BALCONY - Business and Labor Coalition of New York

LaGuardia Airport to use foreign steel in $4B renovation angering U.S. industry

March 21st, 2017

By Ginger Adams Otis



Bridge that connects to LaGuardia Airport under construction. Chinese steel will build some of roadway bridges at the airport. (DelMundo, Anthony)

LaGuardia’s $4 billion facelift won’t be an all-American job, the Daily News has learned.

Chinese steel will be used in the high-profile project meant to make the city’s second-best airport great again — infuriating the U.S. steel industry that says it can handle the demand.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey told The News Monday that Chinese steel will build some of roadway bridges at the airport.

It’s also relying on steel fabricated in Canada for part of the Terminal B building.

The Port Authority said it’s in compliance with the mandates required by its funding.

“The public-private-partnership contract has a requirement that 50% of the steel be domestic and LaGuardia Gateway Partners — our PPP partner — is meeting that goal,” the spokesman said.

LaGuardia Airport is not the only Port Authority project using foreign steel. A contractor hired to overhaul a Holland Tunnel Pier bought steel from several of the U.S.’s most cut-throat competitors — Turkey, Eastern Europe and China, the spokesman said.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said the Port Authority’s “blatant outsourcing” was at odds with Gov. Cuomo’s insistence on a “Buy American” clause in his latest budget — and even at odds with President Trump’s “Buy America, Hire America” pledge.

“The cost (of this) is more American jobs. It is our hope that the Port Authority reconsiders using Chinese and foreign steel. There are thousands of unemployed factory workers anxious to get back to making steel here in America,” said Paul.

“America’s steel makers are capable and waiting. It is unacceptable that major public infrastructure projects in New York are providing jobs overseas,” he added.

But it’s not just the Port Authority bypassing American steelmakers — the city’s Department of Environmental Protection also brought in Chinese steel for its work rebuilding the Hudson River aqueduct.

And in 2013, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority set off shockwaves by outsourcing $235 million worth of work on its Verrazano bridge upgrade to China.

Even President Trump’s patriotic proclamations may not come true, the U.S. steel industry fears.

At a Tennessee rally last week, he repeated his pledge to buy American materials for pipelines — but only those that are newly-constructed.

“I’ve authorized the construction of the long-stalled and delayed Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline,” Trump said at the gathering.

“I’ve also directed that new pipelines must be constructed with American steel. They want to build them here, they use our steel. We believe in two simple rules: Buy American and hire American,” he added.

Two weeks earlier, on March 3, his administration had admitted it couldn’t make good on his campaign promise to use American material on the Keystone — because foreign purchases had already been made.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it’s because of language in a presidential directive Trump issued in January.

“The way that executive order is written, it’s specific to new pipelines or those that are being repaired,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“And since this one is already currently under construction, the steel is already literally sitting there, it would be hard to go back,” she said.

About half the project’s steel will be from foreign sources, the contractor said.

And even Trump’s written executive order on buying American steel has loopholes large enough for an eyebeam to pass through.

It calls for U.S. steel and pipes to be used “to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law,” — hardly a guarantee of American content.

The flaws on the federal level make Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to enforce a “Buy American” proviso in New York all the more imperative, said Mario Cilento, head of the state AFL-CIO.

Sixty New York steelmakers will be in Albany on Tuesday to lobby the state Legislature on behalf of Cuomo’s mandate — and for more jobs for domestic steelmakers, who are being undercut by cheaper foreign materials.

“We have the most highly skilled workers in the world as well as the infrastructure to do these types of jobs right here in New York,” said Cilento, who said it was “disappointing” to learn of the Port Authority’s steel choices.

“That’s why I applaud Gov. Cuomo for making Buy American a top priority. We should be maximizing our tax dollars to create good union manufacturing jobs and strengthening local economies,” Cilento said.

Share
|



Gateway tunnel in trouble as Trump looks to kill key funding program

March 17th, 2017

By Ryan Hutchins

In a move that endangers the ability of the federal government to pay for construction of the Gateway rail tunnel, President Donald Trump proposed a budget this week that eliminates New Starts, a key infrastructure grant program that was expected to be one of the largest funding sources for the tubes under the Hudson River.

The president’s budget would limit New Starts funding to projects that already have existing full-funding agreements in place, according to a summary released Thursday. Any new transit initiatives would be paid for “by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects,” the White House said in announcing plans to cut transportation funding by 13 percent.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said the elimination of the Federal Transit Administration program puts Gateway on the chopping block.

