Gov. Patterson Clearly Gets It

For many years, the mass transit riders of New York were led by a governor who did not understand or care to for that matter the need for proper funding of our transit infrastructure. This seemed to change when Elliot Spitzer took over but we all know how that ended. Thankfully his replacement, David Patterson clearly understands this & made it very clear during his first State of the State address yesterday.

The governor touched on many topics but for this entry I will focus on his feeling that it is vital that the state invests in its transit infrastructure. Here are his thoughts from yesterday’s address courtesy of the official site for the Governor of New York:

To build a brighter future, we need a smarter, better infrastructure. By making careful and prioritized infrastructure investments, we will create 21st century jobs by building a 21st century infrastructure that will allow our private sector to make its own 21st century investments. Our infrastructure efforts should be targeted so that businesses can invest with confidence – this is where we can create the foundation for economic progress for decades to come.

By investing in roads and bridges, in higher education institutions, in statewide broadband installation and the computerization of medical records, and in clean water and wastewater systems among other projects, we are providing the framework for future economic vitality.

We should complete signature projects all across our State including the Peace Bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Second Avenue Subway, and the East Side Access. And we should implement the Ravitch Commission recommendations to improve an essential piece of our infrastructure, the MTA.

Here is a brief sample of the governor’s talking points for economic development & revitalization:

o The Metropolitan Transit Authority has projected that its 2009 budget gap will be at least $1.2 billion. Governor Paterson will implement the recommendations of the Ravitch Commission to keep the MTA strong.

o Governor Paterson will continue to move forward on major infrastructure projects across New York, including the Second Avenue Subway, the East Side Access, the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Peace Bridge.

o He will also consider the recommendations of the Commission on State Asset Maximization. Governor Paterson is a strong proponent of partnering with the private sector to maximize public assets. The private sector can contribute expertise and much needed capital for existing asset classes, including transportation, higher education, K-12 education, energy, and surplus properties.

I must say it is refreshing to see a governor in power who understands the needs for strong investments into its state infrastructure especially mass transit. I am also glad that he once again put the onus on the state legislature to get something done. While I have been open about how I feel the Ravitch Commission proposals were an overall dud, they clearly are better than seeing the implementation of the “doomsday budget“.

Regardless of where one stands on the Ravitch Commission proposals, it is clear that something has to be done before the much talked about doomsday scenario becomes our daily nightmare. Will we be saved from doomsday? Stay tuned as we all go on the journey to find out!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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