79 New York City Execs Tell House to Kill Anti-Transit Bill

New York City companies know their employees depend on transit to get to work. At rush hour, Grand Central is packed with transit riders. Photo: Corey Wise/Lonely Planet.

The hits keep coming against the Republican House of Representatives’ radical transportation bill, especially its unprecedented attack on dedicated transit funding. In New York, the region’s Congress member — of both parties — and editorial boards have now been joined by that most traditional GOP constituency: big business.

In a letter sent to the House leadership today, 79 New York City business leaders called on Congress to start over on the transportation legislation, especially the anti-transit provisions. “If the terms of H.R. 7 were adopted by Congress, it would significantly damage the economies of many of our nation’s most important commercial centers,” they wrote. They point to not only the elimination of gas tax revenue for transit, but also a smaller clause that would make it harder for New York City’s system to get funding for bus projects.

Many of these business leaders represent global corporations that depend on New York City’s transit system to get their employees to work in midtown or downtown Manhattan. During rush hour, 80 percent of all commuters headed into Manhattan’s central business district take transit. On the letter are CEOs from firms like Citigroup, Viacom, American Express, Jet Blue, McGraw-Hill, Aetna and Loews.

The full letter, with its signatories, is below:

February 13, 2012

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Eric Cantor
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
H-329, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
House Minority Whip
U.S. House of Representatives
H-148, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, House Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Whip Hoyer,

As major employers and job creators in America, we are writing to request your reconsideration of H.R. 7, a bill that fundamentally changes the terms of transportation funding for America’s metropolitan centers. If enacted, H.R. 7 would result in irreparable damage to the transportation infrastructure of New York and America’s other great cities. Its provisions reverse a cost-sharing formula for mass transit and urban infrastructure that was put in place during the administration of President Ronald Reagan – a formula that has served the nation well. For example, it would eliminate funding for New York’s bus system, which is critical to an integrated regional subway and rail network.

We request that the House take H.R. 7 back to committee and replace it with a bill that would keep transit funding in the Highway Trust Fund at current funding levels. If the terms of H.R. 7 were adopted by Congress, it would significantly damage the economies of many of our nation’s most important commercial centers.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express Company
Co-Chair, Partnership for New York City

Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman, President & CEO, Macy’s, Inc.
Co-Chair, Partnership for New York City

Lee S. Ainslie, III, Managing Partner, Maverick Capital
Donald R. Allman, President & CEO, Titan
David Barger, President & CEO, JetBlue Airways Corporation
Candace K. Beinecke, Chair, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Vice Chairman & CEO, Hearst Corporation
Stephen Berger, Chairman, Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC
Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, CEO & President, Aetna Inc.
William H. Berkman, Managing Partner, Associated Partners, LP
Kathy Bloomgarden, Chief Executive Officer, Ruder Finn, Inc.
Marianne C. Brown, President & CEO, Omgeo, LLC
Kevin Burke, Chairman, President & CEO, Con Edison
Russell L. Carson, Co-Founder and General Partner, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe
Philippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.
Todd C. DeGarmo, Chief Executive Officer, STUDIOS Architecture
Barry Diller, Chairman & Senior Executive, IAC
Daniel L. Doctoroff, President & CEO, Bloomberg L.P.
Douglas Durst, Co-President, Durst Organization Inc.
Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Senior Partner, Ehrenkranz & Ehrenkranz LLP
Winston C. Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers
Alan H. Fishman, Chairman, Ladder Capital Finance LLC
Russell P. Fradin, Chief Executive Officer, SunGard
Paul Fribourg, Chairman & CEO, Continental Grain Company
Carl Galioto, Senior Principal, HOK, Inc.
Barry M. Gosin, Chief Executive Officer, Newmark Knight Frank
Jonathan N. Grayer, President & CEO, Weld North LLC
Robert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer, The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.
Steve Holliday, Chief Executive Officer, National Grid
Stephen R. Howe, Jr., Americas Area Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
Frederick J. Iseman, Chairman & CEO, CI Capital Partners LLC
Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman & CEO, Lazard Ltd
Jill Kaplan, Publisher, Crain’s New York Business
Brad S. Karp, Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
George S. Kaufman, Chairman, Kaufman Organization
Anthony S. Kendall, Chief Executive Officer, Mitchell & Titus, LLP
David P. Kirchhoff, President & CEO, Weight Watchers International, Inc.
Henry R. Kravis, Co-Chairman & Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.
Rochelle B. Lazarus, Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
Martin Lipton, Senior Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Peter L. Malkin, Senior Partner & Chairman, Malkin Holdings, LLC
Donald B. Marron, Chairman & CEO, Lightyear Capital
Peter W. May, President & COO, Trian Partners
Charles R. McCall, CEO, Astoria Energy II LLC &, Astoria Energy LLC
Harold McGraw, III, Chairman, President & CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies
Edward J. Minskoff, President, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.
Mitchell Modell, Chief Executive Officer, Modell’s Sporting Goods
Kenneth D. Moelis, Chief Executive Officer, Moelis & Company Holdings LP
Thomas J. Moran, Chairman, President & CEO, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company
Joshua L. Muss, President, Muss Development Company
Duncan L. Niederauer, Chief Executive Officer, NYSE Euronext
Vikram S. Pandit, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup Inc.
Peter Riguardi, President, New York Region, Jones Lang LaSalle
James D. Robinson, III, Co-Founder & General Partner, RRE Ventures
Stephen M. Ross, Chairman & CEO, The Related Companies, L.P.
Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Chairman & CEO, WL Ross & Co. LLC
Michael I. Roth, Chairman & CEO, Interpublic Group
Steven Roth, Chairman, Vornado Realty Trust
Howard J. Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Associates, Inc.
Steven Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
Mitchell E. Rudin, President & CEO, U.S. Commercial Operations, Brookfield Properties
Corporation
William C. Rudin, CEO and Vice Chairman, Rudin Management Company, Inc.
Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and CEO, Gilt Groupe
Alan D. Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners, LLC
Frank J. Sciame, Chairman & CEO, F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.
Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman & Co-CEO, Tishman Speyer
Stuart Match Suna, President, Silvercup Studios
Mary Ann Tighe, Chief Executive Officer, NY Tri-State Region, CB Richard Ellis
James S. Tisch, President & CEO, Loews Corporation
Edward D. Turen, Chairman and CEO, Control Equity Group
Mark L. Wagar, President & CEO, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
Rohan Weerasinghe, Senior Partner, Shearman & Sterling
Charles Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer, EisnerAmper LLP
Marcia S. Wilson, President, Daffy’s
Deborah C. Wright, Chairman & CEO, Carver Bancorp Inc.
Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City
Strauss Zelnick, Chief Executive Officer, ZelnickMedia Corporation
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report and
Chairman & Publisher of the New York Daily News