For immediate release:
January 14, 2011
Veronica Vanterpool, Kate Slevin
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
(212) 268-7474, (917) 833-9259
Statement on Nomination of Joan McDonald as NY State DOT Commissioner
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign welcomes the nomination of Joan McDonald as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. Since 2008, NYSDOT has lacked a commitment to progressive transportation policy and this choice marks a new era for the stagnant agency. Ms. McDonald showed a clear commitment to promoting an economic investment strategy focused on transit oriented and smart growth development while Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. We expect Ms. McDonald’s solid experience to guide the way towards a more progressive transportation agenda and to further promote Governor Cuomo’s sustainability goals. The transportation needs of New York are great. Strong leadership and vision is needed to help the state recover from its economic woes and improve its deteriorating infrastructure.
Upon taking office, we urge Ms. McDonald to focus on implementing the recently signed Smart Growth Infrastructure bill. We also offer the following initial recommendations as she assumes leadership of NYSDOT:
- Ensure that sustainability programs that connect land use and transportation – such as NYSDOT’s GreenLITES and PennDOT’s Smart Transportation program – become the norm for project selection rather than independent programs. Ensure the vast majority of transportation resources are directed to towns working toward smart growth visions;
- Report to Gov. Cuomo, the State Legislature, and the public quarterly on performance measures including road, bridge and transit conditions, vehicle miles traveled, greenhouse gas emissions, and road safety. A good model is the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Gray Notebook, which is easy to read and available online;
- Redo the state’s street design criteria using NYC Department of Transportation’s Street Design Manual and the Institute for Transportation Engineers and the Congress for the New Urbanism’s manual, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares, as models.
- Take control of NYSDOT regional offices to ensure that a cohesive transportation vision is being implemented. The eleven regional offices of NYSDOT function with their own institutional culture and policy focus. Streamlining these offices and ensuring they are following the direction of headquarters in Albany is critical to realizing a 21st century transportation policy across the state.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.