FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG & STATE LEADERS MEET WITH US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Meeting Underscores July 16th Deadline as Bruno and Tedisco Express Albany Support
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, today met with Jeffrey Shane, the Undersecretary for Policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). During the meeting, which took place at USDOT headquarters in Washington D.C., the City and State leaders responded to questions about the grant application submitted by the City and State to USDOT approximately two weeks ago. USDOT has expressed concerns over whether or not congestion pricing will receive state legislative approval by the July 16th deadline in order to be eligible for up to $500 million in federal funding for mass transit improvements and to implement congestion pricing. Representatives of Governor Eliot Spitzer were also in attendance.
“The Federal Department of Transportation has given the City a deadline of July 16th for finalizing our application for these funds,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “If the Assembly acts by that time, the City stands to receive a generous once-in-a-generation infusion of federal dollars for transportation. However, if the Assembly fails to act, it will be bad news for New Yorkers—bad in the short-term and also bad for years to come.”
After the meeting, the Mayor released documents from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), indicating the location of 36 new bus routes that would be implemented if the Authority and City DOT were to receive the federal funding requested. The routes would all be located in areas currently underserved by public mass transit.
“We’ve said all along that we would make short-term mass transit improvements prior to implementing congestion pricing and the MTA has already worked to identify new bus routes that are part of our joint plan,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Additionally, over the next two decades, congestion pricing revenue will provide $30 billion to fund mass transit improvements throughout our region. No alternative plan does that, and no alternative plan will meet the USDOT’s guidelines to receive this $500 million in federal funds. We need to act now. Time is running out.”
Last December, Mayor Bloomberg challenged New Yorkers to generate ideas for achieving ten key goals for the City’s sustainable future. New Yorkers in all five boroughs responded, and the result was PlaNYC, 127 initiatives focusing on the five key dimensions of the City’s environment – land, air, water, energy and transportation. PlaNYC proposals run from the relatively easy to achieve, like the already-underway replacement of thousands of traditional incandescent light bulbs in City buildings with compact fluorescent lights, to proposals that have never before been tried by a major American city, like planting mollusks in polluted waterways to naturally clean them. Together, these initiatives will help meet the challenges faced by New York City as its population continues to grow, with an expected 1 million more people arriving between now and 2030, while at the same time reducing the City's greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.
Included in PlaNYC is a proposed pilot program to charge a fee to drive in the central business district in Manhattan. Revenue generated from the fee would be earmarked for much-needed transit improvements. More than $30 billion in regional transportation infrastructure improvements would be made possible through congestion pricing revenue.
In addition to the 140 environmental, health, civic, business and labor organizations that are supporting PlaNYC, a growing list of state and city lawmakers have expressed support for the plan. That list includes: Governor Eliot Spitzer; Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno; Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith; Congressman Joseph Crowley; Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum; Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion; State Senators Liz Krueger, Bill Perkins, Eric T. Schneiderman, and Jose Serrano Jr.; Assembly Members Karim Camara; Richard N. Gottfried; Brian Kavanagh; Linda Rosenthal; Jose Rivera; Michael Benedetto; Adriano Espaillat; Carl Heastie; Adam Clayton Powell Jr.; Naomi Rivera; Peter Rivera; and Minority Leader James Tedisco: Council Members Annabel Palmer; Gale A. Brewer; Simcha Felder; Daniel R. Garodnick; James Sanders Jr.; Larry B. Seabrook; Melissa Mark Viverito; David Yassky and Speaker Christine Quinn: Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano.
Stu Loeser/John Gallagher (212) 788-2958