“President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the New Starts program — and the Gateway Project along with it — is irresponsible, short-sighted, and demonstrates a complete failure of leadership,” Menendez said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “President Trump is single-handedly trying to derail Gateway and send a catastrophic ripple effect that will cause irreparable harm to our regional and national economies.”

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York, said the budget would “stop the progress of the vital Gateway Tunnel project dead in its tracks.”

The proposal came as a shock to many involved in the project because Trump had promised to launch a $1 trillion investment in the nation’s infrastructure. The new rail tunnel was expected to be among his top priorities.

The Gateway Program, which includes the new tunnel and other improvements to ease congestion along the busiest stretch of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, would replace the aging tubes that run under the Hudson River, linking New Jersey to Manhattan. Those tubes are nearing the end of their useful life and may need to be taken out of service within the next two decades.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have agreed to have their states split half of the cost of the project and had anticipated the federal government to cover the remainder. The Obama administration had made the project one of its top transportation priorities. The project is expected to cost about $20 billion.

The first phase of the Gateway project, which includes the new tunnel and replacement of the troublesome Portal Bridge in New Jersey, was accepted into the New Starts pipeline last year but had not yet received a full funding commitment, said John D. Porcari, interim executive director of the Gateway Program Development Corp. Gateway, he said, is “the most urgent infrastructure project in America.”

“Zeroing out funding for New Starts will interrupt both of these critical projects and delay the start of construction, which in the case of the Portal Bridge, was anticipated to begin this year,” Porcari said in a statement. “Any proposed cut to transportation programs like New Starts is a major concern.”

At a press briefing in Washington, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said cuts in transportation and other programs did not necessarily mean more funding won’t arrive later. He said the infrastructure initiative may not be unveiled until this summer or fall and could include one-off funding for projects.

“The infrastructure program is something we just recently started” working on,” Mulvaney said.

In a statement, Christie’s office said the governor, a close friend of Trump, will “fight any federal funding cut.”

“The Governor has worked hard to develop a project which will ease commuting to New York City without all the practical and fiscal shortcomings of the ARC tunnel project,” spokesman Brian Murray said, referring to a similar project Christie unilaterally killed. “Gateway tunnel is that project. New Jersey and New York are committed to funding their fair share. He will do all he can to fight any federal funding cut to this project of regional and national importance.”

Still, Menendez said Trump’s decision was jarring given the president’s commitment to infrastructure and his background as a New York real estate developer.

“President Trump’s campaign rhetoric about investing in our nation’s infrastructure has proven to be just that — empty words used to win an election that he has no intention of delivering on,” said Menendez, who estimated a Northeast Corridor shutdown would cost $100 million a day. “Dismissing transit infrastructure as ‘localized’ projects is an outdated and dismissive mindset that fails to recognize transit’s central role in our regional and national economy.”

Share
|



In Syracuse speech, Cuomo revives I-81 tunnel and promises more subsidies

January 11th, 2017

By Jimmy Vielkind

ALBANY — Apparently overruling officials at the state Department of Transportation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday revived the possibility that an elevated stretch of Interstate 81 in Syracuse would be replaced by a tunnel.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said the DOT would consider a tunnel or depressed highway option during the fifth leg of his State of the State tour. DOT engineers, who have long been studying options to replace the aging (and out-of-code) viaduct in the city ruled out a tunnel in October, citing high costs.

“We want to make sure we look at it from all angles to make the best decision that we can, and we want to do some more study to make sure we have all the alternatives and the feasibility of these alternatives,” Cuomo said. “DOT has started their environmental review, and they’re going to be studying three options: a community grid options, a tunnel option — or a depressed highway option — and they will also be studying a combination of the community grid plus the tunnel and the community grid plus the depressed highway to see what is the most feasible and what does the most good and what is the most economic.”

There’s been much debate over what to do about I-81, which bisects Syracuse on its north-south axis and effectively separates its downtown from the hill containing major hospitals and Syracuse University.

Many urban leaders, including Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (who has feuded with Cuomo) said they would like to see through traffic diverted to another highway and a street-level grid implemented. Suburban interests, including the owners of the Destiny USA mall and Senate Deputy Leader John DeFrancisco, see the flow of traffic along the highway as important for their business.

Cuomo said in a press release that the DOT, which began its review in 2013, would engage an “independent expert with international tunnel expertise” for the additional review.

