Published in The Wall Street Journal – June 9, 2016
The interplay between transit capacity and real-estate development is an important issue facing cities around the world. In the Wall Street Journal article PATH Strains Under Housing Boom, Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said that the agency planned to seek capital contributions from cities and developers that benefit from PATH improvement projects.
The response from local elected officials quoted in the Journal’s article is concerning. It doesn’t serve residents of the region well when mayors readily punt responsibility to the Port Authority simply because it has been an easy target for criticism in recent years. One official even called the situation, “a brewing crisis” but let’s be clear: the rising crime and hollowing out of urban centers that reached its peak in the 1980s and early 1990s was a crisis.
The need for cities and transit agencies to work together to fund transit infrastructure that supports urban cores that are once again growing isn’t a crisis. It’s an opportunity, critical to the region’s economic growth, that demands committed leadership.
Mr. Mader is chair of the PATH Riders Council.