From the August 5, 2005 print edition
In our July 22 issue, we had a story full of warnings about the condition of New York's roads and highways.
For all the detours and $90 million in area roadwork in a typical summer season, New York has not done enough to keep up with the need for road improvements.
"Roads are deteriorating at a more rapid pace than they are being repaired," Charles A. Stokes, senior vice president of Callanan Industries Inc. of Colonie was quoted by reporter Robin Wood.
Less than a week after the story appeared in The Business Review, commuter traffic across the Dunn Memorial Bridge was diverted after a joint on the highway ramp leading to the Empire State Plaza gave way.
In four months New Yorkers will have an opportuny to decide on a $2.9 billion bond issue proposal to fund highway, bridge and mass-transit projects.
New York has some of the oldest transportation infrastructure in the nation. Business is highly dependent on the highways and bridges. In many businesses, the trucking industry has replaced the warehouse for inventory control. If New York is to remain competitive, especially with southern and western states, it is absolutely essential that the safety and reliability of its highways and bridges are without doubt.
� 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
This bill did pass New York vote Nov 8, 2005. It doesn't address any major corridor development in eastern Upstate New York though.
GOVERNOR PATAKI DELIVERS MAJOR ADDRESS SUPPORTING $2.9B �REBUILD AND RENEW NEW YORK� TRANSPORTATION BOND ACT
Highlights Vast Improvements to New York�s Infrastructure During Past 10 Years Says Bond Act Will Enhance Our Transportation Network, Create Thousands of Jobs, and Help Reduce Dependence on Gasoline
Governor George E. Pataki today, in an address to the New York Building Congress, pledged his strong support the $2.9 billion Rebuild and Renew New York Transportation Bond Act of 2005. The bond act measure, also known as �Proposition 2,� will be put before voters on Election Day, November 8th.
The Governor said that the Transportation Bond Act will build on these achievements by fueling critical improvements to New York�s transportation infrastructure, creating thousands of jobs, and promoting smart economic growth and energy conservation.
�The last decade has been one of tremendous growth and progress in the State and City of New York,� Governor Pataki said. �Together we kicked the futile tax and spend policies of the past to the curb and ushered in a new era of tax cuts and austerity, and ultimately of prosperity and growth. As the new century dawned, we were in the midst of a construction boom the likes of which hadn�t been seen since the 1960�s. And once again New York is on the rise.�
�Right now all New Yorkers can play a role in ensuring that New York has the transportation system it needs to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. And that is why I am strongly supporting the Rebuild and Renew -- New York Transportation Bond Act of 2005,� the Governor said.
�The Bond Act is a comprehensive and fiscally responsible plan that will fuel critical improvements to New York�s transportation infrastructure, create thousands of construction jobs, and promote both smart economic growth and energy conservation.�
The Transportation Bond Act is part of a five-year, $35.9 billion transportation capital program that the Governor and the Legislature agreed to in July. The plan includes $17.96 billion for the State Department of Transportation (DOT) and $17.99 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
This multi-billion dollar capital plan will support the largest highway and bridge construction program in the state�s history. It includes nearly $1.14 billion to help support the largest DOT highway and bridge capital construction program, with capital investments growing from $1.75 billion in 2005 to $2.158 billion by 2010.
New York�s roads and bridges, transit systems, freight and passenger rail network, airports, canals, and port facilities would all receive significant investment under the Bond Act.
The MTA will receive $1.45 billion from the bond act -- $450 million for core MTA infrastructure improvements and $1 billion for new system expansion projects in the New York metropolitan area.
This includes: $450 million for the construction of a Second Avenue Subway; $450 million for east side access; and critical funding for the Lower Manhattan- JFK rail link.
These New York City-based investments will also benefit manufacturers, suppliers, and subcontractors from all across the State, including Upstate, as rail cars, buses, parts and components can be built in places like Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Yonkers and Long Island.
It will also support the continued conversion of State Route 17 into Interstate 86 across the Southern Tier; construction of U.S. Route 219 in Western New York; border crossing improvements in Northern and Western New York; construction of a four-lane connector linking Interstate 81 and Ft. Drum; capital improvements to the Cross Westchester Expressway and interchange improvements on the Van Wyck Expressway.
Additionally, the Bond Act will help secure more than $5.1 billion in federal transportation aid during the next five years -- $4 billion in federal transit aid for the MTA�s East Side Access and 2nd Avenue subway, and $1.1 billion in federal highway aid.
The Governor also noted that the Bond Act dedicates a significant amount of funding for projects designed to help reduce our dependence on gasoline and diesel fuel. For example, more than 60 percent of the Bond Act projects support energy-efficient mass transportation, encourage the movement of freight by rail, and mitigate fuel-wasting highway congestion. Capital Program investments, when fully implemented, will save motorists more than 17 million gallons of fuel annually.
�Reducing oil consumption is critical to New York�s ability to compete in the global marketplace, but make no mistake about it -- it is also critical to the security of our nation,� the Governor said. �It is no secret that many of the nations responsible for harboring and encouraging the terrorists who would attack America are getting rich on the oil they sell to America. This must stop.�
The Rebuild and Renew New York Transportation Bond Act of 2005 has been endorsed by many major trade, labor, business, environmental, and consumer organizations, including the NYS AFL-CIO, Transit Workers Union � Local 100, New York Building Congress, General Contractors Association of New York, the Construction Industry Council of the Hudson Valley, Environmental Defense, New York League of Conservation Voters, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, Empire State Transportation Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, New York State Motor Truck Association, the Regional Plan Association, the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association, and the American Planning Association of New York Metro Chapter.
Other organizations supporting the Bond Act include: the Long Island Association, the New York State Society of Engineers, the Orange County Citizens Foundation, the New York State Road Improvement Coalition, the Long Island Contractors Association, the New York State Laborers, the American Council of Engineering Companies, the New York State Transportation and Engineering Alliance, the New York City District Council of Carpenters, the Empire State Regional Council of Carpenters, New York Public Interest Research Group�s Straphangers Campaign, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the Associated General Contractors of New York State, and the New York State Operating Engineers, and the NYS Economic Development Council. ###
More than half of traffic deaths -- 52 percent -- in the United States between 1999 and 2003 happened on rural, non-Interstate roads and highways, according to a study released Thursday by The Road Information Program. Traffic on these roads accounted for only 28 percent of travel.
In 2003, there were 2.72 deaths per 100 million miles traveled on non-Interstate rural roads compared with .99 deaths per 100 million miles on all other roads.
"Rural drivers are being put at an unacceptable risk because many of these roads lack desirable safety features," said Frank Moretti, research and policy director of the private transportation research group.
Narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, pavement drop-offs and roadside hazards such as trees and utility poles, are dangerous for drivers.
The majority of rural traffic accidents happen when motorists leave their lane and either strike something off the road, or collide with a car traveling in the opposite direction, the study said.
The study reported an average of 22,127 traffic fatalities each year on rural, non-Interstate roads between 1999 and 2003; in that same period, there was an average of 42,301 people killed each year in traffic accidents on all roads.
From 1990 to 2003, the fatality rate on roads other than non-Interstate rural routes decreased by 32 percent.
Moretti said money for road safety projects is badly needed to make rural roads safer.
Congress is currently working on reauthorizing a new long-term federal surface transportation program, which may increase funding available for safety improvements. The current program expires at the end of May.
The study also found:
I can't answer these questions. I do know that statistically, deaths are decreased up to 73% from dividing the traffic, and cost-benefit analysis that was done by the Department of Transportation put a price tag of $3 million dollars on one's life.
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