A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in Tri-State transportation news.
Senators Schumer, Lautenberg and Menendez and Representatives McGovern, King and Grimm – Senator Schumer (D-NY) and Representative McGovern (D-MA) fought for restored parity between transit commuters and those who drive to work — and won. Through the end of 2013, and maybe retroactively to 2012, transit riders will enjoy the same monthly $240 pre-tax benefit enjoyed by motorists (up from $125). Part of the agreement to avert the “fiscal cliff,” the measure had support from four other tri-state area leaders: Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Representatives Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Peter King (R-NY).
The MTA – The Authority released a real-time train arrival app for iPhones and iPads last week. The appropriately named Subway Time app tells riders how long it will be until the next train arrives at any of the 156 stations on subway lines 1 – 6 and the 42nd Street Shuttle.
Rochester and Albany – It’s no secret that New York City has become an increasingly bicycle friendly community, but two other New York municipalities earned recognition from the League of American Bicyclists in 2012: Rochester was named a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community, and Albany received an honorable mention.
US House leadership – GOP House leadership surprised even their own Republican colleagues — especially New York Representatives Peter King and Michael Grimm — on Tuesday night when they pulled the plug on the vote for a disaster aid bill that would have provided $27 billion to the states impacted by Hurricane Sandy, including $10.8 billion to rebuild the region’s transit network. Now Congress will have to start discussions again from scratch Thursday when the 113th Congress convenes.
New York City Economic Development Corporation – The waterfront mega-project – yes, the one with the ferris wheel – planned for the transit-rich St. George neighborhood of Staten Island is moving forward, albeit with a few changes brought about by Sandy’s flooding. One thing that’s not changing, however, is the EDC’s plan to include 2,200 parking spaces in the development, which will generate more vehicle traffic and detract from improving the cycling and pedestrian environment in the area.