Governor Paterson went before a congressional committee today to call for a federal stimulus package to aid financially troubled states–including this pitch for added funding for infrastructure repair:
We in New York have many programs involving roads, bridges, infrastructure development and also water waste treatment that are ready to go. If we had the dollars to actually begin [with], we would have 40 shovel-ready programs for improving highways and bridges. We would have another 58 programs ready to go in the area of water projects. [emphasis added]
The problem, of course, is that New York’s shortage of infrastructure repair dollars is largely its own fault. Thanks largely to booming (and heavily leveraged) Wall Street profits, the state’s all funds tax receipts grew by 42 percent between fiscal years 2003-04 and 2007-08. But the Legislature and Governors George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer (with Paterson in the mix) managed to spend the money on practically everything other than roads, bridges and waste-water projects. As noted in thisCity Journal article:
Incredibly, Albany managed to go more deeply into debt, increase its long-term liabilities, and shortchange core transportation infrastructure needs even while the good times rolled.
And now the rest of the country owes us a handout?