The governor’s speech included two other major economic development announcements.

After repeating familiar themes about the importance of high-tech jobs, Cuomo announced the state would give Saab $30 million to put the North American headquarters of its defense division in Onondaga County.

The move would create 260 new jobs, Cuomo promised, and builds on research on drones that has been ongoing at Griffiss Air Base in Rome as well as by existing aerospace companies in the Syracuse suburbs.

“We have been ahead of this from day one. The development is all happening here,” Cuomo said.

The governor also announced state resources to renovate Hancock International Airport, which Cuomo said was dark, unwelcoming and outdated. The overhaul would cost $45 million and include a new regional aviation museum.

Finally, Cuomo said he would place new “Buy American” preferences on state contracts that exceed $100,000. The move was cheered by New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, who was present for the speech.

“Our hard-earned tax dollars, as well as our jobs, should not be sent overseas, particularly when we have the best skilled workers in the world ready to do the job,” Cilento stated. “With Buy American, we will be creating good manufacturing jobs and strengthening local economies, including right here at home in New York.”

Share
|



Fixing America’s infrastructure one career at a time

September 6th, 2016

By Robert Bartels Jr.

As the presidential campaign heats up this fall, one of the few topics on which both candidates seem to largely agree is the need for our country to seriously invest in fixing, improving and expanding public infrastructure. Both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have announced plans to pour billions into infrastructure.

The Clinton campaign has put the amount at $275 billion over five years, while Trump has vowed to double that. Many experts believe even those amounts are not enough to improve our existing roads, bridges, ports, airports and other major transportation and utility infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America a D+ in its most recent report card on the state of our infrastructure and earlier this year estimated we will need to spend $1.4 trillion between now and 2025 and $5.2 trillion by 2040.

In addition to the benefits this would bring to our economy by allowing goods to be moved faster and more efficiently, creating a true and lasting national infrastructure plan will create jobs. Currently, some 14.5 million Americans work in infrastructure-related jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than in education or manufacturing. Increasing spending on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars would of course add significantly to that number.

Of course, this begs an important question: What kind of jobs? Will the people who build and maintain everything from highways to water tunnels to electricity grids be climbing the ladder into the middle class or will they be mired at the bottom of the economic rung, left without decent pay, health care, benefits or job security?

It is vital that as we expand economic opportunities, we do it in a way that actually helps the people who will be gaining those opportunities. People need not only jobs; they need jobs that allow them to live, work and raise a family in their communities. They need jobs that provide benefits and protections should they be injured, jobs that give them the ability to save for retirement and send their children to college. Historically in America, these types of blue-collar jobs, and the dignity and stability they provide workers, have been achieved via unions.

We hear a lot of negative rhetoric about unions from politicians and business leaders alike. But it was the union movement that gave our society the 40-hour, five-day workweek; paid overtime; workplace safety standards; and the creation of OSHA, which ensures that people are protected at potentially dangerous worksites. It was unions that pushed for health benefits and paid sick time.

Starting in the era of the Gilded Age, it was the labor movement – galvanized later by the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Lower Manhattan in 1911 – that helped create the nation’s first building codes, mandatory stairwells and fire safety regulations, all of which have undoubtedly saved countless lives in the century since.

So as we pause to recognize and honor hard-working men and women on Labor Day, let’s not lose sight of what organized labor has achieved for this country. It has allowed generations of Americans to rise above abject poverty and inequality imposed on working class people, especially in the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century. Those times are remembered for lavish mansions and lifestyles of the super-wealthy, which were fed by low wages and work exploitation.

The gains we have made did not come without struggle and we must be vigilant to ensure that new jobs now and in the future help workers join in the effort to move our country forward, rather than get left behind in poverty and uncertainty.

Robert Bartels, Jr. is a 35-year piping industry veteran and Business Agent-at-Large of the 8,500-member Steamfitters Local 638. Steamfitters design, install and maintain critical fire sprinklers, piping, heating and cooling systems in tens of thousands of high-occupancy commercial, residential and industrial buildings throughout the New York region.

Share
|



Three Years in Two Minutes

August 29th, 2016

New Video Captures Construction Progress

The New NY Bridge project has become a symbol for what the state can accomplish.

Watch the new twin-span crossing take shape during the past three years in this new time-lapse video. From steel girders to concrete towers, from piles to road deck, from shoreline to shoreline, the transformation has been amazing.

