Other world class cities do it better. We could too. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should be working together to plan for and operate transit on a regional basis. Arbitrary political borders should not stand in the way of coordinating for the reality of the natural metropolitan area.
The dangers of competition between governors, of course, can come into play even when they’re ostensibly working together. This much is gruesomely clear from the ongoing “Bridgegate” scandal currently engulfing the administration of Chris Christie and his appointees to the famously fractious bistate Port Authority—a worst-case scenario involving appointees making parochial political decisions with no loyalty to the entity and no sense of responsibility for the overall regional mission. Regional entities, if poorly conceived, hurt more than they help.But imagine if it were done right, and the systems were unified in a way that created a shared incentive among the states, and which discouraged parochialism and political maneuvering.The benefits wouldn’t just accrue to people traveling to special events, or to the odd souls who have regular occasion to travel straight from New Brunswick to Rye. Cohesive regional transit would be of significant benefit to the New York area, and to most everyone who depends on public transportation to get around it. The effect would be particularly noticeable to anyone who ever travels, in any direction, through Penn Station.
It's been a while since I wrote about this topic. We can do so much better.