Category Archives: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Lear Jet In Trouble Over NJ Lands Safely At Stewart Airport

Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice

A Lear jet that had problems with the nose landing gear diverted safely from New Jersey to Stewart Airport in Orange County late Thursday morning, authorities said.

The troubled jet landed just before noon at the public/military airport nearly 57 miles north of Teterboro, the Port Authority’s Joseph Pentangelo told Daily Voice.

Hasbrouck Heights firefighters and Port Authority responders were at Teterboro Airport as the jet, with five people aboard, began circling to burn off fuel around 10:30 a.m., Pentangelo said.

The decision was made soon after to head to Stewart, where, as pilot Joseph Bar-Nadav explained, “the runways are at least twice as long as the ones at Teterboro and would make landing an aircraft with gear issues much safer.

“The long runways afford the pilot lots of room to get low and slow and then gently land on the runway surface without landing gear and leave enough room to slide as long as it needs,” Bar-Nadav said.

Many officials in New York State Government have joined in proposing a Hyperloop between Stewart Airport and New York City. Any questions on Stewart Hyperloop, Contact Ken Kinlock

Advertisements

Regional Plan Association rail overhaul dead without Gateway Project

https://www.lohud.com/news/

The Regional Plan Association’s massive overhaul plan of the area’s commuter rail system is stillborn without the $13 billion Gateway Project, the organization says.

The ambitious plan that would provide Rockland a one-seat ride in Manhattan and the same from White Plains to downtown Brooklyn was one of the most notable recommendations in the RPA’s latest regional plan. Much of the first phase counts on Gateway’s new rail infrastructure, new Hudson River tunnel and existing tunnel rehabilitation.

But federal funding for that project is now in doubt. And without that money, the outlook is grim.

“It doesn’t happen,” RPA Senior Vice President and Chief Planner Chris Jones said in an editorial board meeting with the Journal News/lohud Thursday morning.

‘The Plan Is Not Set In Stone…but It’s a Good Plan,’ the City Said of L Train Shutdown Mitigation

Bushwick Daily

The MTA hosted the first of four open forums on the L train shutdown Wednesday night at a high school in East Williamsburg, addressing the public’s questions and concerns about that nasty L train shutdown in the not-so-distant future.

While the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA released a mitigation plan last December, “the plan is not yet set in stone…but it’s a good plan,” NYC Transit president Andy Byford said in a statement recorded by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

MTA’s mitigation strategy breaks down (no pun intended) into three categories: subway service, the Williamsburg Bridge, and street design. But it won’t be easy, according to officials.

“Closing it [L train] down for 15 months is going to be very difficult,” said Carolyn B. Maloney, the New York congresswoman who reps Williamsburg and parts of Manhattan’s East Side.

As she stood beside Byford on Wednesday, Maloney touted the success of the new Second Avenue Subway as an example of the good things MTA can do, saying that while construction was “painful,” it is now “the best subway in the whole country.”

“Modern, airy, quiet, art — you name it,” the congresswoman said. “And we want the L train to be even better.”

Three more forums will be held through this month and next, giving the public a chance to learn more about the city’s plan for the April 2019 shutdown that will inconvenience around 225,000 riders.

MTA Chairman Says Pilot Program Transit Pass For LIRR, Subway & Bus Riders Coming Soon

cbslocal.com

The MTA promises a combined LIRR-MetroCard ticket for Southeast Queens commuters is coming soon.

The long-awaited transit pass will allow riders to buy one-way, weekly or monthly passes for both the LIRR and the city’s bus and subway systems.

People commuting from southeast Queens were expecting to get the passes last fall, but the pilot was delayed by the summer subway melt down.

At a budget hearing in Albany on Thursday, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota promised the pilot program is imminent.

“We are working on it as we speak. We’re very, very close,” he said. “I fully expect it to happen this year and my expectation, when I say this year, don’t think about it as the end of the year. It could happen relatively soon.”