Initiated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the 3.1-mile New NY Bridge project is one of the largest active projects of its kind in the nation.

The time-lapse video debuted today as part of Governor’s Day at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, a 12-day celebration that shares the best that New York State has to offer. For those visiting the State Fair, you can check out the video at the Governor’s booth.

The video is also available on the New NY Bridge project’s YouTube page.

Those interested in a closer look are also invited to view the daily project progress via the project’s webcams and photo gallery as well as by visiting the New NY Bridge construction viewing platforms at Scenic Hudson RiverWalk in Tarrytown and Memorial Park in Nyack.

Federal funding for Gateway project gains steam

July 13th, 2016

By Dana Rubinstein and Ryan Hutchins

In November, the federal government and the states of New York and New Jersey agreed to split the formidable cost of replacing the sole, rapidly deteriorating train tunnel connecting Midtown Manhattan to New Jersey.
The states’ funding plan, which was to be developed by an entity housed in the Port Authority, has long been shrouded in mystery – including how the two states plan to split their half of the burden.

On Monday, a Port spokesman declined to provide any more details about the status of the scheme.

“Seems like there are so many more immediate things to worry about. I honestly have not even thought about that scenario,” said New Jersey State Sen. Bob Gordon, a Democrat who chairs his chamber’s Legislative Oversight Committee and has spent a considerable amount of time advocating for the Gateway project.

In Washington, things are moving slightly more quickly. In the coming days, the federal Department of Transportation is expected to announce that two elements of the Gateway Program will begin the two-part review process required to access grants from the New Starts program, which has helped fund mega-projects like the Second Avenue Subway.

The “project development” phase of the New Starts process involves the “complete environmental review process including developing and reviewing alternatives, selecting locally preferred alternative (LPA), and adopting it into the fiscally constrained long range transportation plan,” according to the transportation department’s website.

The new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and the new Portal Bridge in New Jersey, which will replace the existing, century-old, bottleneck of a swinging bridge over the Hackensack River, are expected to cost upwards of $10 billion. The overall Gateway program – including an expansion of Penn Station – is expected to cost more than $20 billion.

New Starts, along with other federal grant and loan programs, are expected to comprise a bulk of the federal government’s contribution to the plan.

The existing rail tunnel, which is owned by Amtrak but most heavily used by NJ Transit, was falling apart even before Hurricane Sandy inundated it with salt water.

Since then, federal officials have warned that its demise is imminent.

Spokesmen for Amtrak and the USDOT declined comment for this story.
To view online:
http://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2016/07/federal-funding-for-gateway-gains-steam-103701

Share
|



With colossal contracts coming up, five big transportation contractors to watch

July 11th, 2016

by Jon Lentz

Early this year the Cuomo administration boasted of a public infrastructure plan that was so sweeping it would exceed $100 billion. That total, which includes substantial funding from the federal government, local governments and semi-independent authorities in addition to state dollars, has fluctuated somewhat since then. Capital investment for the state Department of Transportation will be higher than initially proposed, for example, while the bulk of a promised $20 billion for a state housing plan is up in the air.

But the sum is still useful as a rough estimate of upcoming state infrastructure spending, with such major transportation projects as the trans-Hudson Gateway rail tunnel andan expanded Penn Station in the planning stages and a new Tappan Zee Bridge, the Second Avenue Subway and an overhauled LaGuardia Airportall underway.

So, who will cash in over the next few years? If history is any guide, a number of big players could be in line to secure some top-dollar transportation infrastructure contracts. Of course, it’ll all depend on how the bidding processes go – but in the meantime, here are five big contractors to watch.

AECOM, a Los Angeles-based design firm, has played a role in a number of major New York transportation projects: the new Tappan Zee Bridge, a redevelopment project at JFK International Airport, the East Side Access project connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal and a handful of bus rapid transit projects in New York City.

Perhaps its most notable role, however, is as the prime engineering and design consultant for the Second Avenue Subway, whose first phase is scheduled to open in December. The MTA, which won additional funding for the project in this year’s state budget, is already gearing up for Phase 2.

The firm, which works on dozens of international projects, significantly expanded its New York footprint in 2010 when it acquired Tishman Construction Corp.

2015 revenue: $17.99 billion
2015 profit: $535.19 million

FLUOR

The Texas-based construction company heads up Tappan Zee Constructors, a consortium that is building the $3.9 billion replacement for the aging Tappan Zee Bridge.

