By Mayor Bloomberg
Last week, we received a visit from not one, but two members of President Obamaʼs Cabinet: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Their visits, along with the support we stand to gain from the recently-signed stimulus package, signal that the new Administration understands that whether youʼre talking about homeland security, education, or the economy, New York City really matters.
Aid and attention from the Federal government is always welcome, but weʼre not sitting around and waiting for the cavalry to ride in. In fact, last week we took two concrete steps that will stimulate our economy and create new job opportunities for years to come.
“First, we installed the high-powered machine that will begin digging the tunnel for the City-funded extension of the Number 7 train. Some may question the wisdom of proceeding with such an ambitious project now. But I think now is exactly the right time to build the 7-train extension. Not only will its construction-related jobs create the kind of ʽeconomic stimulusʼ weʼve been hearing so much about lately; it also will lay the groundwork for our cityʼs future growth. Historically, our cityʼs residential and commercial development has followed the path blazed by subway construction: just look at Brooklyn, Queens, Northern Manhattan, and the Bronx. Our next stop? The far West Side of Manhattan.
Over the next three decades, new development in this area will help our economy grow by a half million jobs, and could produce more than $60 billion in new tax revenues.
Long-term infrastructure investments are important to our cityʼs future, but thereʼs also a lot we can do in the short term to help New Yorkers ride out the recession. Thatʼs why weʼre providing loans to small businesses and helping more New Yorkers keep their homes. Itʼs all part of our five borough economic recovery plan, and last week we announced the latest step: a series of initiatives designed to support our embattled financial services sector, spur innovation in new fields, and retain our talented workforce.
For example, working together with academic institutions and commercial landlords, weʼre establishing ready-to-use office space that can be leased to start-up companies at steep discounts for a period of up to six months. These incubator spaces may well hatch the next great ideas and inventions of the 21st century.
And, through our Department of Small Business Services, weʼre offering professional development classes to help new and existing business owners sharpen their skills.
The spirit of enterprise and innovation that exists in New York has always been key to the prosperity of our city – and our nation. The steps weʼre taking today will help us tap into that spirit and hold on to the talent weʼre going to need to ensure New York Cityʼs future.