Testimony of Felice Farber
Director of Extrernal Affairs
General Contractors Association of New York
Before the New York City Council
For the Public Hearing on the New York University Core Project
June 29, 2012
Thank you Council Member Weprin and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify today in support of the expansion plans for NYU. I am pleased to testify today both in my role as Director of External Affairs for the General Contractors Association of New York and as both an undergraduate and graduate alumni of NYU.
The General Contractors Association is the association representing the contractors that build and maintain New York’s infrastructure. Since its inception more than 100 years ago, the GCA has been advocating for smart investments in New York. While our members are the contractors that build New York’s infrastructure, we are also the employers and workers that do business and live in New York. Our mission is to make smart decisions that positively affect the quality of life, livability and economic vitality of our city.
New York is a center of academic excellence, with some of the top colleges and universities in the country situated across the state. In New York City, our premier academic institutions attract the top teaching talent, students and researchers. The economic contribution of these institutions is immeasurable. NYU in particular is invaluable to New York City, generating more than $50 million in state and local income taxes annually, spending over $170 million annually in the purchase of goods and services in New York City and paying millions more in property taxes. Equally as important are the jobs created and the student talent pool that then goes on to work, start businesses, hire employees and generate even greater economic activity in our city.
We support NYU’s expansion plan and encourage the City Council to approve the measures before it today. The expansion plan is essential for New York in generating economic activity, enabling NYU to expand its research, bioscience center, performing arts school and other core academic facilities. Beyond all this, the expansion plan solidifies NYU’s ability to attract the top talent pool of today and tomorrow to our great city.
We also support the expansion plans for the economic activity the construction will generate, supporting thousands of professional and trades jobs over the course of construction. As New York steadily loses manufacturing jobs, the unionized construction industry is a stabilizing force in New York’s economy, providing blue collar workers with family sustaining wages. These are the types of jobs we need as a city to provide a diverse and stable workforce.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.