There is consensus among many fiscal experts that the best and quickest way to stimulate the economy is to put people to work, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-Howard Beach) told the members of Community Board 10 at their meeting last week in Ozone Park.
Noting that he is in favor of tax cuts for the middle class, Weiner said federal funding for infrastructure improvements, such as roads and bridges, in the Queens community is also necessary.
The congressman said a columnist for The New York Times had posed the question: “Aren’t we just financing our bailout today by moving our debts to our grandkids?” Weiner implied the answer is yes. “The least we can do is leave them something better with the money we are spending — put roofs on schools, improve our mass transit, get ferry service, etcetera,” he said.
To further his point that jobs are the key to economic stimulation, Weiner cited past examples in American history where the federal government funded projects in order to foster job creation.
He noted President Dwight Eisenhower’s push to build the country’s highway system and President Franklin Roosevelt’s creation of the New Deal, a series of economic programs intended to provide relief and take the country out of the Great Depression.
While conceding that too many people now have serious problems paying their mortgages, Weiner said that many of them brought it on themselves. He questioned why a family with a yearly household income of $40,000 to $50,000, for example, would take on an $800,000 mortgage.
He placed a share of responsibility on lenders by faulting the banks for giving such a loan, but said homeowners should be held accountable.
A home in foreclosure can bring down the value of surrounding homes by 40 to 45 percent, Weiner told C.B. 10.
Members of the board also heard from a Department of City Planning representative who told them the agency is proposing to amend a zoning resolution requiring secure indoor long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, community facility and commercial buildings.
Providing bicycle parking and storage, both at home and in the workplace, will not only meet cyclists’ standards, but also provide flexibility that will accommodate the needs of development, the official said.
According to DCP, the proposal seeks to support ridership throughout the city and encourages new cyclists to start riding. The increase of cycling in the city will yield fitness and health benefits for riders, and potentially alleviate congestion, improving air quality.
Bicycling is already on the rise, according to the Department of Transportation. The agency’s annual bicycle counts in Manhattan indicate that cycling has grown by 116 percent between 2000 and 2008, including a 35 percent increase from 2007 to 2008.
The proposed amendment would support New Yorkers who require a secure place to store their bikes at home, seek to commute to work by bike or want to use their bikes for short trips or recreation.