One learns a great deal about what Majority Leader and Senior NY Senator Charles Schumer said or did not say about the benefits of his proposed $1.1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill. This includes $39 billion funding for public transit and $66 billion for rail over five years. Schumer has proudly boasted how this funding will support the $11 billion Gateway Tunnel (a new tunnel under the Hudson River providing additional capacity for Amtrak and NJ Transit access to Penn Station). It also will help the $6.9 billion MTA NYC Transit $6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase Two (by providing a three stop extension on Manhattan East Side from 96th to 125th Street).
Omitted by Schumer was any reference for the $10 billion Port Authority 42nd Street Bus Terminal. Only $3.5 of the estimated $10 billion cost is approved within the 2016 – 2026 Port Authority Capital Plan. The Port Authority is counting on future federal assistance to make up the shortfall. This would take the form of a Federal Transit Administration New Starts or Core Capacity Full Funding Grant Agreement. You have to wonder why Senators Corey Booker and Bob Menendez haven’t convinced Schumer to publicly support this project. It would benefit tens of thousands of New Jersey commuters along with thousands of New York reverse commuters.
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2.).