MALONEY, MAYOR DE BLASIO, AND NYC CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION URGE INCREASED FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT

Nov 12, 2015
Press Release
Current six-year house bill would cut $80 million a year from transit in NYC

NEW YORK—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Congressional delegation urged Congress to invest – not disinvest – from New York City transportation and infrastructure needs, encouraging the House and Senate to pass a long-term surface transportation reauthorization that increases federal funding support for our transportation systems, including subways, buses, streets, bridges, rail, and ferries to meet growing needs.

In a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Mayor de Blasio and New York City members of Congress specifically called for the members of the conference committee to prevent an $80 million annual cut to transit in New York City – which would total $480 million over the six years of the bill – and instead ensure provisions that increase funding for projects in New York City are included in a final transportation bill.

If Congress fails to pass a long-term transportation bill that significantly increases investment for New York City, subway delays may increase from the current 15,000 a month and commutes may grow from the 74 hours a year the average New York City commuter spends in traffic.

Alternatively, $100 million in additional funding for projects in New York City could support the 1.75 billion annual subway riders, resurface approximately 400 lane miles, implement Vision Zero safety improvements at approximately 50 schools, replace a Staten Island Ferry vessel, or help maintain safety and state of good repair of the City’s 789 bridges (over 160 of which are over a century old).

The full letter from Mayor de Blasio and the congressional delegation can be found below.


November 10, 2015

 

Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Boxer, Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio:

 

We are encouraged by your progress in providing certainty for the surface transportation program, which is the backbone of the American economy. As you work toward final passage of a long-term surface transportation authorization, we urge you to support provisions providing critical funding support and flexibility for transportation projects in New York City.  These measures will help ensure New York City has the resources necessary to continue as a national and global hub of community, culture, and commerce.

 

As one of the most complex, heavily utilized urban transportation networks in the world, New York City has significant maintenance, operating, and capital funding needs. Ensuring this transportation system is well-functioning is critical to the nation’s economy. More Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in New York City than any city in the nation, and the region’s gross domestic product is roughly 10 percent of nation’s GDP.  The city’s transit ridership reached a record high last year and freight volume is projected to increase by 47 percent over the next two decades.

 

The city has significantly increased resources dedicated to transportation under the current Administration. The next federal surface transportation authorization must increase support for our transportation systems, including subways, buses, streets, bridges, rail, and ferries to meet this growing demand. As the conference committee works to resolve differences between Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act) and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRR Act), New York City urges you to prioritize the following issues:

 

  • Increasing federal highway, transit, and safety program funding for cities and their regions to levels significantly above baseline. Current federal funding is not enough to maintain current systems, much less improve to accommodate increased demand.

 

  • New York City depends on a robust federal transit program and strongly supports provisions in the final bill that maintain at a minimum the historic 20 percent share of the federal program.

 

  • Transit program formula allocations in the Senate-passed DRIVE Act including the increase in 5307 and 5340 core transit program funding levels and provisions to increase 5337 program funding. The City strongly opposes the House provision (amendment #156) to eliminate the 5340 High Density program, which would eliminate $80 million annually in critical NYC transit support.

 

  • DRIVE Act Capital Investment Grant funding increase and policy. The City supports an 80 percent federal share for all Capital Investment Grant programs and retaining the historic flexibility to provide a local match from funding from all federal programs, including the Surface Transportation Program (STP).

 

  • The City supports increasing funding for the Staten Island Ferry and planned Citywide Ferry Service, which includes a new Rockaway route. We urge the conferees to retain Senate-passed DRIVE Act formula changes and funding increase in the highway Ferry Boat Discretionary program, which would double current annual ferry program funding to New York City and benefit future service. The City also supports a new provision to distribute transit Passenger Ferry Grant program through a formula based on passenger ridership to more equitably distribute funding based on demand.

 

  • Multimodal freight grant program provisions in the House-passed STRR Act, including guaranteed funding and local eligibility for large, nationally significant freight projects.

 

  • The City opposes any funding reductions to the STP sub-allocation for metropolitan regions.

 

  • DRIVE Act provisions to support national passenger rail funding and capacity increases, including provisions to advancing the Gateway Program to address needs into New York City Penn Station.

 

America’s metropolitan areas are the population and job centers that drive our nation’s economic growth and as such, the demands on our transportation systems are enormous. We urge you to increase funding for dense urban transit systems and metropolitan areas in the final bill to ensure they continue to help our nation thrive.  In New York City, $100 million in additional funding for projects in the city could support the 1.75 billion annual subway riders, resurface approximately 400 lane miles, implement Vision Zero safety improvements at approximately 50 schools, replace a Staten Island Ferry vessel, and help maintain safety and state of good repair of the City’s 789 bridges. We appreciate your consideration as we work together to meet the growing transportation infrastructure needs of New York City and our nation. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City

The Honorable Yvette Clarke, Member of Congress

The Honorable Joe Crowley, Member of Congress

The Honorable Dan Donovan, Member of Congress

The Honorable Eliot Engel, Member of Congress

The Honorable Steve Israel, Member of Congress

The Honorable Hakeem Jeffries, Member of Congress

The Honorable Carolyn Maloney, Member of Congress

The Honorable Gregory Meeks, Member of Congress

The Honorable Grace Meng, Member of Congress

The Honorable Charles B. Rangel, Member of Congress

The Honorable Jose Serrano, Member of Congress

The Honorable Nydia Velazquez, Member of Congress