I’m all in favor of cost effective, well-planned system expansion projects, providing we bring our existing transit assets up to a state of good repair first. But we need to stop wasting millions on transportation feasibility studies for future system expansion projects that may never happen in our lifetime.
Author: Larry Penner
There is only $70 million for advancing an environmental study for the $10 billion (estimated) Cross Harbor Rail Tunnel within the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey 2017-2026 Capital Plan. This leaves a $9.930 billion shortfall to complete this freight rail project. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) continues to claim that there is real progress for his favored project. He has championed this as his number one transportation priority for 30 years. But after all that time, project is still stuck in the federal National Environmental Protection Act review process.
There is good news from Washington, D.C. concerning federal support for transportation. The New York City Department of Transportation is a direct recipient of Federal Transit Administration funding on behalf of the Staten Island Ferry.
It is no surprise that due to the financial crisis resulting from COVID-19 on New York City’s municipal budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio is reconsidering advancing his $2.7 billion Brooklyn Queens Streetcar Connector (BQX) project. He has 16 factors to consider:
The Federal Transit Administration has requested that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) include looking at the option of Bus Rapid Transit along with extending the Buffalo Metro Light Rail as part of the planning and environmental review process. This could delay advancement of the project by three to six months.
If you are looking to understand of the history of New York City Transit’s Second Avenue Subway, read “Last Subway, The Long Wait for the Next Train in New York City” by Philip Mark Plotch. The author clearly did his research on the subject. The book explains in detail why progress has been so slow for construction of the long-anticipated Second Avenue Subway.
There is bad news from Washington D.C. concerning federal support for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s (NFTA, Buffalo, N.Y.) proposed $1.4 billion Metro Rail Amherst Light Rail Extension project. According to the Federal Transit Administration New Starts Report for the upcoming Federal Fiscal Year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020-Sept. 30, 2021), released earlier this month, the project did not qualify for a New Starts grant under the first step known as “Project Development.”
Opponents of the LaGuardia Air Train looking for alternatives have many reasons to be concerned about its future impacts. To build a train to the plane within five years for $2 billion is a planner’s dream. It will be a nightmare for taxpayers and riders. Count on cost overruns approaching $1 billion, and multi-year construction delays reaching beneficial use. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and its consultants, along with labor unions and construction contractors who would benefit by this project, refuse to acknowledge this reality. As well, Cuomo and PANY&NJ Executive Director Rick Cotton promise a 30-minute or less connection from LaGuardia Air Port to Midtown Manhattan. This is a myth.
The Jan. 15, 2020 New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority public hearing for its proposed federal fiscal year 2020 capital program of projects confirms there continues to be good news from Washington concerning real financial support. Several million commuters will see some of the benefits.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ghost speech writer for his Penn Station South eight-track expansion proposal forgot a lot of things and clearly has no understanding of transit history.