Sen. Schumer, NYC Mayor de Blasio Stump for Transportation Funding
PHOTO: Sen. Charles Schumer. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) visited City Hall on Thursday calling for public support in an effort to urge Congress to increase federal transportation funding, according to the Associated Press.
With the federal highway trust fund set to run out on May 31 as a result of rising construction costs and a limited gas tax, the two Democrats made their message clear.
"The bottom line is we need investment if we expect to have a society to work, if we expect to get around, if we expect to be able to get to work," said de Blasio at Thursday's news conference. "We need investment from Washington. This is our lifeline. It's what makes our economy work."
Schumer went on to point the finger, claiming that "there's a whole group of people in Washington who think everything should be private, whether it's a highway, a bridge or a subway system."
"It's crazy" added Schumer.
In a column published on amny.com on Wednesday, de Blasio wrote that "if Congress fails to increase the allocation and pass a long-term bill that gives cities control of the money, the future of our cities will be jeopardized."
"Every $1 billion in federal transportation spending supports 13,000 local jobs," he added.
According to de Blasio, on any given day, nearly 6 million people ride New York's subway system, 600,000 passengers pass through Penn Station and as many as 65,000 people rely on the Staten Island Ferry.
To help raise awareness for the campaign, which is being supported by five dozen mayors nationwide in addition to hundreds of business leaders and transportation advocates, de Blasio and Schumer arrived at City Hall via the "R'' train from Brooklyn.
In his column earlier this week, de Blasio wrote that "without a strong federal partner, maintaining existing infrastructure and preparing for the future will be virtually impossible."
New York's mass transit system is the largest in the U.S. and is therefore vital to keeping the region connected and the economy on track. While its significance is undeniable, it's just one of many in need of revamped infrastructure.
More by Patrick Clarke
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