FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES SECURING NEW YORK'S FUTURE 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, March 30, 2008
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Last week, one of the city's major businesses cast a $1 billion-plus vote of confidence in New York's future. That was real estate developer Tishman Speyer's bid for the right to build roughly 12 million square feet of homes, offices, stores, and open space - a whole brand-new community that will be 50 percent larger than Rockefeller Center - over the MTA rail yards on Manhattan's far West Side.
"Doing that will unlock the enormous potential of the long-dormant Hudson Yards district. It was an historic decision that shows that, regardless of the current economic downturn, New York City's long-term future is bright.
"Securing that future depends on making the key decisions now that will keep our economy strong and growing in the years to come. Developing the Hudson Yards area is a prime example. For decades, nearby residents have wanted the area to become a vibrant neighbor. And for decades, business and elected leaders have recognized that New York needs more modern Midtown office space for companies that are seeking to expand.
"Meeting those needs is why we began rezoning the Hudson Yards area nearly four years ago, and why we're also investing City dollars in extending the Number 7 subway into this district. The dramatic plans for building over the MTA rail yards -which will now be refined and finalized through a public review and approval procedure - are the next big milestone in this process.
"Another critical element in securing the city's future is modernizing and expanding our mass transit system. Today, people who travel to jobs in Manhattan from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island have the longest average commutes in the entire nation - and workers from the suburbs don't do very much better. Traffic congestion on our streets and highways drains $13 billion from our regional economy every year, and also fills our air with dangerous pollutants. And with our population set to grow to more than nine million people by the year 2030, unless we act to relieve traffic congestion now, those problems are only going to worsen.
"That's where our proposal to charge a congestion pricing fee for driving into the busiest parts of Manhattan during the busiest hours of the work week comes in. It would give drivers an economic incentive to leave their cars at home, while also funding improved mass transit. Business groups and organized labor, Democratic and Republican elected leaders, and newspapers Upstate, in the suburbs, and in the city all endorse congestion pricing that raises funds exclusively dedicated to mass transit.
"Last week, an independent public opinion poll found that two-thirds of New York City voters do, too. This groundswell of support gives me a lot of hope that City and State leaders will approve congestion pricing - and do so within the deadline for the City to receive more than $350 million in promised Federal transportation aid.
"Because of the economic slowdown, government has to reduce spending - and we ordered City agencies to start doing that months ago, when the first clouds appeared on the financial horizon. At the same time, we've also got to make the right choices that will help us grow our way out of the economic downturn. Last week's decision concerning Hudson Yards was definitely one of those right choices. And approving congestion pricing will be, too.
This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958