ALBANY — As government problems go, it’s not a bad one to have: How should New York spend a $5 billion surplus? The options are all bigticket items. The $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. Schools. Upgrades to New York City subways. Statewide broadband access. Highways, water and sewer projects. The money comes from big settlements with banks and insurance companies like BNP Paribas SA and Bank of America Corp. For a state with a long list of needs and wants, the windfall provides an unexpected opportunity to invest in something big. But in Albany, even $5 billion only goes so far, and the battle over how to spend it is already brewing.
“A lot of people are lustfully eyeing that pile of cash,” said Michael Elmendorf, president of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, who wants the money to go to fix crumbling…
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