Public transit is New York City's crucial equalizer in matters of housing and employment. This fact would be uncontroversial, except Governor Cuomo has balked at providing the MTA with the $32 billion in capital funds it needs to function and improve. A new report [PDF] shows how transportation plays a huge role in the earning power of New Yorkers.
NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management looked at 177 different zip codes, and found that neighborhoods with the best access to transit, usually in Manhattan, (Chelsea is number one [PDF]) also have the highest median household income, and the lowest unemployment rate. In those neighborhoods, 79% commute by walking or public transit, and only 10.9% by car.
Neighborhoods with the worst access to transit (South Staten Island) had lower median incomes ($61,381) and slightly lower unemployment rates (9.7%), but more than 50% commuted by car.
The neighborhoods with limited access to public transit, like the Flatlands in Brooklyn, fare the worst: their unemployment rate is nearly 12%, and their median household income is around $46,000.
The more jobs you can reasonably commute to within an hour, the more job opportunities you'll have, and the higher your wage will be.
Cuomo is set to "break" the public school system in NYC because he says the current system hurts children and harms their future economic potential.
But Rudin Center Director Mitchell Moss says Cuomo could do more for economic opportunity if he would just, you know, fully fund the MTA:
“In New York, mass transit is the path to economic mobility, not education,” Mitchell Moss, Rudin's director, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s far more important to have a MetroCard than a college degree.”
"What’s really important for the future to metropolitan transit is winning a fully-funded, $32 billion five-year rebuilding program, which is being considered in Albany right now," Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said in November. "That means our politicians have to find the money to buy us new subway cars and buses, rehabilitated station, safe track and computerized signals. Otherwise, its back to the big ugly. New Yorkers cannot afford that."
I think access to a quality education, along with access to public transportation, are both important.
Cuomo, who claims he cares for the future of children while teachers and the education bureaucracy don't, doesn't intend to properly fund either.
As part of his Port Authority reform, Cuomo is calling for mass transit cuts (albeit, on the NY/NJ lines, not the MTA lines.)
But just as his education policies the first four years show how little he cares for public education, his refusal to provide the MTA with the money needed to make upgrades shows how little he cares for public transportation.
Andrew Cuomo, staunch believer that the free market fairy solves all, likes the word "privatized" in front of words like "education" and "transportation" as much as possible.