Empire State Transportation Alliance

ESTA logo Blue

What Is ESTA?

The Empire State Transportation Alliance is a coalition of business, civic, labor and environmental organizations that seek to build consensus for expanded resources for New York State transportation. Through research, public outreach and advocacy, ESTA supports spending plans that continue the progress made in restoring New York's transportation infrastructure. Since 1999, ESTA has identified potential investment scenarios and crafted effective education and outreach campaigns that increase public understanding of the urgent capital program needs facing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York State Department of Transportation.

Transit's fiscal crisis and the region's future
Growing ridership, inadequate resources.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will soon propose its next five-year (2015-2019) capital rebuilding program that will set an agenda for maintaining and improving the region's transit network. While serious funding obstacles exist and valid concerns about the MTA need to be addressed, we must invest in transit and in our region's future. Our economy and environment depend on it. The Empire State Transportation Alliance) - an independent group of the region's civic, business, transportation and environmental leaders - has prepared this fact sheet to detail transit's needs and how to meet them.

What's the problem?
Growing ridership, inadequate resources.

To pay for its recent improvements the MTA has had to raise fares and borrow to fill the gaps left by low city and state aid. This has saddled the MTA with large debt payments that have forced higher transit fares. Without dedicated funding for the coming 2015-2019 capital plan, the MTA won't be able to make the investments required to maintain and improve the system without continuing the current trend of issuing more debt, putting more pressure on the operating budget and the fare.

What's at stake?
New York's economic future, energy savings and our quality of life.

The New York region's transit system is essential to economic prosperity of the entire state. It creates job opportunities, reduces harmful emissions associated with vehicle traffic and enables the vitality that is fundamental to our way of life.

Without transit, the dense concentration of businesses and variety of neighborhoods that give the region its unique competitive advantage in the global economy couldn't be supported. This high-value, high-productivity economy drives New York State's $1.158 trillion gross domestic product.

As our economy recovers from the recent recession, creating new jobs is crucial. Investment in our transit system can provide access to jobs now and in the future as well as ease the personal and environmental costs associated with commuting by car. Already, more than one-third of the region's residents use transit to get to their jobs and that number has been rising. The suburban economies in the MTA service area would also benefit from investments that would increase reverse commutation, opening up new job markets and pools of employees. Prior studies have established that every dollar invested in maintaining the transit system returns four dollars in economic benefits.

With growing ridership and a burgeoning population, our system, already showing signs of stress, will get worse unless we act. By 2040 the region is projected to add 5.8 million residents and nearly four million more jobs. The city's share of this increase will be nearly 1.2 million additional residents and 1.3 million new jobs. Unless the transit system is maintained, modernized with new technologies and expanded, the region won't be able to support this level of growth and maintain its quality of life.

What do we need?
A reliable, expanded system.

We need a transit system that is reliable and safe, one that continues to provide an affordable and attractive alternative to driving. We must not only repair and replace the vital but little noticed components of the system such as tracks, signals, drainage and lighting, but the more visible ones like trains and buses and stations. This needs to be done with 21st century technologies. We must also selectively expand the system where necessary to meet the growing demand for a growing economy, adding new connections for added mobility for all New Yorkers.

How will we do this?
Find a long-term solution to fund our transit needs.

Solving transit's financial problems and building a reliable and fully funded regional transit system won't be easy. Local governments, the state legislature and the governor will have to examine all the revenue choices available and create a plan to provide long-term funding for the transit system. Because the benefits of public transit span all sectors of the region's population and economy, support for transit must come from a broad spectrum of revenue sources.

What you can do.
Join ESTA, make your voice heard.

The Empire State Transportation Alliance is a coalition of business, civic, labor and environmental organizations that advocates for essential investment in our transit system. Since 1999, ESTA has launched successful education and outreach campaigns that have led to billions of dollars in transit investments in the region. ESTA mobilizes constituents, shores up public support and educates decision makers on why we need to invest in transit. With your support, we can continue to improve the region's world-class transit system.

For more information or to get involved, contact Rich Barone at Regional Plan Association: (212) 253-6961 or rbarone@rpa.org.

ESTA Members
Regional Plan Association, co-chair
AECOM, co-chair
American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
Associated General Contractors of New York State
Baruch College/ CUNY
Building Congress
Beaudoin and Co.
Citizens Budget Commission
Construction Industry Council of New York
Drum Major Institute
Environmental Defense Fund
Featherstonhaugh Wiley & Cline
Fiscal Policy Institute
General Contractors Association of New York
HNTB
International Union of Operating Engineers
Laborer's Tri-Fund
Long Island Contractor's Association
M+R Strategic Services
Machinist Union
Macro Associates
Manatt Phelps & Phillips/Claudia Wagner Associates
MOVE NY
New York League of Conservation Voters
New York Roadway Improvement Coalition
NYPIRG Straphangers
NYU Rudin Center
O.T. Solutions/Machinists Union
Partnership for NYC
PB Inc.
Permanent Citizens Adviosry Committee to the MTA
Pratt Institute for Community Development
Real Estate Board of New York
Reinvent Albany
Robbett Advocacy Media
STV
Transport Workers Union Local 100
Transportation Alternatives
Tri-State Transportation Campaign