Mayor Bill de Blasio should jumpstart pandemic-snagged plans to build affordable housing and schools, and repair aging infrastructure — even if it takes long-term borrowing to help pay for such projects, City Comptroller Scott Stringer declared Monday.
In a letter sent to de Blasio and obtained by THE CITY, the mayoral candidate argued that ample cash reserves, New York’s solid credit rating and historically low interest rates mean the city can afford to resume work on capital projects, despite serious budget problems.
Stringer argued the boost to the city’s economy, which has lost almost 700,000 jobs since February and whose 14.1% unemployment rate is almost double the national figure, would be vital to rebounding from the coronavirus crisis.
“Every billion dollars in construction spending creates nearly 5,000 direct construction jobs and hundreds of other indirect and induced jobs,” the letter says.
“With construction in the private sector forecasted to decline significantly over the next two years, increased city government capital construction projects are both needed to help boost construction sector employment, and will be competing against fewer private-sector projects for resources and labor.”