covid19

NEW YORK CITY CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FACES PUBLIC PROJECTS CRISIS

By Hank Kita, STA Executive Director

A STA webinar held on August 4 highlighted the current obstacles and the pending crisis that looms for the STA subcontractors where public construction projects are concerned.  Although the COVID-19 construction pause ended almost two months ago, many state and local public construction projects were placed on hold because of the lack of tax revenue brought about by our struggling economy.  Many projects that were on the boards for startup, have been placed on hold by public agencies here in New York.

With the political chaos that we currently see in Washington, there appears to be no federal funding that will be available to state and local governments in the short term.  Such federal funding could serve as an engine for the startup for some of these public projects here in New York City.  The startup of these projects would in turn have a positive impact on the larger New York City economy.

According to a report released by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, construction firms generated an estimated $84 billion in economic activity in 2018, representing 10 percent of New York City’s total economic output. While the construction industry functions as an integral part of the State’s economic engine, it is also a lifeline for the middle class, serving as the fourth highest-paying employment sector in New York City, with an average salary of $80,200. Federal support for infrastructure as well as state and local supplemental funding, is directly correlated to helping our economy move forward, post COVID-19.

As New York continues to reopen and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, city and state authorities and agencies will require funding to move their projects forward. From the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) – to the New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) and New York City of Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC), the organizations that are providing essential services to New Yorkers will need additional funding to support their capital plans.

The Port Authority of New York And New Jersey (Port Authority), which builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country, will also require federal funding to support their network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities that support more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity.

The STA has recently gone on record with our state and local congressional representatives to have them join together and pass infrastructure as well as state and local supplemental funding that will not only support the reopening of New York, but create middle-class jobs and the small businesses that serve as the backbone of our economy.  We will continue that advocacy in the coming weeks and months so that our New York City construction market rebounds with much needed federal assistance  and our member subcontractors prosper in a “once again” healthy economy.