In January of 2013, the New York State Thruway Authority awarded the contract for the project, the largest of its kind in state history. It is scheduled be completed by 2018, and its use of design-build as a project delivery vehicle could help it meet that deadline.

The firm, which works on projects around the globe, also led the construction of the Port Authority’s $3.2 billion World Trade Center transportation hub and was project manager for the $1.4 billion International Arrivals Terminal at JFK Airport.

2015 revenue: $18.11 billion
2015 profit: $412.51 million

KIEWIT

This construction and engineering company, which is headquartered in Omaha, does work all across the United States as well as in Canada. In New York, its biggest transportation infrastructure jobs are on two Port Authority structures: the Goethals Bridge and the Bayonne Bridge.

In 2013, Kiewit and a partner won a $1.5 billion design-build contract to replace the Goethals Bridge, which connects Staten Island to New Jersey. The same year, Kiewit and Skanska began a $1.3 billion project to raise the Bayonne Bridge, which also connects New Jersey to Staten Island, to allow larger ships to pass under it.

The company has also worked on several other structures in New York, including a $644 million contract to replace New York City’s Willis Avenue Bridge.

2015 revenue: Nearly $10 billion, according to the company
2015 profit: Not disclosed

SKANSKA

Sweden-based Skanska AB specializes in commercial, residential and transportation infrastructure projects in the United States and Europe. It has an extensive presence in New York, where it built the Oculus structure at the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub and has done rehabilitation work on the Times Square subway station, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, Triborough and Bayonne bridges.

Its two most notable projects in New York, however, are the Second Avenue Subway and the upcoming overhaul of LaGuardia Airport. Along with J.F. Shea Construction Inc. and Schiavone Construction Co., Skanska won a $337 million contract to complete the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, which is set to open this year. Skanska has won several additional contracts on the project as well.

More recently, as part of the LaGuardia Gateway Partners consortium, Skanska will spearhead the $4 billion effort to rebuild and connect the outdated terminals at the Queens airport. And looking ahead, the company is also in the running to win a bid to expand Penn Station, another major Cuomo initiative.

2015 revenue: $153.05 billion
2015 profit: $4.78 billion

TUTOR PERINI

Tutor Perini Corporation, which is based in California, recently won several contracts to complete the East Side Access project, which will connect the Long Island Rail Road directly to Grand Central Terminal. In January, the MTA awarded a $663 million contract for tunneling, as well as a $79 million contract to upgrade railroad infrastructure in Sunnyside, Queens.

The company, which also specializes in commercial buildings, also won a major contract to construct two buildings at the Hudson Yards development in Manhattan.

2015 revenue: $4.92 billion
2015 profit: $45.29 million

Share
|



Infrastructure: Hillary Clinton’s Big Idea and Best-Kept Secret

June 23rd, 2016

by Bill Ayres

Hillary Clinton talks about many important issues on the campaign trail including reforming the criminal justice system, immigration reform, providing affordable college education, raising the minimum wage, providing equal pay for women, protecting Social Security and Medicare and a whole host of foreign policy initiatives. All of these are worthy goals and she ought to push hard for their approval from the fractured Congress she may be facing no matter how well the Democrats do in the 2016 elections.

But what might be her one “Big Idea” that could secure bi-partisan support and make a major difference for our country now and in the future? For Barack Obama it was the Affordable Care Act which despite its limitations has provided health insurance for more than 16 million people who did not have it before. For Dwight Eisenhower it was massive interstate highways that are now more than 60 years old. For Hillary Clinton it could be her investment in America’s whole infrastructure, “Building Tomorrow’s Future Today”.

Most of this article is taken from her plan which you can read on her website but which is rarely discussed in the media or on campaign stops. It is admittedly not a politically sexy issue but it could be the one issue that would win bi-partisan support and be her legacy accomplishment.

Building Tomorrow’s Infrastructure Today

-It would increase federal infrastructure funding by $275 billion over five years.

-$250 billion would be direct public investment.

-$25 billion would go to a national infrastructure bank which would leverage the money to make an additional $250 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees and other forms of credit enhancement.

- The bank would also administer part of a renewed and expanded version of President Obama’s Build American Bonds program.

