Paterson Sets Up Infrastructure Cabinet

ALBANY—The answer to the question of how federal dollars will flow once they get to New York is becoming a bit clearer. Or at least that’s the idea.

Today, David Paterson announced during a speech to the New York State Association of Counties that he is appointing Timothy Gilchrist, currently the deputy secretary for economic development and infrastructure, to run a new “Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet” as the “senior adviser for infrastructure and transportation.”

The new cabinet is intended to make the most efficient use of money for infrastructure.

Gilchrist spoke to reporters on a conference call, explaining that there will be a new “war room” that will “bring the agencies together, so when a priority project is identified we can bring it through the process and make sure that any roadblocks can be overcome.”

There are 1,900 shovel-ready projects in the state, Gilchrist said, and he will lead existing agency staff in implementing the projects. They will publish a list of potential projects, then determine eligibility and eventually, pick which projects are funded.

There doesn’t seem to be as clear a plan for distributing money for purposes other than infrastructure, and Paterson’s position on the budget hasn’t been easy to keep track of.

Paterson has previously said that he wanted stimulus funds to roll back some of the fee increases he proposed, but today (after acknowledging they are “annoying”) he said he would like to see some stimulus funds work toward bridging next year’s deficit.

Paterson also said today he much preferred the stimulus bill that passed the House of Representatives to the bill that just cleared the U.S. Senate, and. (Probably not a coincidence that the Senate bill reduced the amount of money for state aid.)

Paterson Sets Up Infrastructure Cabinet