| Brian Conybeare |
Another major step forward is being taken on a new mass transit system for the New NY Bridge and the Hudson Valley. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the state is making a $20 million investment from the 2014-2015 state budget to support the implementation of the recommendations of the New NY Bridge Mass Transit Task Force (MTTF).
The 31-member panel was made up of local stakeholders including elected officials from Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties, along with transit advocates, professional planners and transportation experts.
The MTTF made multiple short-term recommendations including a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system to be in place when the new bridge is open in 2018. The new BRT system is projected to increase transit ridership by 10,150 people per day in the region and to reduce commuter travel times by 20 to 25 percent.
The clearly branded BRT system will include high-quality transit stations with passenger amenities such as, real-time bus arrival information, Wi-Fi at stations and on board, and protection from the weather. The system will target major residential, commercial and employment corridors and help commuters, shoppers and others get around Rockland and Westchester counties, and into New York City by using connections to Metro North rail service and local buses.
The state is also applying for a $26.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) matching grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide additional support for the BRT system and other MTTF recommendations.
“These innovative mass transit investments in Westchester and Rockland Counties will make the New NY Bridge an even greater asset for commuters in the region,” said Governor Cuomo. “We have moved this project forward at an extraordinary speed with an unprecedented level of community involvement, and I commend the MTTF members for recommending practical improvements to local transit options as we continue to build the new bridge that is so vital to our state’s infrastructure and economy.”
Brian Conybeare is the Special Advisor for the Tappan Zee (New NY Bridge) Project