Although final recommendations from Governor Cuomo’s NYS 2100 Commission are expected to be formally released tomorrow, some details have begun to leak out. The implementation of “World Class Bus Rapid Transit,” the creation of a second tunnel under the Hudson River, and connections for Metro-North trains into Penn Station emerge from the transportation section–all ideas Tri-State has called for in the past and is pleased to see in the draft report.
The report also recognizes one of the most successful transportation stories to come out of Sandy: the 150 percent increase in cycling over the East River bridges in the days after the storm. As a result, the report recommends that the state fully deploy federal Transportation Alternatives funding to pedestrian and bicycle facilities, a call Tri-State had been making even before Sandy hit. The bump in cycling in the aftermath of Sandy would likely not have occurred if New York City DOT did not invest so heavily in safe cycling and walking infrastructure in recent years. This recommendation recognizes more needs to be done to ensure walking and cycling are even more viable transportation modes in the years to come.
None of these infrastructure improvements, however, will be made without the necessary funding. There are no specifics in the report about how transit infrastructure improvements will be financed, but it does outline some financing options including the establishment of a state infrastructure bank and the possibility of congestion charges and the use of value capture to fund improvements.