The ticket would be sold at several LIRR stations including Atlantic Terminal, East New York, Nostrand Avenue, Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans and Locust Manor.

The MTA’s hope is commuters seeking to save time and money will tap into underutilized, but more expensive LIRR service.

Local lawmakers pushing for the ticket predict it could save as many as 10 hours of commuting time per week.

HELP! “Virgin Hyperloop One”, NY City Needs A HYPERLOOP

Special Guest Editorial by KEN KINLOCK

Yes, NY CITY needs a HYPERLOOP to reach Stewart International Airport. Not a long Hyperloop: only 6O+ miles.

Stewart International Airport is outside the City on the West bank of the Hudson River. It is the “4th New York City Airport”. In the Winter it is less likely to shut for snow or ice.


It has absolutely the longest runways in town…as seen by an A380 landing in a snow storm recently.

But once a plane lands, what do you do with the passengers? Send them to downtown New York on a Short Line bus? Get them across the river and load them on a Metro-North train in Beacon? Send them through New Jersey Transit rail? The “correct” answer is build a HYPERLOOP right to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. They can go anywhere in the City from there.

So what do I know about Hyperloop? I helped design one in 2016 for Hyperloop One between Louisville, Kentucky and Gary, Indiana (then to Chicago on the South Shore Railroad).

What do I know about building airports? Nothing! So I turned to industry experts and read what they wrote.

Max Hirsh (PhD, Harvard) is a professor at the University of Hong Kong and a leading expert on airports, migration, and transport infrastructure. He is the author of Airport Urbanism: an unprecedented study of air travel and global migration patterns that incorporates the perspective of passengers, airport designers, and aviation executives.

Steve Carden
Technology & Innovation Leader, PA Consulting Group. Author of “Hyperloop’s Role In Greening The Transportation Grid”.

The bottom line is you need more than a Diet Coke machine and a little shop that sells tchotchkes.

Cuomo Pushes for NYC Funding for Subway Repairs, Congestion Pricing

The Observer

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing pressure on New York City to fund its half of the short-term plan to fix the city’s subway system and has included his long-anticipated congestion pricing proposal in the latest state budget.

At his fiscal year 2019 executive budget address on Tuesday afternoon, Cuomo discussed the subway action plan unveiled by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota in July. Lhota has proposed that the state and the city split the cost of the $836 million short-term plan to fund subway repairs.

The governor said the state will provide $254 million in operating aid to fully fund its half of the cost using $194 million in previously unallocated monetary settlements and the accelerated transfer of Payroll Mobility Tax revenue to the MTA by eliminating the need for the $60 million annual appropriation. The financial plan also includes $175 million in new capital funding for the MTA.

“We’ve said it should be split 50/50 New York State/New York City,” he said. “We have funded it 50 percent. New York City needs to fund it 50 percent. That’s the short-term.”

This week, he plans to present his congestion pricing proposal: the long-awaited report by the “Fix NYC” panel Cuomo convened to advise the state on proposals to create a dedicated funding stream to mass transit and reduce traffic on city streets.

The report will address defining a geographic “pricing zone,” installing technology around the zone and coming up with fees and hours. The report, Cuomo said, suggests flexible and variable options and prices for different hours and for yellow cars, black cars, green cars, Uber, Lyft, trucks and passenger cars.

“My point is it has to be fair to all people in all industries,” Cuomo continued. “You have yellow cars, now black cars, green cars, blue cars, purple cars—they all have to be treated the same. I don’t want anyone saying they had a competitive advantage or this advantage because we put a surcharge on one versus the other.”

He noted the state currently collects and doles out the Payroll Mobility Tax to the MTA. The executive budget proposes changing the state law so the revenue is directly appropriated to the agency.

“For the MTA, currently the state collects what’s called a Payroll Mobility Tax, which is $1.6 billion,” the governor added. “We would change the law so the MTA collects that tax itself, it now has a dedicated funding stream, it can securitize it, it can get a better credit rating from it, it can finance the installation of the Fix New York City Technology, the Penn renovation, etc.”

