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Posts from the "TA Election Interviews" Category

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Mayoral Contenders Talk Transit, Part 5: Scott Stringer

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Image: Borough President's Office

Election Day is more than a year away, but the race to become the next mayor of New York City is well-underway. In the last two issues of its magazine, Reclaim, Transportation Alternatives has been asking the would-be mayors for their thoughts on transit (in the more recent interviews, one question about cycling was added). So far, TA has received responses from all of the major candidates except 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson.

All this week, Streetsblog will be re-printing the candidates’ responses. Here are the answers TA received from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Q: What role does a well-funded public transit system play in New York City’s economic growth?

A: Simply put, the public transit network enables the City to be the world’s financial center, a magnet for tech startups, a global leader in culture and art, and a place that people of all backgrounds can call home. During the “bad old days” of the 1970s, subways broke down once every 7,000 miles. Today, after the City, State, and MTA committed to investing over $100 billion for capital improvements to the system, subways break down once every 170,000 miles. It’s no surprise that the rebirth of the subway system—both its reliability and its safety— went hand in hand with the economic boom of the City.

Q: What would you do as mayor to address transit deserts, which are locations where riders are faced with hour-plus commutes, multiple transfers or multi-fare rides?

A: The fact is that there is no single solution to the problem of transit deserts. Some possible solutions include transforming the dilapidated North Shore Rail Line to BRT or light rail, expanding bus rapid transit to Nostrand Avenue and other crowded corridors and examining the potential for expanded ferry service. No matter what the proposed solutions, one thing is certain: these deserts disproportionately affect working class New Yorkers, and working class New Yorkers need a true advocate in the Mayor’s office. That starts with a Mayor who prioritizes public transit.

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Mayoral Contenders Talk Transit, Part 4: Christine Quinn

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Photo: Wikimedia

Election Day is more than a year away, but the race to become the next mayor of New York City is well-underway. In the last two issues of its magazine, Reclaim, Transportation Alternatives has been asking the would-be mayors for their thoughts on transit (in the more recent interviews, one question about cycling was added). So far, TA has received responses from all of the major candidates except 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson.

All this week, Streetsblog will be re-printing the candidates’ responses. Here are the answers TA received from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Q: What role does a well-funded public transit system play in New York City’s economic growth?

A: Investing in our transportation system must be a central part of any plan to grow our city’s economy. We want residents and businesses to be able to make long-term decisions based on the belief that our transit system is dependable and will continue to improve. Often a lack of transportation is one of the biggest obstacles for businesses looking to expand in a particular community and create jobs for working families. That’s why the Council’s efforts to expand the city’s booming tech industry from DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Downtown Brooklyn have focused in large part on increasing transit links between all three areas.

It’s also one of the reasons I worked with the Mayor to launch the East River Ferry last year, which currently serves 10,000 commuters a week. The East River Ferry has helped bring additional development to the Queens and Brooklyn waterfront, and business owners are already reporting an increase in economic activity. And just as importantly, we need to ensure that New Yorkers—no matter where they live—can commute to work or school in a timely fashion. This provides residents the opportunity to devote more time to their families and communities.

Q: What would you do as mayor to address transit deserts, which are locations where riders are faced with hour-plus commutes, multiple transfers or multi-fare rides?

A: When I meet with New Yorkers in communities around the city, one of the most common issues they raise is long commute times and lack of access to transportation. I believe New York City and the MTA need to continue to invest in infrastructure projects in underserved communities, to make our transit system more equitable. But we also need to aggressively pursue more immediate solutions. That’s why I support the expansion of Express Bus and Select Bus Service in all five boroughs—two ways we can quickly speed commute times for many New Yorkers. Ferries are another way we can shorten transit times without major construction, and the City Council has been leading the charge to expand ferry service to waterfront neighborhoods in all five boroughs.

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Mayoral Contenders Talk Transit, Part 3: John Liu

Comptroller John Liu. Photo: DelMundo for Daily News

Election Day is more than a year away, but the race to become the next mayor of New York City is well-underway. In the last two issues of its magazine, Reclaim, Transportation Alternatives has been asking the would-be mayors for their thoughts on transit (in the more recent interviews, one question about cycling was added). So far, TA has received responses from all of the major candidates except 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson.

All this week, Streetsblog will be re-printing the candidates’ responses. Here are the answers TA received from Comptroller John Liu.

Q: What role does a well-funded public transit system play in New York City’s economic growth?

A: Public transit is paramount to New York City’s economy. More than half of NYC’s commuters rely on our network of subways, trains, buses and ferries to get to work (subways are the mode of choice for more than a third of commuters to NYC). New York City’s transit, especially its subways are a defining characteristic of our city and transit is an efficient use of resources – economically and environmentally. Transit makes our dense business districts and neighborhoods possible and adds to the diversity and vibrancy of the city.

