Skoufis, Rozic Announce Passage of State Transportation Plan Legislation
Requires DOT to put forward a 20-year state transportation plan with updates every five years
Albany, NY State Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) announced the passage of legislation (A4880/S1673) they authored that would require the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a 20 year State Transportation Plan with updates every five years in line with current MTA Capital Plans. The legislation also ensures that the plan is maintained on a public website to ensure transparency. The bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Senator James Skoufis said, This bill is essential and has been for far too long. Assemblywoman Rozic and I introduced this legislation to hold the Department of Transportation accountable to a 20-year plan and ensure that the public has transparent access to the plan's progression. New Yorkers deserve reliable transportation infrastructure and I'm confident that this bill will help ensure taxpayers are getting their fair share of services.
New York taxpayers deserve an accountable capital planning process of their state transportation and infrastructure dollars, said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. Without details, our ability to participate in decisions about spending on state roads, bridges as well as bus and rail infrastructure is significantly curtailed. This legislation would ensure the transparency that the public deserves.
Both the public and the Legislature have a vested interest in decisions regarding improvements to our states transportation infrastructure, said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. This legislation will ensure that the states tax dollars are being used thoughtfully and responsibly by bringing transparency and accountability to the process.
Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign said: We are glad to see the Legislature move our states transportation planning in a more transparent direction. Its long past time that the states transportation plan includes a capital plan that shows the allocation of public funds and a transparency component so that New Yorkers can actively participate in the planning process. Thank you to Assembly Member Rozic, Senator Skoufis, and the Legislature for passing this amendment, which sends a clear message that the state is serious about a real, long term plan to improve our transportation infrastructure."
Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, The transportation sector is the #1 contributor to climate change in New York. As we plan for capital projects into the future, we must fold in ways to encourage alternative, less polluting forms of transportation, including pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. By passing Senator Skoufis and Assemblymember Rozic's legislation to require a transparent, forward-looking transportation plan, New York is leading the way on sustainable transportation and reducing emissions.
"Multi-year capital plans are important for transportation planning because they provide public accountability and clarity as to how public dollars will be spent. New York State's largest public authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is statutorily required to produce a 5-year capital program detailing a list of infrastructure and capital projects it plans to complete. This process allows for public input, and ultimately results in a plan that the public can use to hold the MTA accountable. There is no reason why New York State's Department of Transportation, which oversees transportation projects all over New York State, shouldn't do the same," said Jaqi Cohen, Campaign Coordinator of NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.
Unlike the MTA, the State DOT is not statutorily required to submit a capital plan. Although a Memorandum of Understanding was approved in 2009, there is not currently a publically reviewable 5-year or 20-year capital plan for DOT. Historically, the DOT and MTA 5-year capital plans have been negotiated and approved simultaneously; recently, that process has differed.