Saturday, April 17, 2021

Comptroller Stringer Urges U.S. Department of Transportation to Make Immediate Investments in New York City Transportation Infrastructure to Jumpstart Economic Recovery


Comptroller called for scaling back highway infrastructure, investing in annual operating grants to transit agencies, and dedicating a federal funding stream for integrating commuter lines into urban transportation networks

 New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg urging immediate investments in New York City’s transportation infrastructure that will jumpstart local and economic national recovery. Comptroller Stringer underscored that investments in transit, pedestrian, and bicycle infrastructure are critical for a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable future. Comptroller Stringer highlighted that these various transit modes are not only central to New Yorkers’ daily life and the vitality of our city, but that a joint effort to make necessary investments in public transit and sustainable infrastructure would cause significant, positive ripple effects.

Comptroller Stringer called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to take swift action to:

  • Scale back highways, rebuilding neighborhoods that have been divided by highway infrastructure, and convening a joint taskforce with the State and the City to develop a comprehensive plan for the five boroughs. Comptroller Stringer has proposed scaling down a section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (Interstate-278), limiting it exclusively to truck access and building a two-mile linear park. Federal funding is needed for this type of planning citywide, particularly in neighborhoods where highway infrastructure is linked to poor air quality, high asthma rates, and related environmental and health inequities.
  • Invest in annual operating grants to transit agencies. The Federal DOT should extend operating funding to agencies as large as New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and require service standards reform to improve service during off-peak times.
  • Reevaluate Port Authority’s AirTrain proposal given recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule changes and strongly consider extending the N Train subway line to LaGuardia.
  • Implement Federal DOT’s Draft Strategic Plan on Accessible Transportation as soon as possible. Creating a simple, streamlined grant program for subway station ADA retrofits would be transformative in New York City, where three-quarters of stations are inaccessible to those with long-term disabilities and injuries, as well as parents with young children.
  • Dedicate a Federal DOT funding stream for integrating commuter lines into urban transportation networks, with unified fares across rail, subway, and bus systems and regular all-day service. Integrating and modernizing commuter rail is one of the quickest and most cost-effective methods for radically improving urban transit in the United States.

The full letter is available here.

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