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admin 11.11.2015

Governor Andrew Cuomo claims that a bus rapid transit system would cost $5 billion to build.
At the beginning of the week, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a media offensive to defend his decision to halt all work on building new transit infrastructure across the Tappan Zee Bridge. But according to recently released state documents reviewed by Streetsblog, Cuomo’s claim is false.
The newly available documents, which date from late 2010 and early 2011, were first obtained by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. A state document emphasizes that climbing lanes like this are for trucks and cars, not transit. But a document from May 2011, before the Cuomo administration canceled the transit components of the Tappan Zee project, makes clear that those totals include enormous sums dedicated to highway improvements along I-287, not transit [PDF]. The Cuomo administration has justified including billions of dollars in highway spending in its BRT cost estimates by arguing that they are necessary to build the bus system. Exactly what those billions of dollars of highway improvements include is difficult to ascertain.
But some of the costs for each component can be disentangled, and it is clear that not all the highway spending is necessary for high-quality bus service. Between just those two projects, the state has tacked on half a billion dollars in non-transit costs to the price tag of BRT.
The Cuomo administration has further inflated costs by focusing on an option to run buses on a new elevated viaduct (top), but a simpler option would run buses on existing surface roads (bottom). Last year, the state estimated that the entire Westchester side of the BRT system could be built for a little more than $1 billion, including soft costs like engineering and potential cost overruns [PDF].
So half of the entire BRT corridor could be built for just above $1 billion, if the Cuomo administration decided to pursue the surface option.
Because the state had planned to build new high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Rockland County, it did not study an on-street BRT option west of the Tappan Zee Bridge. In either case, there clearly are lower-cost transit options that the state could pursue. The actual price of building bus rapid transit, even a full-featured system running along the whole corridor, is possibly billions of dollars less than Cuomo claims. When it comes to transit, the governor would do well to heed his own words — can he actually get a forward-thinking transportation project done? Andrew Cuomo needs to start providing an honest and transparent accounting of what it would really take to build a Tappan Zee Bridge bus rapid transit system, and his administration needs to get back to work and finish a plan to build cost-effective transit. You can’t walk to anything from I-287 east of White Plains.  So who would want to take a bus there? I seriously want to better understand Cuomo’s motivation for turning traitor on mass transit over the Tappan Zee.
Word On The Street “The entire area around the Botanical Garden is a pedestrian nightmare, and unfortunately, the institution has shown no interest in improving safety. Striking school bus drivers are accelerating their campaign to show New Yorkers that their salaries aren't the reason why school bus expenses are so high. After being blamed by Mayor Bloomberg for skyrocketing bus costs, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 charged Thursday that its members are the victims of an inefficient system that's gotten worse in the last 30 years.

Specifically, the union pins rising prices on a rapidly growing special education population and an increasing need to transport city kids to special schools outside the city. The union also points out that more than half of 100,000 general education students who qualify for yellow bus service attend private, parochial and charter schools.
The city responded by saying the union was trying to blame special needs kids for the strike. Parents who rely on busing have had to miss work and take their kids on lengthy cab and subway rides to get them to school and back.
According to the latest city figures, just 2,860 bus routes out of about 7,700 total were running this week but city officials have provided cab vouchers and Metrocards to parents and students. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott noted Thursday that more special needs kids are getting to school now than they were when the strike began. The city countered that the strike must be settled by the union and the bus companies, since the striking workers are not technically city employees. Meanwhile, most of the City Council Thursday urged him to reconsider in a letter signed by 44 members of the 51-member Council including Speaker Christine Quinn. A bus ride costs only $2.25 and can be paid by either exact change (silver coins only) or using the same MetroCard that you use for the subway. MTA subway, bus fares and tolls going up again in 2015 and 2017: official Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran said rising pension, healthcare, debt payments and other costs necessitate hitting up mass transit riders and drivers using MTA bridges and tunnels for another $424 million in 2015, and $520 million in 2017. The amount of money bus, subway and commuter rail riders will fork over to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will go up by approximately 15% by 2017, according to updated financial plans released by transit officials. Over at the City Hall station, Brooklyn nanny Cheryl Mark, 52, couldna€™t believe MetroCard prices, which just went up in March, are slated to rise in 2015 a€” and again in 2017. Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran said rising pension, health care, debt payments and other costs necessitate hitting up mass transit riders a€” and drivers using MTA bridges and tunnels a€” for another $424 million in 2015, and $520 million in 2017.
The financial plans dona€™t specify how much the base bus and subway fare, unlimited ride MetroCards and other fare-payment options might increase. If the increases were applied evenly across the board, however, a monthly MetroCard would go from the current $112 to approximately $120 in 2015, and then $129 two years later. The MTA plans also envision the authority paying significantly more for storm coverage insurance. Foran and MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said the agency will continue the aggressive cost cutting program that has reduced annual expenses by $800 million a year.
Prendergast indicated the MTA would look to state government in Albany to craft solutions to some costs like pensions that are beyond the authoritya€™s control. But newly released state documents show that number includes billions of dollars in highway improvements, with transit costs actually much lower. Even a gold-plated bus rapid transit system from Suffern to Port Chester would not cost the $5 billion that Cuomo says it would.
Only after Tri-State received the documents did the Cuomo administration post them on its Tappan Zee Bridge website.

Including the cost of climbing lanes has increased the price tag of bus rapid transit by nearly half a billion dollars. In earlier versions of the Tappan Zee project, the state simultaneously pursued a bus rapid transit system, I-287 expansions, and a new commuter rail service into Rockland County. The Highway Improvement Report suggests constructing climbing lanes in Rockland County to allow passenger vehicles to pass slow-moving trucks on uphill stretches. Again, the Highway Improvement Report does not justify the construction of the lanes in terms of transit operation. Such a solution might exist, or buses could run in the existing shoulders of I-287, a common practice around the country. New York cannot give up on transit because of the governor’s opposition and a false $5 billion price tag.
If you charge $20 tolls then everyone will want to take the bus (cutting revenue), unless you also take that option away.
About 20% of charter school students ride the buses, compared with 9% of regular public school kids.
16 to protest Bloomberga€™s decision to re-bid contracts with private bus companies without protecting the jobs of veteran drivers. If you pay with cash, then you need to request a transfer ticket from the driver for your next ride.
Depending on the scenario, the administration is counting between $1 billion and $3 billion in highway costs (the left column) toward the cost of building bus rapid transit. The $5 billion figure includes between $1 billion and $3 billion worth of highway improvements, many of which are entirely unrelated to building transit.
Bus service, which would run in its own dedicated lanes, would not be affected by the climbing lanes. 119 or Westchester Avenue, with slight road widenings in some locations to add dedicated bus lanes. He added that local officials had feared additional congestion from the cheaper, on-street option in years past, but did not provide documentation that the more affordable option would actually have negative effects on traffic. Empire State Building Tickets for the Empire State Building now CAD $ 42Book your tickets now!
7 line extension and the Fulton Transit Center will add to the number of trains running, upping spending an additional $190 million annually in 2017.
Poking holes in obvious shine stories is all well and good, but if this is going to be fixed his real motivations must be visited and exposed for all to see. The buses are in blue and white and all have a number with a sign on them digitally displaying the destination.

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