De Blasio, for his part, told NY1’s Errol Louis he agreed with Cuomo’s approach to handling President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan signed into law before Christmas—an approach that includes suing the Trump administration. But he expressed disagreement with Cuomo’s approach to dealing with the MTA.

“I disagree on its face with some of the assumptions in his budget address when it comes to the MTA,” he said. “The state of New York took $456 million of the MTA’s budget. They need to put that money back.”

And he maintained his proposed millionaires tax on wealthy New Yorkers to fund subway repairs and reduced subway fares for low-income New Yorkers is the best way to solve the long-term issues afflicting the city’s subway system.

He maintained that well-off people, including in states like New York, will do better because of Trump’s tax plan and that others may “do less well.” But he argued that even if millionaires and billionaires do “about the same or a little worse,” they still pay “so much less than they should” in terms of their share of taxes.

“Remember when [there] was the high water mark of taxing millionaires and billionaires in this country?” de Blasio continued. “During the Dwight Eisenhower administration. And by the way, that was one of the times when the economy was inclusive and functional. So any way you slice it, the millionaires and billionaires of this state can afford to pay more. It’s the best and most reliable way to fund the MTA going forward.”

As to the news of Cuomo inching closer to unveiling his congestion pricing proposal and what impact it has on his own plan to tackle congestion in the city, de Blasio said he is “beginning to see something” and wants to analyze the plan once it is fully presented.

“What I’ve said is look, ‘I’ll look at any plan and certainly one to reduce congestion in the city, but I wanna make sure it’s fair,’” he added. “Some of the proposals we’ve seen in the past, I think, were not fair, were not balanced in terms of the economic impact they’d have on different people, and particularly on people from Brooklyn and Queens. I’ll look at anything.”

He insisted it does not threaten the validity of his millionaires tax proposal because the city will need a “substantial amount of reliable resources to fix the MTA.”

“I think the ways we address congestion take many forms, including some of the things that we’re talking about,” the mayor said. “For example, banning truck deliveries in certain routes during rush hour so you don’t have a ton of doubled parked trucks right where people are trying to go at the most sensitive time of the day. So we’re going to look at different pieces of what the governor’s put forward, but we’re going to keep working to reduce congestion with our own tools as well.”

Andy Byford, MTA’s head of subways, buses, reports for 1st day on the job

The MTA’s new head of subways and buses promised to shake things up at the beleaguered transit agency as he began his first day on the job Tuesday.

Andy Byford, the MTA’s recently hired transit president, said he would give equal focus to four key pillars of his job — subway, bus, paratransit and employee morale — during a brief interview with reporters that touched on the agency’s ancient subway infrastructure; funding and cost reforms; 24-hour train service and the politics at play as subway delays soar and bus ridership plummets.

“I’ve certainly not come here to hold the fort or to maintain the status quo. My job is to drive up the level of service and thereby customer satisfaction for all New Yorkers,” Byford told reporters awaiting him outside MTA headquarters at the Bowling Green subway station.

The former CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission, who has never owned a car, rode into work just after 7 a.m. on a downtown 4 train from Grand Central. He said he plans to rely on subways and buses to get to work each day. He had prepared for a “packed” first day of meetings with his new colleagues and higher ups, including his boss Veronique Hakim, the MTA’s managing director, and Phil Eng, the agency’s COO.

Byford, a UK native who began his transit career as a station foreman in the London Underground, said his first priority on the subways is to “maximize the capability” of the MTA’s current signal system, which relies on technology dating back nearly a century, and improve maintenance of the MTA’s fleet of trains.

“The short term is getting the existing system to work reliably,” Byford said. “Doors typically are the Achilles’ heel of trains — particularly aging trains. You’ve got to maintain your doors, you’ve got to maintain your signal equipment.”

