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Assessing Progress & Challenges of New York’s Aging Infrastructure

January 14, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

In March 2014, the Center for an Urban Future documented an array of challenges and vulnerabilities resulting from the city’s aging infrastructure. The initial report in 2014, titled “Caution Ahead”, revealed that many of the city’s roads, bridges, subway signals, water and sewer mains, and public buildings were more than 50 years old and in varying states of disrepair. And it identified a minimum investment of $47.3 billion over the next five years to bring the city’s core infrastructure to a state of good repair.

Join us on January 14th as Jonathan Bowles, the Center for Urban Future’s Executive Director focuses on the new study which provides a five-year update to the assessment of New York City’s aging infrastructure vulnerabilities. In this five-year update to our landmark report on New York City’s aging infrastructure, we find that the city has made record-level capital investments, but results have been mixed. Increased usage and new stresses from climate change make bringing the city’s core infrastructure to a state of good repair all the more essential.

The new analysis shows that some of the problems that have been documented five years ago have only gotten worse and that the new stressors like climate change have only added to the overall price tag to bring the city’s core infrastructure to a state of good repair.

  • Increased capital investment—particularly in water and sewer infrastructure and street resurfacing—is beginning to show results. But in other areas, conditions have gotten worse as needs have grown.
  • Although the city has ramped up the pace of water main replacement, there were still 522 water main breaks last year—the highest total in over a decade.
  • New York City’s bridges also show mixed results. The number of structurally deficient bridges—those in need of substantial maintenance and repair—has declined but the number of bridges that are also fracture critical—at risk of partial collapse—have increased.



January 14, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Miriam Schrier
(212) 465-8734