January 9, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Plans to Expand Major Transit Projects and Improve Roadway Safety

Governor Hochul Announces Plans to Expand Major Transit Projects and Improve Roadway Safety

State of the State Proposal Will Announce Planning of Second Avenue Subway West Extension Along 125th Street; Would Serve 240,000 Daily Customers

MTA to Initiate Engineering Work for IBX, Serving 40 Million Riders Per Year

New Yorkers Can Now View Infrastructure Investments and Access Resources at Infrastructure.ny.gov

New Toll and Fare Enforcement Measures Focused on Equity

Governor Hochul to Re-Introduce Sammy’s Law and Announce New Actions on Lithium-Ion Battery Safety

Governor Hochul today announced next steps to plan and engineer expanded transit access across New York City, introduced a new Infrastructure Hub, and proposed new measures to improve roadway safety and fight toll and fare evasion as part of her 2024 State of the State address. These actions build on Governor Hochul’s legacy of expanding connectivity across the state, making historic investments in infrastructure, and enacting legislation to protect pedestrians and drivers. These actions will increase opportunity for millions of New Yorkers while improving equity and keeping New Yorkers safe.

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe, efficient commute – whether you’re a straphanger, a driver or a pedestrian,” Governor Hochul said. “We’re continuing to move full speed ahead on transformative infrastructure projects that will change the way New Yorkers get around. And we’re fighting for safety at the same time, so New Yorkers get home safely no matter how they choose to get around.”

Second Avenue Subway West Extension

Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, Phase Two of the Second Avenue Subway has gone from a dream to a fully funded project that is ready for construction. Looking to the future, the MTA will evaluate, scope and plan for another extension of the Second Avenue Subway west along 125th Street, adding three new stops at Lenox Avenue, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Broadway in Harlem. This extension would create connections with seven existing lines and serve 240,000 daily customers, with more than 90 percent of them from equity communities. It would also significantly reduce bus congestion along 125th Street, where more than 30,000 people ride the bus along this corridor every day.

This project scored well on the MTA’s 20 Year Needs Assessment, particularly for its cost effectiveness. In advance of environmental review and preliminary engineering, MTA will evaluate the feasibility of performing the initial tunneling work as a continuation of the Phase Two tunneling work and extending the tunnel boring machine’s westward path beyond Park Avenue to Broadway. If viable, this approach could save over $400 million over the life of the project.

Engineering the Interborough Express

In 2022, Governor Hochul set out the bold vision for the Interborough Express – a new service in Brooklyn and Queens that would use the existing right-of-way of the Bay Ridge Branch, connecting ethnically and socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. This project has the potential to provide connections to up to 17 subway lines, reducing travel times between the two boroughs by 30 minutes and serve 40 million riders a year. At Governor Hochul’s direction, the MTA will now initiate formal engineering of the IBX.

Local Hiring for MTA Capital Projects

Under an existing pilot program, the MTA is requiring contractors working on the New Jamaica Bus Depot, Rockaway Line Resiliency & Rehabilitation, a group of four ADA station improvements across the City, and the Broadway Junction station revitalization projects to commit to goals of 20 percent of the working hours to be performed by workers who live near the construction site or in lower income communities. Given the success of this pilot program, Governor Hochul is directing the MTA to expand the pilot to include the Second Avenue Subway Phase Two project, providing more jobs to workers in East Harlem.

Launching New York’s First Infrastructure Hub

Governor Hochul has made a bold investment in New York’s infrastructure, from the historic $32.8 billion five-year Department of Transportation Capital Plan to critical funding commitments for transportation expansions across the state. These investments promote equity and connectivity while battling the effects of climate change and creating jobs. Governor Hochul is launching a statewide Infrastructure Hub which will give all New Yorkers the ability to learn more about investments in their community, supported by both state and federal funding. The Infrastructure Hub will also allow visitors to search for technical assistance programs and federal grant opportunities.

Combating Toll and Fare Evasion

Since 2017, New York has utilized open road toll collection, enabling an easier flow of traffic on major bridges, tunnels, and highways. Since this implementation, the incidence of defaced or obstructed license plates has significantly increased, with more than five percent of license plates going unread. Additionally, fare evasion on subways, buses and railroads has significantly increased, with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimating an annual toll and fare evasion loss of more than $700 million per year.

Governor Hochul is announcing a series of proposals to limit fare and toll evasion and ensure that everyone who utilizes public infrastructure pays their fair share. These actions include:

  • Increasing monetary fines for fare evasion and purposeful license plate defacement;
  • Increasing toll enforcement activities and banning the sale of “vanish plates;”
  • Allowing police officers to seize license plate covers designed to make plates unreadable;
  • Designating intentional toll evasion as a theft-of-services misdemeanor.

Governor Hochul’s plan also ensures equitable enforcement by calling for the following reforms:

  • Allowing police officers to issue written warnings instead of summonses for first time fare evasion offenders;
  • Permitting the MTA to allow first-time offenders to have their fine forgiven if they enroll in the Fair Fares program;
  • Enabling the MTA to refund up to 50 percent of the first fine – if paid on-time – to the customer via a fare card;
  • Granting the MTA the same authority to enforce fare evasion on the commuter railroads that currently exists within New York City Transit.

These proposals are aligned with the recommendations of the Blue-Ribbon Panel convened by the MTA to study fare and toll evasion, which issued its report in 2023. The panel recommended innovative approaches to reducing fare and toll evasion across the entire MTA system of subways, buses, commuter rails, bridges and tunnels.

Re-Introducing Sammy’s Law

In 2023, Governor Hochul called for the passage of Sammy’s Law, named after Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old child who died when he was hit by a car in 2013. This law would allow New York City to lower its speed limit to 20 miles per hour, far reducing the risk of death or life-threatening injury in an accident. Governor Hochul will re-introduce this legislation as part of the FY 2025 Executive Budget.

Promoting Lithium-Ion Battery Safety
Lithium-Ion batteries have become an essential part of the transportation landscape, powering e-bikes and mopeds. However, the proliferation of their use has led to dangerous fires and a significant gap in quality of products across the industry. To protect New Yorkers, Governor Hochul is taking the following actions to promote lithium-ion battery safety:

  • Increasing training from the Office of Fire Prevention and Control for local fire departments on how to extinguish lithium-ion battery fires;
  • Expanding online public service announcements on lithium-ion battery safety;
  • Demanding that delivery companies to take more responsibility to ensure their contractors use safe devices;
  • Introducing legislation to ban the sale of devices not certified by reputable safety testing organizations.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640

Translations

الترجمة إلى العربية
বাংলা অনুবাদ
Traduction en français
Tradiksyon kreyòl ayisyen
Traduzione italiana
Polskie tłumaczenie
Перевод на русский язык
Traducción al español
پیلے رنگ سے نمایاں کردہ ٹیکسٹ
אידישע איבערטייטשונג