Upgrading the MTA’s signals will allow the agency to add more trains to lines throughout the day because trains could run tighter together. The MTA in the past has estimated that such an endeavor would cost tens of billions of dollars and take nearly a half-century. Round-the-clock service — in some form — might have to be sacrificed, Byford said.

“You cannot upgrade signals effectively … unless you give crews access to the track and that does mean that we will have to find a way of doing that,” Byford said. “I do appreciate that this is a 24/7 city. New Yorkers rightfully hold the (24-hour) subway dear to their hearts. But equally, they expect me to provide more reliable service. If we’re to do that, there is no gain without some pain.”

While Byford said there will need to be a larger investment in the MTA to turn around service, he also admitted that costs are unusually high. Building out the first leg of the second Avenue subway was the most expensive subway project on Earth at $4.5 billion.

“We should be looking to be as efficient as possible in everything that we do so that we can maximize scarce tax dollars,” Byford said.

The MTA, which is effectively controlled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, has experienced a roughly 200 percent increase in subway delays since 2012. While ridership on the rails has begun to plateau and drop, bus ridership has declined much faster, dropping 100 million passenger trips over the past eight years. Meanwhile, Cuomo has tried to pass some responsibility of the subways to the city and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Both the mayor and the governor have agreed that the MTA needs more funding, though each has their own dueling proposals.

Byford said that he hopes he’s “allowed the time and the space to do what I need to do.” Over the past 10 years, Transit presidents have typically stayed on the job for a little over two years, on average.

“At the end of the day the MTA is a state-run authority,” Byford said. “So it’s the governor’s prerogative to have a view. I think it would be perverse if the governor wasn’t interested in transit or in the subway because, at the end of the day, he’s an elected official and I think all elected officials should be concerned about making sure this city’s transit system runs effectively.”

As Byford trekked downtown, trains were still running smoothly in the early hours of the morning rush. He used a word to describe his commute that not many New Yorkers would associate with the subway: “flawless.”

But, just about an hour after he entered MTA headquarters, the MTA reported delays or service changes on B, D, 2, 3, 6 and 7 trains and the morning commute looked more familiar.

Manhattan Gridlock: Plan to Relieve It & Impact On Transit Debt

Bumper-to bumper, horn-honking traffic through Manhattan streets is about as New York as bagels and Broadway. A plan to ease that problem is tapping into another mainstay of city life: high driving tolls.

The idea, called “congestion pricing,” involves using electronic tolling technology to charge fees to vehicles entering the most heavily trafficked parts of town during certain hours.

Some big cities already do it, including Singapore, Stockholm and London, where it can cost more than $15 to drive into the city center during peak periods.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed it for New York a decade ago and got a firm rejection from lawmakers who said drivers headed into Manhattan already get slammed enough by bridge and highway tolls and high parking fees.

But with the city’s subway system deteriorating, and politicians looking for ways to pay for a fix, the concept has gotten new life.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who said last summer that “congestion pricing” is an idea whose time has come, could unveil a plan to implement a system as early as next week. A spokesman for the governor said a committee, called FixNY, is finalizing recommendations.

Alex Matthiessen, director of the MoveNY campaign — the most vocal advocate for congestion pricing — says New York would become the first city in the United States to charge drivers under such a system, but said others like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles are paying close attention.

“We have a full-blown crisis,” Matthiessen said. “Our subway system is severely underfunded; it is quite unreliable, there are delays and overcrowding and the situation is potentially dangerous. No other idea has the twin benefit of also tackling a very severe traffic problem.”

There are still plenty of roadblocks.

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he likes the idea of getting cars off the street but isn’t convinced high tolls is the way to do it.

“I think there are serious fairness issues when it comes to congestion pricing,” he said at a recent news conference, citing the financial burden on drivers who can’t afford tolls as easily as the many millionaires who call Manhattan home. De Blasio has said he prefers dealing with the subway’s financial problems by imposing higher income taxes on the rich.

