The next mayor of New York City will inherit 100-year-old transit infrastructure and a radical shift in commute patterns. Rather than commuting into Manhattan, New Yorkers are doing a lot more intra-borough commuting, increasing their reliance on buses to get around.
Mayoral candidates appeared at a forum on transportation last month, but rather than discussing visionary, large-scale infrastructure projects, they discussed peripherals and were hesitant to commit to spending projects.
Mayor Bloomberg will be leaving behind an active transit legacy, albeit a Manhattan- and private developer-centric legacy (according to critics), having spearheaded the extension of the 7 train line, the planning of seven BRT routes (two are already up and running), an expanded network of bike lanes and his failed congestion pricing plan.
Transit experts responding to the lukewarm stance of mayoral candidates at the transit conference think this would be a good time for the city to invest in long-term infrastructure, such as the Triboro RX, a proposed rail connection between the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn along an existing right-of-way.
The city faces the added challenge of having no direct oversight over the MTA, which is run by the state with little regard for the transit authority's dwindling funds and substantial debt, critics say. However, the city can choose to invest in expanded services like BRT and in reducing the cost of public transport, experts say.