Transit advocates wonder what’s next after budget passes

New York State FY 2022 Budget

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Riders and transportation advocates watch as transit funding and ideas move through the budget process Wednesday. Largely satisfied with the project addressed in the budget, they’re looking forward.

They say that, for the most part, this year it was allocated as promised and designated. Reinvent Albany issued a statement saying the state budget restores $260 million in dedicated transit funds. Riders Alliance tweeted the next task is to protect public transit riders from hikes and service cuts.

Freeman Klopott is a spokesperson for New York State Division of the Budget. “The Budget fully funds transit systems statewide to help keep New Yorkers moving,” he wrote in a statement.

Legislators also moved to limit the scope of a plan for development at Penn Station and the surrounding neighborhoods.  It is an area of the city that has been rapidly evolving. Hudson Yards rises and Moynihan Train Hall is now open. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed ideas the past few years for the Empire Station Complex.

Felicia Park-Rogers is with Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “It’s 20th-century thinking. Don’t give us Penn Station redux,” she said at a media briefing along 7th Avenue on Wednesday.

Initial plans have suggested taller buildings and tearing down some older ones. More planning and public input is being requested. Any spending in this area must be only for transit-oriented items.

Cost will always be a factor. Brian Fritsch, with Regional Plan Association, says all stakeholders should be at the table. “The development could be a good funding source, especially with federal funding and others still up in the air,” he said. 

Daniel Briederman, with 34th Street Partnership, says the concept is necessary. “We are not suspicious of a plan that has been worked on for 15 years,” he said. 

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