Key details, like how much it might cost, or where, exactly, drivers might get hit with the tolls have yet to be unveiled. Bloomberg’s plan would have charged $8 to drive south of 60th Street, or roughly the southern end of Central Park.

Adam Glassman, a Lynbrook, Long Island-based attorney, spoke in midtown Manhattan before getting into his car to go home.

“It is impossible to get into the city,” said Glassman, who is familiar with Bloomberg’s proposed plan years ago. He commutes into Manhattan twice a week.

He’s in favor of possible tolls. “I’d be willing to suck it up.”

Although no specific congestion pricing plan has been formally announced, many agree that any system would be likely to create surcharges for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. That’s OK with Uber, which is behind a public relations campaign backing congestion pricing.

“Users of Manhattan’s congested roads should bear part of the cost of helping to reduce congestion and improve our public transit system,” said Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. “Everyone should pay their fair share to keep New York City moving forward.”

Brooklyn state Assemblyman William Colton, a Democrat, said any proposals that would create tolls across bridges into Manhattan that are currently free, or a system that would ping drivers in areas like Times Square south through Greenwich Village and into the Wall Street business district, would be seen as an unfair tax by his constituents.

“This is going to have a negative effect on working people, small business people and seniors who have medical appointments in Manhattan,” Colton said. “This is going to be a big problem. I don’t know the details, but I’m very leery.”

Commuter Joe Murphy said he would be “absolutely opposed to it.”

He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and already pays for the George Washington Bridge, where tolls range from $10.50 to $15 a car, plus a midtown Manhattan parking garage. His half-hour, pre-rush hour commute is the fastest and easiest option for him; using public transportation would triple his commuting time.

“Just to get to work, the cost of parking and tolls and everything is just astronomical,” he said.

Extension of #1 Line ‘Wishful Thinking’

Tribeca Trib

The extension of the NYC Transit #1 subway line from the Rector Street station to Red Hook for $3.5 billion (a tunnel and three new stations) as proposed in 2016 by Senior VP of AECOM Engineering firm Chris Ward and now supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2018 State of the State speech is wishful thinking.

This subway extension would support a proposed Red Hook economic development project. It would be similar in size and scope to Battery City Park in Manhattan. Was this $3.5 billion figure written on the back of a napkin?

Cuomo wants the MTA to conduct and pay for a planning feasibility study. There would still be the need for environmental documents or preliminary design and engineering followed by final design and engineering efforts and identification of billions for construction funding.

All of the above is necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs.

Given the narrow streets and dense development, who could find a staging area for mobilization of contractor employees, equipment and materials to support construction? Imagine trying to assemble a tunnel boring machine at Rector Street adjacent to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. What about removal of debris once excavation begins? Hundreds of trucks needed on a daily basis to remove rock and soil would be challenging.

It cost $4.5 billion for Phase 1 Second Avenue subway (36 blocks & 3 stations) & $2.4 billion (18 blocks & 1 station) for #7 Hudson Yards subway extension. Neither required a multi-billion tunnel under the East River. Construction of new subway stations average between $500 million up to $1 billion, depending upon location and complexity of work. All three new subway stations would require compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). This includes expensive elevators and other features.

Is there a political quid pro quo in the form of campaign donations between developers, construction contractors and unions who support this project and Cuomo?

Metro-North to operate on reduced weekday schedule Friday

Metro-North service is working to get back on a normal schedule after the storm Friday.

The rail line will be operating on a reduced weekday schedule Friday with some combined and cancelled trains.

For today, (Fri., Jan. 5) Metro-North is operating a reduced weekday schedule with some combined and cancelled trains due to the impact of the winter storm. See http://web.mta.info/supplemental/mnr/mnr_weather_info.html ….

Metro-North is still trying to recover from Thursday’s storm. They’re also concerned about Friday’s extremely low temperatures and the impact on infrastructure.

For a current timetable and a list of cancelled and combined trains, click here.