America’s Infrastructure Needs

-Roads and bridges: more than half of our highways are 45 years or older and almost one in four bridges are in need of repair. The average motorist spends almost $1,000 a year in extra fuel and countless hours because of heavy traffic and another $500 in repairs due to “potholes”. Consumers also pay more for food and other items due to higher shipping costs. This bill is long past due. The longer we delay the bigger and more difficult it gets. Failure to spend $1 in road repair now typically results in costs of $7 five years later. There are about 33,000 traffic fatalities each year and one third involve poor road conditions. Road repair saves money and more important, lives. REPAIR, REPAIR, REPAIR!

-Public transportation: ridership is growing each year and so are crowding and delays due to insufficient trains and buses and traffic jams at major hubs. INVEST, INVEST, INVEST!

-Freight investment: upgrades in the 25 most costly freight bottlenecks, starting with Chicago.

-Airports: the newest US airport is 20 years old and our best rated airport is ranked 30th in the world. This Clinton initiative will create several world class air hubs that also connect people to mass transit. It would also bring our air traffic control system into the 21st century.

-Internet access: President Obama has made this a priority. This initiative will commit to providing 100 percent of American households with affordable first class broadband access and connect public schools and libraries to high-speed broadband.

-Dams and levees: we have more than 84,000 dams and 1000,000 levees that protect us from floods, facilitate the movement of goods and generate electricity. This plan would provide funds to inspect and repair them.

The benefits to this investment are many, including between 2 and 3 million living wage jobs, cleaner water and air, an opportunity for advanced internet learning, up to date information for farmers and businesses, greater safety and efficiency on our roads and in the air AND borrowing at a time of low interest rates. Bernie Sanders has proposed a plan to invest a trillion dollars over five years and the American Society of Engineers estimate that it will cost 3.6 trillion by 2020 to catch up with infrastructure needs. Clinton’s plan will not do the whole job but it could be a viable compromise and first step on a long road to replenishing our vital infrastructure. She could call it REINVESTING IN AMERICA.

Secretary Clinton says she wants to work across the aisle with Republicans. This could be the one to break the political log jam in the Congress and bring our country together on something we all agree needs to be done.

OH! There is one thorny issue to be resolved. Secretary Clinton says she will pay for all this by “REFORMING BUSINESS TAXES”. Will she look to the big businesses that will benefit from this investment as well as bankers to pay more? Will they be willing to pay their fair share to invest in the country that has given them so much?

Share
|



Gov. Cuomo approves MTA’s $27B repair and upgrade plan

May 25th, 2016

by Dan Rivoli

The long wait for transit riders is over — the MTA’s $27 billion repair and upgrade program was finally approved in Albany, Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday.

The money covers everything from track and station repairs to new train cars and buses.

It includes big-ticket projects like the start of Second Ave. subway’s next phase into East Harlem, East Side Access for Long Island Rail Road and the replacement of the MetroCard.

“The MTA is the lifeblood of the New York metropolitan area’s transportation network and we must ensure it has the capacity to meet the travel demands of the next generation and fuel one of the largest economies on the globe,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By investing in the most robust transportation plan in state history, we are reimagining the MTA and ensuring a safer, more reliable and more resilient public transportation network for tomorrow.”

The capital plan is the MTA’s largest, but took months of political wrangling on a price tag and financing before approval at a time when the transit system is buckling under a large number of riders.

Cuomo has promised an $8.3 billion contribution to the plan in a deal with Mayor de Blasio, who will put $2.5 billion towards the MTA’s program.

The source of those funds has yet to be determined. But the MTA will have to exhaust its financial resources before the state and the city kick in its portion.

Share
|



RPA Unveils Preliminary Plan Proposals at Assembly

May 17th, 2016

Should the New York region make modest changes to the way transit systems are run, or overhaul them completely? How important is it to preserve existing neighborhoods when new housing is contemplated? And how will new technology such as self-driving cars alter the suburban landscape?

Policy makers, planners and other experts gathered at the RPA Assembly on May 6 to debate these issues and many others facing the metropolitan region. The debates were anchored by eight preliminary proposals of the Fourth Regional Plan, unveiled for the first time at the Assembly. The plan, due out in 2017 with many more recommendations, will be called A Region Transformed, RPA President Tom Wright announced at the event. The name reflects RPA’s belief that profound changes are needed to sustain and expand the region’s success.

RPA also was delighted to hear from three distinguished keynote speakers, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, all of whom underscored the need to invest for policy makers to work across borders and jurisdictions to make sure that the country’s infrastructure needs are met.

Read the full article: RPA