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A Proposal to Unify Public Transit for the Tri-State Region

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

NYC’s rapid job growth in the last 15 years has led to an unsurprising but dramatic upswing of workers commuting to Manhattan each day, both from the outer boroughs and the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island). While the number of commuters continues to swell, public transit improvements have been lagging, leading to overcrowded trains, track congestion, and schedule delays, along with the broader economic threats caused by looming infrastructure failures.

Looking ahead, how can people and agencies across the Tri-State region work together to ensure that economic growth is not stunted by limited public transit capacity? Last Tuesday, Karp Strategies attended a presentation about this very issue hosted by Open House New York (OHNY) and featuring Tom Wright, President & CEO of the Regional Plan Association (RPA), with a conversation moderated by Sarah Kaufman, Associate Director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation. The event launched OHNY’s year-long exploration into transportation and mobility in NYC.

According to the RPA, companies, unconvinced of NYC’s capacity to offer affordable housing and mobility to workers, have already started to overlook NYC in favor of locating in other cities. A proposal to combine the region’s rail lines—Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, and NJ Transit—into a unified system called Trans-Regional Express (T-REX) aims to relieve congestion, offer additional transit options, and generate economic growth evenly across the region. If successful, the investments would connect suburbs to core job centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and beyond. In turn, suburban communities will need to consider first- and last-mile solutions, as well as zoning changes to maximize housing opportunities near transit hubs. The discussion also raised the issue of drawn-out approval processes bloating project costs, and touched upon the LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment Project’s use of public-private partnerships to maneuver through red tape.

Karp Strategies looks forward to following and working on some of the capital improvement proposals included in the T-REX plan as we continue to advocate for much-needed public transit investments. We are proud members of the RPA's New York State Committee and Open House New York's Program Advisory and Transit Advisory Committees. Join us at many of the excellent upcoming events OHNY is hosting around transportation during the upcoming year!


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