Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of the city’s congressional delegation are urging congressional leaders to prevent a potential $80 million annual cut to transit in New York City.
In a letter obtained by the Observer, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and the 12 representatives, including Republican Daniel Donovan, said the current highway bill being negotiated in Washington could lead to further subway delays and increase the amount of time commuters spend in traffic.
“America’s metropolitan areas are the population and job centers that drive our nation’s economic growth and as such, the demands on our transportation system are enormous,” the elected officials wrote. “We urge you to increase funding for dense urban transit systems and metropolitan areas in the final bill to ensure they continue to help our nation thrive.”
The letter is addressed to the pair of Republicans and Democrats who sit atop the Environmental and Public Works Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House and Senate. Both chambers are in Republican control and predominately Democratic urban areas are finding it harder than ever to wring funding out of Washington.
Progress is being made on the highway bill, however. The House and Senate are hoping to hash out an agreement ahead of a November 20 deadline for renewing federal road funding that is currently set to expire on that date. Both chambers have passed bills that would guarantee at least three years of highway and transit spending, but only if Congress can come up with a way to pay for the final three years.
Mr. de Blasio, fresh off tussling with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over how to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s nearly $30 billion capital plan, is hoping for an extra $100 million for New York City. The cash could pay for the resurfacing of 400 lane miles, pedestrian safety improvements at approximately 50 schools, replacing a Staten Island Ferry vessel, or helping to maintain the city’s 789 bridges, according to a de Blasio spokeswoman.
View the full letter below: