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New York infrastructure faces $89 billion gap in 20 years: official

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York State and its local governments face a shortfall of up to $89 billion for infrastructure funding over the next 20 years, the state's top financial official said on Thursday.

The collective shortfall is for transportation, water and sewer facilities throughout the state, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a report.

New York and its cities, counties and authorities need to spend $250 billion on water, sewer and highway systems in the coming two decades, but only about $161 billion in such spending is planned, he said.

Struggling local governments have attempted to maintain their systems during the recession, he said, even while some have been hit with lowered property tax collections and increasing expenditures in other areas.

Adding to the problem are ballooning construction and energy costs, which have grown faster than the rate of capital spending, his report found.

Total capital spending by local governments has increased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years. But fuel costs have risen 190 percent and asphalt costs 206 percent during the same period, he said.

The New York Thruway Authority on Monday selected a $3.1 billion design to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, which spans the Hudson River to connect Westchester and Rockland counties north of New York City. Built in the 1950s, it suffers from corrosion and an outdated design that has failed to keep up with increased traffic.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sped up the project, which languished for a decade, by getting the legislature to enact a law allowing it to be built as it is being designed.

(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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