July 24, 2015
Mayors call for immediate passage of robust long-term funding bill in letter to U.S. Senate & House leaders
Mayors highlight stark economic consequences of status quo, as infrastructure in NYC and across country lags behind
NEW YORK—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett led a bipartisan group of 104 U.S. mayors from across the nation in a letter to Senate and House leaders today, calling for the swift passage of legislation that will significantly increase transit, highway and safety program commitments to cities, and provide six years of funding certainty in the transportation reauthorization that is set to expire on July 31.
“This is not a partisan issue. Deficient bridges exist in red and blue districts all across this country. Many city and state leaders, Democrats and Republicans, are already stepping up and committing more local funds. However, without a strong federal partner, the twin demands of maintaining existing infrastructure and preparing for the future are beyond the means of any city,” the mayors stated in the letter.
The group of mayors, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and many other Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, noted that current federal commitments are insufficient to maintain, much less enhance, our nation’s transportation network. Public transit maintenance needs exceed $86 billion and the highway and bridge repair backlog is an estimated $808 billion. Since 2009, federal surface transportation commitments have remained stagnant.
In New York City, these vital funds are used to support road and bridge repairs, safety improvements, MTA subway and bus maintenance and improvements, bus rapid transit routes, the Staten Island Ferry system, and more. These investments are sorely needed: in New York City, over 160 bridges were built over a century ago; in New York State, 60 percent of roads are considered in poor or mediocre condition; and the subway signal system is largely over 50 years old.
The federal government's failure to invest would mean our infrastructure continues to lag behind, while new projects remain stalled.
“Shorter term transportation authorizations and patches create uncertainty and increase risk, further increasing project costs. We simply cannot afford continued extensions of the status quo,” the mayors wrote.
The full letter is available here.