New York City came home with $80.2 million in state funding on Thursday, the most the city has ever won since a competition for economic development funds was started six years ago.
The city won the funds through the annual Regional Economic Development Council competition, which distributes awards to 10 different regional councils each year for specific projects. The money is earmarked for 112 projects across the five boroughs, as selected by the city’s regional council, the New York Daily News reported. One million will be used for shuttle buses for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, though the council initially requested $3.7 million for nine buses. Another $1.24 million was allocated for the final section of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and $2 million was put aside for the expansion of an Irish Arts Center.
The state awarded more than $700 million statewide this year. Some critics of the competition liken it to the pork-barrel spending that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sworn to eradicate. However, Cuomo, who started the competition, says the awarding system brings community leaders and government officials together.
“We have replaced the ‘one-size fits all’ approach to economic growth with a ‘ground-up’ strategy that focuses on cooperation and investing in regional assets to generate opportunity,” Cuomo said. [NYDN] — Kathryn Brenzel