The Amalgamated Transit Union recently sent a letter to Assemblyman Robert Castelli encouraging him to push for bus rapid transit and across the Interstate 287 corridor as part of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, Tri-State Transportation Campaign reports in a blog post.
The union, which nation’s largest with 190,000 members, would like transit included in the state’s $2.9 billion federal loan application, stating that it will create and support more sustainable jobs than those simply from road and bridge construction.
As you know, Tri-State has been a fierce advocate for calling on the state to make BRT part of the bridge project.
“Not all transportation infrastructure investments are equal,” Sam Handler of Tri-State writes. “According to a 2011 Smart Growth America report, ‘investments in public transportation generate 31% more jobs per dollar than new construction of roads and bridges.’ Public transportation jobs also stick around, long after the construction is over. Under the current bridge replacement plan, which does not include a firm enough commitment to transit in the I-287 corridor, the Tappan Zee’s anticipated 2017 ribbon cutting would also be the end of the line for tens of thousands of workers. Adding transit to the corridor would provide well-paying jobs that could sustain Lower Hudson Valley families into the next century.”
The state has said adding transit is too costly, saying it could easily add another $5 billion to the price tag, and would add years to the project.
But with federal approval of the new bridge now complete and a contract award weeks away, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to create a regional transit task force to study the east-west transit options for Rockland and Westchester.
Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White has already asked to serve on the panel.
There’s no doubt that Tri-State and Amalgamated Transit Union officials will be paying close attention.
Photo is an example of BRT bus that could travel across the new Tappan Zee Bridge one day.