Overdue Investments for New York City's Aging Infrastructure | 5 Years Later

January 14, 2020 12:00 PM EST - 1:00 PM EST

Overdue Investments for New York's Again Infrastructure

Assessing Progress and Challenges for New York City's Aging Infrastructure


In March 2014, the "Center for an Urban Future" documented an array of challenges and vulnerabilities resulting from the city’s aging infrastructure. The report, titled “Caution Ahead”, revealed that many of the city’s roads, bridges, subway signals, water and sewer mains, and public buildings were more than 50 years old and in varying states of disrepair. And it identified a minimum investment of $47.3 billion over the next five years to bring the city’s core infrastructure to a state of good repair.

Recently there has been flash flooding that shut down streets, software glitches that brought subway trains to a halt during rush hour, and a massive power outage that left tens of thousands of city residents in the dark. A new study has been issued which provides a five-year update to the assessment of New York City’s aging infrastructure vulnerabilities. It concludes that the de Blasio administration’s record infrastructure investments have resulted in real progress in several areas, but also finds that capital needs across many city agencies have grown significantly—and not just in high-profile areas like the subways and NYCHA. The new analysis shows that some of the problems that have been documented five years ago have only gotten worse and that the new stressors like climate change have only added to the overall price tag to bring the city’s core infrastructure to a state of good repair.


About the presenter:

 Jonathan Bowles

Jonathan Bowles is executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, a leading NYC-based think tank that focuses on expanding economic opportunity and growing the economy in New York City. During his 20 years at the Center, he has been the architect of the Center’s policy agenda and is responsible for making it one of New York’s most innovative and influential organizations. He has written extensively about a range of topics that are important to New York’s future, including spurring more middle class jobs, upgrading the city’s aging infrastructure, boosting community college graduation rates, helping more New Yorkers access tech careers, and scaling up more of the city’s small businesses. He co-chaired the Economy and Jobs subcommittee of Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s transition committee, and was once named “New York’s Finest Troublemaker” by Time Out New York. He lives in Queens with his wife and his kids.


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