In a telephone press conference Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), accompanied by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said that President Obama’s American Jobs Act includes nearly $3 billion that can be used immediately to support more than 2,200 transportation improvement projects across the state.
These projects are included in the state’s Transportation Improvement Plan, but are currently unfunded. The federal funding, said LaHood, would be matched with already-pledged state and local funding. “These are not Democratic measures, these are not Republican measures,” said Gillibrand. LaHood, although he serves in a Democratic administration, is a Republican.
Brooklyn projects that would be funded, said Gillibrand, include the rehabilitation of the Belt Parkway Bridge over Mill Basin, rehabilitation of the New Utrecht Station on the N, or Sea Beach, subway line (a below-ground “trench” station whose concrete walls are crumbling), and repairing the Smith-Ninth streets station on the F and G lines.
This station, as the Eagle has mentioned numerous times, sits above what is known as the “Culver Viaduct”—a viaduct that is in such bad shape that it requires netting below the structure to protect drivers and motorists underneath from falling debris. It is closed for renovation until next March.
In the city as a whole, the measures include two additional rail tunnels from New Jersey to Penn Station, the conversion of the General Post Office near Penn Station into a rail terminal for New Jersey Transit, and the long-delayed Second Avenue subway line.
All in all, they include repairs and additions to mass transit, bridges, airports and more. Gillibrand estimates that this would support approximately 38,800 jobs.