For immediate release:
Statement from Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign:
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign agrees with Governor Cuomo that the Tappan Zee Bridge must be replaced and that transportation investment is an excellent way to create jobs. But without the bus rapid transit component of the project, commuters will continue to be stuck in traffic. In state transportation studies, the bus rapid transit had the highest suburban to suburban ridership and thus would do the most to get people out of their cars. If transit isn’t added now, we worry it never will be.This raises concerns that the state may be missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions and create a transit backbone for future development in the Hudson Valley.
Study after study has shown that transit projects create and support more jobs than road projects. For example, researchers from the University of Misssouri-St. Louis found that each billion dollars invested in transit creates 36,108 jobs, while the same amount spent on road projects creates 30,319 jobs. In other words, if job creation is the goal, transit should be included.
There is a lesson to be learned from the George Washington Bridge. That bridge was supposed to handle transit service but due to considerable pressure to build the bridge, the project was “tiered”and the road portion went ahead first. Obviously, the transit was never completed. (Read more on TSTC's website: http://blog.tstc.org/2008/02/12/a-warning-from-the-past-on-hudson-river-crossings/)
Postponing the bus rapid transit option also goes against the facts and findings of a decade-long study process. Since 2002, hundreds of residents, civic leaders, and local elected officials have worked together to develop a list of alternatives for a bridge replacement. There has consistently been support for transit to be included as part of the project, which is why all five options currently being studied in the state environmental review (except the “No Build” alternative) include transit. None of those alternatives studied by the State Department of Transportation included a bridge replacement without a transit component. The alternatives can be found here: http://www.tzbsite.com/alternatives/alternatives-index.html.
We strongly urge the Governor to commit to pursuing the bus rapid transit component at the same time as the bridge replacement.
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.