Transit referendum good for Downtown and beyond
By Scott Stringer
Years of neglecting to fund and fix our arteries of travel; our roads,bridges, subways, and trains, have left the infrastructure of New York in critical condition. On Election Day, we can take a vital step to make repairs and provide for our transportation needs in the 21st century.
Proposal 2 on the November ballot, the Transportation Bond Act, will deliver $2.9 billion over five years for major improvements to our roads, bridges and public transportation. Now, more than ever, we are in desperate need of financial aid for our infrastructure.
For Lower Manhattan, the stakes are particularly high. The act includes funds to further explore and study a proposed rail link making it possible to travel directly from Lower Manhattan to J.F.K. Airport. The need for repairs in the Downtown subways has never been more urgent. Since 9/11 we have come to fully understand the importance of making Downtown accessible in order for it to thrive. By making improvements to subways, buses, streets, and by building new travel options like the rail link to J.F.K., we will ensure the continued vibrancy of Lower Manhattan.
The act will be good for all of us in Manhattan. $23.2 million would go to renovate the West Side Highway, $30 million would be put in place to implement an advanced transportation management system on the F.D.R. and the West Side Highway, which will provide both vastly improved traffic operations and increase safety; $115 million for the purchase of new subway and rail cars; $90 million for new buses; and $161 million for track replacement work and tunnel lighting.
The proposal is more than about fixing our modes of transportation. It means jobs, over 120,000 of them statewide. It means expanding our transportation options, with investments in the Second Ave. Subway and the Lower Manhattan J.F.K. rail link. It means planning for the future, by rehabilitating, renovating and restoring cri ical pieces of our transportation system that are in disarray.
The dangers of failing to act now are real. That is why all 21 members of the New York State Congressional delegation support the measure, along with Senators Schumer and Clinton, state Attorney General Spitzer, labor unions and environmental groups have joined in the chorus of support for Proposal 2.
Let us not squander this opportunity. For too long, we have let our system languish. Now is the time to make real investments into our transportation system, to ensure that it can meet the demands of the next century. I urge you to join the large statewide coalition and support the Transportation Bond Act and vote yes on Proposal 2 on November 8th.
Scott Stringer represents the state Assemblys 67th District on the Upper West Side and is the Democratic nominee to be Manhattan borough president.