New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that during his meeting with President Donald Trump here, the two men focused on reviving the state’s COVID-19-battered economy with infrastructure building.
At a briefing held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Cuomo said he brought up the idea of supercharging New York’s reopening with infrastructure projects during his meeting earlier in the day with Trumo at the White House, reports Xinhua news agency.
New York state, the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, is in the process of a phased reopening.
On Tuesday, the Governor had said that it was time to speed up some of the state’s long-overdue infrastructure projects, such as the rebuilding of Penn Station and the renovation of LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
In Wednesday’s briefing, Cuomo said he and the President had a “good discussion”, adding: “He understood what we were talking about. He understood what we need and he’s going to be thinking about it, talk to his team. He said we’ll talk next week.”
The Governor also again urged Congress to allocate more federal funds to states hit hard by COVID-19, including New York, and to set aside partisanship at a time of national crisis.
“So my point to our friends in the Congress… stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the COVID virus through no fault of their own,” he said.
He expressed anger and frustration over some conservatives, who had called federal aid to New York state as a “blue state bailout”.
“This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country,” said Cuomo, adding that New York gives $29 billion more than it takes out from the federal funds every year.
The state saw 74 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, and that of Monday, 73, was the lowest in months.
It’s “a sign that we’re headed in the right direction”, Cuomo told the briefing.
On Wednesday, Long Island became the latest region in New York state to enter the first phase of reopening, leaving New York City the only one remaining under the “PAUSE” order.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that the city will have 1,700 contact tracers in place by June 1, and will get to the level of 2,500 in the first half of June.
He said the city now conducts 27,000 tests per day, and “we’re well on our way to our goal of getting to at least 50,000 tests in the coming weeks”.
Both Cuomo and de Blasio have said the city is expected to reopen in June.
New York state has reported over 364,000 COVID-19 cases and over 29,000 deaths. New York City has recorded nearly 200,000 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University.