has begun. Each region has identified key industries. Leaders have taken steps to create connections among different businesses and sectors designed to foster innovation. Programs to ensure the local labor force is trained in the required skills have been started and promise to expand economic opportunity to a broad group of workers. Among others, the target industries chosen include life sciences and bio-technology, unmanned aerial systems, advanced manufacturing, and climate controlled agriculture — apt choices.

It is time for bold action. New York State should step up and provide the government support these regions need to realize their potential. The greatest risk the regions face is too little investment for them to achieve the momentum required for self-sustaining development.

Greater Metropolitan New York Transportation Renewal

The Greater New York Metropolitan Region stretches across twelve New York counties: the five boroughs of New York City, Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester, and parts of Dutchess and Orange. It is inextricably linked to northern New Jersey and southwest Connecticut served by the Port Authority PATH transportation system and MetroNorth. A vibrant economy in the region has a direct impact on the well-being of 13 million of New York’s 19.5 million residents, and has a crucial impact on the fiscal health of the entire state.

The New York Metropolitan Area is home to a quintessential global metropolis with all the ingredients for success in the world we now live in. Yet, the quality of life in the region has come under stress as a consequence of its very success. Beginning in the 1980s, after decades of decline, the population of New York City and the surrounding areas began to grow. It has now expanded beyond the level the existing infrastructure can handle which affects all residents, and those on the lower reaches of the economic pyramid more than others.

A ten year, $100 billion plan is now essential to renew the region’s failing transportation network, which represents the single greatest threat to its economic future. Uninspired leadership and chronic underinvestment, insufficient maintenance tolerated because of inadequate accountability, and political decision-making aligned with election cycles instead of long-term vision has caused decades of deterioration.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are the two most important infrastructure agencies in the Greater Metropolitan Region. They are responsible for New York City’s subways, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, PATH, and other transit operations including local and regional bus operations.

Both authorities are in trouble. Neither one of them has a structure suitable for its mission. Both have been manipulated for political reasons and lack accountability. And according to the Regional Plan Association, “Rail transit projects cost more and take longer to build in the New York region than anywhere else in the world.” One comparison reports construction costs are nearly five times higher than in London, a place comparable in size, age, complexity, and global significance.

The impact on taxpayers and riders is higher fares, less reliable service, and a more limited network with substandard connections. That means less access to jobs for people, less access to workers for businesses, less access to schools for students, and less access to services for everyone.

Another profound consequence of New York leaders’ lack of vision is that the region relies less on rail freight traffic than any other major American metropolis. Instead, pollution spewing trucks that induce asthma and fill the atmosphere with climate damaging greenhouse gases have made our highways the most congested in America.

The reasons are many: complicated site logistics, counterproductive regulations, complex construction codes, institutional inefficiencies, bonding requirements, and outdated labor practices. With strong leadership we can create the political will to fix the Port Authority and the MTA, and develop the rail freight system Greater New York so urgently needs.

Top priorities include:

· Restructuring the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a bold recommitment to its core mission of transportation infrastructure. Key projects will include completion of the Gateway/trans-Hudson River Tunnel, including rail freight capacity, and extending tracks from New Jersey to Sunnyside Yards in Queens.

· Restructuring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority so it can fulfill its mission of providing frequent, reliable, safe, and affordable mass transit to the millions of New Yorkers and commuters from Connecticut and New Jersey who rely on it daily.

· Full support for the New York City Transit Authority’s Fast Forward program of improvements to the subway system, and full support for the Long Island Rail Road Third Track Initiative critical for continued economic development in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

· Massive expansion of rail freight capacity in the Greater New York Region to reduce truck traffic dramatically and to reduce pollution that damages the health of New Yorkers and exacerbates climate change. Among other projects, the plan includes reactivation of the Triboro Rail system for freight as well as for passengers.

· Modernization of regional seaports and connections to the expanded rail freight network.

· Renovation of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway into Brooklyn Queens Park and an at-grade boulevard along the lines of the BQE BIG proposal, or a similarly creative proposal with support of the local communities affected.

· Development of long-term plans to expand runway capacity at JFK Airport.

More details about these proposals are set out in a separate study: Strengthening the Economy and Improving the Quality of Life: Infrastructure for a 21st Century New York.

Major investment in the region’s mass transportation and rail freight system is the single most important step New York State can take to ensure that the millions of people living in the Greater New York Region continue to receive the full benefits of its world-class economy. These investments are also critical to ensure that the region continues to generate the government revenues required to provide robust public services all throughout the state.


The initiatives described are designed to correct existing inequities, deliver essential public goods that support a thriving private sector, and to promote public/private partnerships that will stimulate the creative talent of New York’s people. Government funds are used as a catalyst to encourage much larger private sector investments in productive economic activity. Properly pursued, they will help existing businesses to expand, and new businesses to emerge in industry sectors that offer high wages and attractive careers for people at all skill levels.

These programs, in conjunction with world-class infrastructure, an education system fit for purpose, access to affordable housing and healthcare, a fair justice system, and a fair tax system, implemented in ways that combat climate change, will create a place where all New Yorkers can achieve financial security for themselves and their families.


Alix Partners. MTA Transformation Plan, 2019

Robert D. Atkinson, Mark Muro, and Jacob Whiton. The Case for Growth Centers: How to spread tech innovation across America. Brookings Institute, 2019.

Benjamin A. Austin, Edward L. Glaeser, and Lawrence Summers. “Jobs for the Heartland: Place-based Policies in 21st Century America.” National Bureau of Economic Research, 2018.

Rachel Fauss and John Kaehny, “The MTA Needs a Real Capital Plan, Not Unrealistic Promises,” Gotham Gazette, September 19, 2019.

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Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak. The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism. Brookings Institution Press, 2017.

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Enrico Moretti. The New Geography of Jobs. New York: Mariner Books Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

New York City Transit. Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit. 2018.

New York State. FY 2021 Executive Budget, January 2020.

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_____________________. The Fourth Regional Plan: Making the Region Work for All of Us. 2017.

_____________________. Reimagining the BQE: Policy Options to Reduce Traffic on the Brooklyn- Queens Expressway. 2019.

The Port Authority of NY & NJ. Annual Report. 2018.

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Regional Development Reports

Capital Region Economic Development Council. Capital Region Creates: 2017 Progress Report. 2017.

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. 2017–2018 Progress Report. 2018.

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. Annual Report and Recommended Priority Projects. September 2017.

Long Island Regional Economic Development Council. A Region in Motion: the Evolving Vision of a Strategic Plan for Growth. October 2017.

Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Strategic Plan. 2017.

Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. 2017 Progress Report. 2017.

New York City Regional Economic Development Council. State of the Region: New York City 2017 Progress Report.

New York State of Development and Empire State Development. Buffalo Niagara Strategic Plan for Economic Prosperity. January 2017.

North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Destination: 2017 Progress Report. October 2, 2017.

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council. Southern Tier Soaring: 2017 Progress Report. October 2, 2017.

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