FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES STEPS TOWARDS IMPROVING NEW YORK CITY'S AIR QUALITY IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, June 3, 2007
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Six weeks ago, we unveiled PlaNYC, a long-term sustainability plan for New York City. One of the key goals of that plan is to achieve the cleanest air of any big city in America by the year 2030. Improving air quality is important to all New Yorkers because in many parts of our city, air pollution is contributing to an increased rate of asthma-related hospitalizations. In fact, in areas like the South Bronx, parts of Brooklyn, and Northern Manhattan - children are hospitalized for asthma at four times the national rate.
"This shouldn't be. Every child in this city deserves a healthy start in life and increasingly, New York leaders are supporting the goals of PlaNYC to make sure our kids get a healthy start. Last week, we took two important steps forward.
"First, we committed $3.5 million to help New Yorkers living in the neighborhood with the highest rate of asthma hospitalizations in the city - East Harlem. Working in collaboration with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, we will establish an East Harlem Asthma Center with the goal of decreasing asthma-related hospitalizations by 50% by the year 2010. To meet this objective, the Asthma Center will help train medical providers and asthma counselors, educate families about asthma triggers, and provide a walk-in service for people who are interested in being screened for asthma or who need referrals for asthma-related healthcare.
"Helping New Yorkers to control their asthma will go a long way towards reducing hospitalizations. But to really make a difference over the long term, we have to improve air quality. Last week, we took another big step towards cleaner air when we began moving forward with our plan to reopen the marine transfer station on the Gansevoort Peninsula at West 12th Street.
"Opening a recycling transfer station on the Gansevoort Peninsula would, for example, cut a total of 30,000 miles a year in truck trips. It would also free up the 59th Street marine transfer station to deal with commercial waste that is currently being trucked to the Bronx and Brooklyn - bringing us closer to our goal of having each borough take care of its own trash and recyclables. Activating the Gansevoort marine transfer station is not a local, neighborhood issue; it's a citywide issue and will require approval from the State Legislature. We urge the State to respect the City's wishes and pass the necessary legislation. Working together with Council Speaker Christine Quinn and others, we will work hard to convince our leaders in Albany to do the right thing.
"Achieving the cleanest air of any big city in America is not going to be easy, but we're taking every possible step to meet that goal. For instance, our plan to make our taxi fleet fully hybrid by the year 2012 will make a big difference. And so will reducing auto congestion and pollution by instituting a congestion pricing fee, something we're also working to convince our partners in Albany to support. I understand people's reluctance on congestion pricing. At first, I was skeptical too. But the truth is - we're already paying the price of congestion in poor air quality, wasted time, and lost economic activity. We can't let that continue. That's why leaders from every part of New York are getting behind our congestion pricing plan - from State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith in Queens, to Council Member David Yassky in Brooklyn, to Borough President Scott Stringer and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried in Manhattan, to Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito who represents parts of Manhattan and the Bronx. Even national environmental leaders like Al Gore are supporting it. Working together, we must do everything possible to create a greener, greater New York for all our city's children.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address