New York City Will Increase Infrastructure Spending to Meet Growing Needs

The City of New York’s Fiscal Year 2017 Executive Budget includes a five-year capital commitment plan for FY 2016 through FY 2020 showing commitments for new projects totaling $61.8 billion, by far the largest five-year commitment plan of the last 35 years and a 17 percent increase over last year’s Executive Budget. The Plan also forecasts expenditures – actual cash outlays for ongoing design and construction services – totaling $51.7 billion during the same five-year period.

The five-year commitment plan is nearly $9 billion greater than last year’s plan, reflecting increases in a variety of core infrastructure programs and an expansion of specific Mayoral initiatives:

  • The School Construction Authority increases commitments by $1.1 billion compared to the Preliminary Budget released in January. The new budget also forecasts $2.1 billion in commitments for FY 2020 (that year was not included in the January budget).
  • The 2017 Executive Budget adds $675 million to complete the two remaining shafts for City Water Tunnel No. 3, compared to the $52 million that had been included in the January Plan.
  • Department of Transportation commitments increase by 20 percent since January. The agency proposes to commit a total of $8.6 billion over five years.
  • The Mayor, responding to a variety of health and safety concerns at Rikers Island, has increased commitments at the Department of Corrections to $2.1 billion, including $170 million for a new Adolescent Detention facility.
  • Funding for Health + Hospitals grows by more than $200 million, a 42 percent increase over the January Plan, to help address persistent underfunding of the system’s expansive network of hospitals and other facilities. Total commitments are nearly $3 billion through 2020.

Annual cash expenditures for design and construction services, which dipped from pre-recession peaks to a low of $7.4 billion in 2014, are forecast to rise every year through 2019, when they will top $11.7 billion, a 58 percent increase. Spending will level off at $11.4 billion in 2020.

Despite the growth of the City’s proposed capital program, the plan remains within standard measures of affordability, with a debt service burden to the City of 12 to 13 percent of tax revenues every year.

President Richard T. Anderson said, “In our new report, Building a Better NYC Capital Budget, the Building Congress argues that the City of New York has extensive unmet infrastructure needs that require improvements to capital program management and increased funding. The de Blasio Administration has taken a critical step forward with this budget, adding resources to chronically underfunded agencies and shoring up funding at core agencies like DEP and DOT.”

Mr. Anderson added, “While this is an impressive step in the right direction, we will continue to urge improvements in capital budget planning and project management so that these funds can be spent most effectively.”

Projected Capital Expenditures, Fiscal Years 2015 - 2020
(In dollars – billions)

Source: City of New York, Capital Commitment Plan, Executive Budget Fiscal Year 2017

    The New York Building Congress is a membership coalition of business, labor, association and government organizations promoting the design, construction
and real estate industry in New York City.