New York, NY – State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) urged her constituents today to vote yes on Proposition #2 on the November 8th ballot, saying the funds raised by the Transportation Bond Act will be crucial to moving forward on the long-overdue Second Avenue subway line. "Eighty-five years after the blueprints for the Second Avenue subway line were first drawn up, and sixty-five years after the last significant additions were made to the subway system, we simply can't afford to pass up a chance to make the Second Avenue subway a reality," said Senator Krueger. "The Second Avenue subway line will relieve dangerous congestion, serve residents who currently endure long walks to the subway, and promote economic growth along the entire East Side, from Harlem to Lower Manhattan."
If approved, the Transportation Bond Act would authorize the state to borrow $2.9 billion for transportation and road projects. That money would be evenly split between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for improvements to mass transit and the State Department of Transportation for road and highway projects. Of the MTA's $1.45 billion share, $1 billion would be allocated for expansion projects: $450 million for the Second Avenue subway, $450 million for East Side Access to link the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Station, and $100 million for a rail link from the Lower East Side to JFK International Airport.
While the act has been criticized for increasing the state's debt burden, Senator Krueger countered that the MTA projects are a critical investment in the future. "The Second Avenue subway alone would ultimately create up to 156,000 jobs and generate $1.26 billion a year in economic activity. The proper purpose for state borrowing is for large capital projects, with public participation,” remarked Senator Krueger. “This is a prime example of positive government investment."
Additionally, failure to pass the Transportation Bond Act would jeopardize $4 billion in federal funds for MTA projects. Senator Krueger stated, "Missing out on federal funds would be a grave mistake. The need for a new subway line won't go away. The Lexington Avenue line is already the most overcrowded in the nation, and with massive development projects on the East Side bringing tens of thousands of workers to the area, congestion will only get worse."
Senator Krueger also supported the Transportation Bond Act for including provisions that address environmental protections as the city's infrastructure expands. Along with funds for subway construction, the proposal would allot $90 million for the city to purchase new local and express buses, with all the express buses being clean-fuel powered.
Passage of Proposition #2 is supported by a wide array of public officials including Governor George Pataki, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayoral Candidate Fernando Ferrer, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Senate Minority David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Among the many labor, environmental, business and civic organizations supporting the Transportation Bond Act are the AFL-CIO, the National Resources Defense Council, the New York Building Congress and the Regional Planning Association.
"It's not often that I get to agree with Majority Leader Bruno, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki on an issue that will benefit underserved New Yorkers, grow the economy and protect the environment, so I'm pleased that they see the wisdom in supporting this issue," concluded Senator Krueger.