"No state or region stands to benefit more than New York, whichrelies on its vast infrastructure network to meet the needs of agrowing population and the nation's largest economic engine," saysNYBC president Richard T. Anderson in a release. "Pointing out needwon't be enough, however. The situation is dire and calls forsomething other than a typical 'business-as-usual' approach in NewYork, where critical infrastructure projects can be delayed foryears and even decades by bureaucracy, political inertia andneedless delay." As an example, the position paper cites theMoynihan Station plan, still in limbo 16 years after it was firstproposed.

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In its position paper, NYBC calls on Paterson and Bloomberg toestablish high-level task forces that will draw input from closeadvisors, state and city agency heads, the state and citycomptrollers, the state legislature and City Council. According toNYBC, the task forces would quickly create a short-list ofpotential stimulus projects, examine the current status of each andidentify all remaining regulatory approvals, procurement matters orother issues that must be addressed.

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"Many critical questions remain unanswered," the position paperstates. "For instance, have we determined which projects providethe most bang for the buck? Should we focus on unfunded projectsthat have not yet started or augment projects already in thepipeline, such as the No. 7 subway line extension and the FultonStreet Transit Center? How much should be used to fill a $4-billiondollar gap in the School Construction Authority budget or tomodernize the region's electric grid?"

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When appropriate, Paterson and Bloomberg must invoke their powerto issue emergency declarations to fast-track project starts, NYBCsays. Where legislative approval is required, the State Legislatureand City Council must be willing to work with the task forces "toshape, review and quickly pass enabling legislation," according toa release.

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"As recent history shows, New York is capable of getting its acttogether," Anderson says in a release. "After the attacks of 9/11,government and the construction industry wasted no time inrebuilding a Lower Manhattan transportation network that wasdevastated on that day. More than $1 billion in cleanup, design,demolition and construction was completed within one year after thetragedy. In the face of crisis, policy differences were set aside,red tape was cut and onerous work rules amended. Despite dangerousconditions and the unprecedented scope of damage, the work wasconducted with extraordinary safety, efficiency and quality."

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In a statement, NYBC chairman Stuart E. Graham, who is alsochairman of Skanska USA, says, "We cannot squander thisopportunity. More jobs are being lost every day. Governmentrevenues are shrinking and yet our infrastructure needs keepgrowing. The time to act is now."

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.