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MTA Capital Program Committee Meeting Testimony- 20 Year Needs is Road Map Towards More Resilient, Equitable Transit

Good morning. I’m Jack Connors, Research and Communications Associate at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.

There’s a lot to be excited about in the 20 Year Needs Assessment released earlier this month. We appreciate the continued focus on resiliency and bringing us closer to the elusive state-of-good-repair while charting a course towards some of the most ambitious system expansions we have seen since the MTA’s inception. We hope to see a robust public input process so that riders can weigh in on the projects that matter most to them.

We’re also happy to see the MTA recognizing the need to adapt our system to changing travel and commute patterns. As the Needs Assessment discusses, 70% of new jobs created in New York City by 2045 are projected to be outside of Manhattan. This makes it more important than ever to build high-quality radial connections between our subway lines and expand coverage into transit deserts. Proposals like Utica Avenue BRT, Staten Island North Shore BRT, the Second Avenue Subway West Extension, Ridgewood Busway, and of course IBX— do just that.

New clean construction methods provide the opportunity to rebuild and expand our transit infrastructure, which we know is crucial to meeting the goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, while lowering the embodied carbon it takes to get there. We’ll be keeping a close eye on pilot projects such as that on the RFK bridge, which are using innovative methods for carbon sequestration.

As we await more news about which of these projects will make it in the next the Capital Program, now is the time to unify the MTA network by ensuring OMNY is installed thoughtfully and effectively systemwide. Just last week we noticed an OMNY machine installed across the street at Bowling Green.  We hope that soon, riders will be able to use OMNY when they transfer between the LIRR and Metro-North at Grand Central— and soon, at Penn Station, thanks to Penn Access. Now is the time for thoughtful conversations on how to best implement a rational and equitable fare structure. By enabling through-ticketing between railroads and expanding transfer options with OMNY, we can ensure these systems are truly integrated. 

Thank you.