Mass transit is absolutely essential to our continued prosperity. Besides the obvious environmental benefits, mass transit reduces our reliance on imported oil. For air quality, for better land use decisions, for preservation of open space and wilderness, for national security . . . funding mass transit well pays back dividends to society many times over.
Subways, buses and commuter trains last year carried more riders than they have in decades - with Metro-North recording the highest annual tally in its 25-year history.
"Record ridership is a direct result of billions invested to make the system more reliable, modern and safer," Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Jeremy Soffin said. "We must continue to make these capital investments to encourage use of public transportation and to keep our region growing."
Mr. Spitzer, Mr. Bloomberg: fully fund the MTA capital plans. MTA Board of Governors: let's see some daring plans to build out our rail infrastructure to get more people out of their cars and onto mass transit. Here are a couple of ideas to get the ball rolling.
- Think regionally - MetroNorth and LIRR should partner up with NJ Transit for joint tickets, planning, etc. At some point, the PATH system should be merged with the NYC Transit system as well.
- A bold vision for the Second Avenue Subway - Propose a full SAS that extends from Co-op City in the Bronx, along the Brooklyn waterfront and under the Narrows to Staten Island. The Fifth Borough should at long last be integrated into the NYC subway system.
- Consider extending the 7 line under the Hudson River to our neighbors on the Jersey side.
- Expand service in Queens, and create a subway link to LaGuardia airport.