How to spend $5 billion? New York leaders, interest groups debate how to use windfall surplus

Government And Institutions Associated Press

As government problems go, it's not a bad one to have: How should New York spend a $5 billion surplus?

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The options are all big-ticket, important items. There's the $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. Schools. Upgrades to New York City subways. Miles of deteriorating roads.

The surplus comes from settlements with banks and insurance companies. Lawmakers and special interest groups are already battling over how to spend it.

Education groups want it to go to schools. Top lawmakers say it should pay for upgrades to infrastructure such as highways, bridges and maybe subways.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says some of the money should support economic development and a plan to expand broadband access.

A decision is likely early next year when Cuomo and lawmakers craft the state budget.