Governor Cuomo announced investments in the state’s transportation infrastructure which will provide great benefits to commuters and tourists in the tri-state area. Included in these investments are upgrades to LaGuardia Airport, Farley Post Office/Penn Station, NYC’s Second Avenue Subway, and Long Island Railroad’s Third Track. These investments will be part of the $100+ billion spending on infrastructure and construction for New York State.
At LaGuardia Airport, major upgrades include a new airtrain that will connect directly to Penn Station, increasing ridership to the airport, which is slated to be completely rebuilt from the ground-up bringing it up to a 100% reliability, feasibility, and ridership satisfaction rating compared to the disappointing ratings consumers tend to give. Disaffected Penn Station users are also being addressed under the Cuomo Administration. The plans for the commuter hub include a gut-renovation of the Farley Post Office, creating the Penn Farley Complex, which will increase access and capacity and streamline transportation for Penn Station users. For those in the New York City and Long Island region that rely on the subway system and Long Island Railroad for their metropolitan area commute; Cuomo has assured the full funding and completion of the Second Avenue Subway Line – with a portion of it slated to open on December 31, 2016, as well as full funding of the Second and Third tracks to the Long Island Railroad.
Beyond these notable, big-name projects, there are major plans and transformations set out for the bridges and tunnels. Climate resiliency, congestion reduction, and emissions reductions will result from these new projects. The Governor’s plans address addressing growing issues of traffic congestion, flood-risk, and energy consumption in the state’s transportation sector, and is able to be funded and implemented now as part of the MTA’s Capital Plan.
A major tier of this plan is to perform a mass overhaul in the infrastructure around bridges in the New York City area. Infrastructure improvements include removing toll booths entirely and replace them with automatic tolling–cameras will scan EZ-Passes and license plates and mail bills to drivers without EZ-Pass. This will provide major benefits to the environment by reducing idling time for the tolling areas, which in turn reduces emissions and results in improved air quality surrounding the tollbooths.
Another main component is to install LED lights on bridges, which will also lower emissions by reducing the demand on the electricity consumption. Compared to the current outdated lighting systems, there is a projection of a 40-80% reduction.
The last tier of this plan is to prepare for 500-year floods, as the current flood barriers for 100-year floods do not provide enough protection and water abatement for the State. These new barriers will be state-of-the-art, and when necessary, will actually be able to seal off tunnels entirely during flood-inducing weather events.