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Resiliency Plans will Protect Riders from the Climate Crisis- Capital Program Committee Testimony

Good afternoon! I’m Kara Gurl, Planning and Advocacy Manager at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC).

This past earth day and every day, transit is the sustainable way to get around the region. That means investing in transit infrastructure with capital dollars—like those that will come from congestion pricing, which will make the region even more sustainable by getting drivers out of cars and onto transit! We’re thrilled to finally have a start date and can’t wait for June 30th.

As we face more frequent severe weather and climate-related storms, making the system more resilient needs to be a top priority. We’ve all seen how torrential downpours, coastal flooding, and extreme heat can impact our century-old infrastructure, and we can’t wait any longer to make meaningful improvements to protect our transit system.

For years, we’ve called on the MTA to create a forward-looking plan for addressing the climate crisis. We’re thrilled that has come to fruition with the Climate Resilience Roadmap released last week, including climate mitigation strategies, resiliency upgrades, goals to reduce flooding and stormwater around the MTA region, challenges, and more. Seemingly small changes like raising the top steps leading into subway stations or covering vents can make all the difference to keep water and floods from infiltrating the system.

The twenty-year needs assessment laid out the many critical projects that need to get done to keep our transit in a state of good repair, and that will take funding—we’re looking forward to working together with elected leaders and our partners in advocacy to ensure that the MTA goes into its next capital program on solid financial footing, including congestion pricing.

With the right investment, we can ensure that future generations can benefit from the transit we depend on today. As we embark on another hurricane season, we hope to see strong coordination between the city, state, and MTA when the inevitable storm does come. Thank you.