New York City’s population is growing and along with it ridership levels on our transit systems. In fact, MTA’s average weekday ridership in 2011 was the highest since 1951. Growing ridership on our transit system requires that we ensure adequate resources to keep up with that demand. Time lost in congestion is counter-productive for our economy, but is also frustrating to commuters and residents. It is essential that we ensure that transit is funded, and managed in a way that keeps the city and its economy moving.

Q: What would you do as mayor to address transit deserts, which are locations where riders are faced with hour-plus commutes, multiple transfers or multi-fare rides?

A: The next Mayor, whoever that may be, will need to address this issue. Last year, the Center for an Urban Future released a report that demonstrated that a large part of the city’s job growth and population gains have occurred outside of Manhattan. This de-centralized growth pattern has translated into longer commutes for low-income workers. Around the world, and recently in NYC, transit authorities have been using buses as a cost-effective way to close gaps in transit service. Expanding Select Bus Service where appropriate and bringing additional bus service to growing job and population centers can be an effective way to address transit deserts.

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Mayoral Contenders Talk Transit, Part 2: Bill de Blasio

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Image: Office of the Public Advocate

Election Day is more than a year away, but the race to become the next mayor of New York City is well-underway. In the last two issues of its magazine, Reclaim, Transportation Alternatives has been asking the would-be mayors for their thoughts on transit (in the more recent interviews, one question about cycling was added). So far, TA has received responses from all of the major candidates except 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson.

All this week, Streetsblog will be re-printing the candidates’ responses. Here are the answers TA received from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Q: What role does a well-funded public transit system play in New York City’s economic growth?

A: Public transit is an economic pillar . It’s what connects workers with employers and customers with businesses. And it’s one of the reasons New York is so resilient even in hard economic times. The transit system drives down the costs of transportation for everyone, helping New Yorkers of all income levels have access to jobs and opportunity in every part of the city.

Q: What would you do as mayor to address transit deserts, which are locations where riders are faced with hour-plus commutes, multiple transfers or multi-fare rides?

A: We’ll need to rely heavily on improving bus service—which already reaches many of these areas—to reduce the long travel times so many New Yorkers face. The introduction of real-time bus tracking or offboard fare collection presents promising tools here. We need to recognize that the increase in economic activity that comes with giving more New Yorkers access to the transit system can help make these expansions viable and cost-effective in the long-term.

Q: When transit fares go up on 1/1/13, it will be the fifth fare hike since 2008. Do you think transit riders are paying their fair share, and is it time for elected officials to seriously consider new sources of revenue for public transit?

A: I’m concerned that built-in, guaranteed fare increases put too much pressure on working families. Raising the cost of transit is akin to raising the cost of working. Going back to the fare box over and over creates a bad mentality for those making the budgets—it becomes about what they can get out of the transit system, instead of how to ensure the service we need is adequately funded.

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Mayoral Contenders Talk Transit, Part 1: Tom Allon

Mayoral candidate and publishing exec Tom Allon. Photo: Tom Allon for Mayor

Election Day is more than a year away, but the race to become the next mayor of New York City is well-underway. In the last two issues of its magazine, Reclaim, Transportation Alternatives has been asking the would-be mayors for their thoughts on transit (in the more recent interviews, one question about cycling was added). So far, TA has received responses from all of the major candidates except 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson.

All this week, Streetsblog will be re-printing the candidates’ responses. Here are the answers TA received from Manhattan Media CEO and alphabetical frontrunner Tom Allon.

Q: What role does a well-funded public transit system play in New York City’s economic growth?

A: A well-funded transit system and well thought out alternative transit system is crucial to the city’s economic growth. We need to provide affordable and efficient mass transit for workers so that we can continue to attract immigrants and others from within the U.S. to come here to become New York taxpayers. We also need to push new ideas like more bike lanes, light rail and rapid transit bus routes, as well as more taxi medallions, to provide for the diverse needs of a growing population.

Q: What would you do as mayor to address transit deserts, which are locations where riders are faced with hour-plus commutes, multiple transfers or multi-fare rides?

A: We need to help those areas with rapid transit bus, bike share programs and cabs-on-call to help those in transit deserts. We also need to come up with cost discounts for those with multi-fare rides so that they can live in the city and afford to work here rather than move to the suburbs for easier commutes and lower taxes.

Q: When transit fares go up on 1/1/13, it will be the fifth fare hike since 2008. Do you think transit riders are paying their fair share, and is it time for elected officials to seriously consider new sources of revenue for public transit?

A: We are not getting our fair share. The costs of subway and bus rides has far outpaced inflation and has made our city less livable. The MTA has assets that it can use to raise other revenues—from land leasing to advertising opportunities to naming rights of subway stations and bus stops. We need to think creatively how to raise revenues while at the same time trying to figure out a way to lower fares.