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By: Thomas Hay
Government leaders and industry groups are contemplating a major investment in infrastructure in the anticipated “Phase 4” coronavirus relief package. Last week, the American Public Works Association (APWA) called upon Congress to include infrastructure investment as a key component in the next COVID-19 recovery package. Congress will likely pursue the next federal stimulus bill in July.
In the meantime, numerous states have begun their own infrastructure investments to boost the economy. With hopes of speeding up New York’s economic recovery, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced plans to fast-track several major NYC regional infrastructure projects. One of the infrastructure projects aims to transport “low-cost renewable power downstate and production upstate” with the addition of new transmission cables which will run across the state. The project will also include an expedited power cable running from Quebec to NYC. The power cable will transport hydropower to the city. Other planned infrastructure projects include an ongoing upgrade to LaGuardia airport and several railway expansions, including an AirTrain link from LaGuardia to local NYC rail lines.
In Massachusetts, the state Senate recently voted to approve a bill for financing to improve municipal roads and bridges and create a new oversight board for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. The bill authorizes increased funding to cities and towns for roadwork through the apportionment of state resources. If passed, the proposed $300-million investment could aid the economy by financing critical local infrastructure projects to advance the statewide transportation system.
In California, the recently proposed Sustainable Transportation COVID-19 Recovery Act seeks to exempt sustainable transportation projects from the lengthy environmental protection reviews mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Lawsuits brought under CEQA can delay projects by 1-5 years. The proposed bill focuses on transportation projects involving public transit, pedestrians, and bicycle traffic in order to provide environmentally friendly and sustainable public transportation options for commuters. In addition, the California High-Speed Rail Authority recently announced more than 4,000 construction jobs have been created to build the 119-mile long high-speed rail line.
These and other state initiatives, along with federal programs, will create significant opportunities for the construction industry as it recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Thomas Hay at [email protected].
FMG has formed a Coronavirus Task Force to provide up-to-the-minute information, strategic advice, and practical solutions for our clients. Our group is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys who can address the multitude of legal issues arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, including issues related to Healthcare, Product Liability, Tort Liability, Data Privacy, and Cyber and Local Governments. For more information about the Task Force, click here.
You can also contact your FMG relationship partner or email the team with any questions at [email protected].
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