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Transportation Reinvention Commission July 2014 Conference

The MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission (TRC), an international panel of 24 experts in transportation, planning, financing, business, real estate and other disciplines was created at the recommendation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to bring together experts to consider two areas: challenges facing the MTA in the next century and investment opportunities to address these challenges.

During a three day conference held at the MTA’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters July 15th, 16th and 17th, commission members solicited input from the general public, civic, business and transportation experts. The commission asked all speakers to comment on challenges facing the region's transportation network in the coming decades, such as growing ridership, shifting demographic trends and a changing climate as well as innovative investments.

During three public input sessions, experts and members of the general public were asked to provide the TRC with their thoughts on the following questions:

  • What challenges do you think that MTA needs to focus on as it develops its capital plans over the next century? Examples of some of these challenges are:
    • Climate Change (rising sea level, increasing temperatures, increasing precipitation, and increased frequency of major weather events);
    • Population growth, ridership increases, land use changes, and demographic changes;
    • Institutional, inter-governmental and jurisdictional barriers;
    • Keeping pace with rapidly changing technology and implementing technology in an aging system; and
    • Energy efficiency
  • What innovative investments do you think MTA needs to make to meet those challenges in order to:
    • Maintain its system?
    • Meet and exceed customer needs?
    • Spur the economy?
  • Do you have any recommendations on how to finance these investments?
  • Do you have any recommendations for how MTA can implement these investments better, faster and more cheaply?

A total of thirty invited speakers addressed the commission including New York City Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris as well as regional transportation and development executives Joan McDonald, New York State Transportation Commissioner; Polly Trottenberg, New York City Transportation Commissioner; Veronique Hakim, Executive Director of New Jersey Transit, and Joseph Boardman, President and CEO, Amtrak, and; Stuart Appelbaum, President New York City Regional Economic Development Council.

The commission also heard from transportation and planning experts including President & CEO Joshua Schank President & CEO ENO Center for Transportation; David Giles, Research Director, Center for an Urban Future; Robert "Buzz" Paaswell, Director Emeritus, University Transportation Research Center; Khalid Bekka, Managing Director, HDR Engineering, Gulf Arab States.

Several rider advocates also testified before the commission including Kevin Corbett, Co-Chair, Empire State Transportation Alliance; William Henderson, Executive Director, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee; Andrew Albert, Chair, New York City Transit Riders Council; Randolph Glucksman, Chair, Metro-North Railroad Riders Council, and; Mark Epstein, Chair, Long Island Rail Road Riders Council;, John Hartwell, Co-Chair, Connecticut Commuter Rail Council, and; John Raskin, Executive Director, Riders Alliance.

Regional business and civic leaders including Jennifer Hensley, Executive Director, Association for a Better New York; Walter Edwards, Chairman, Harlem Business Alliance; Donna Keren, Senior Vice President, NYC & Company; Steven Spinola, President, Real Estate Board of New York; Charles Brecher, Consulting Research Director, Citizens Budget Commission, and; Sandra Wilkins, President Emeritus, Women Builders Council also testified before the commission.

Riders from across the five boroughs, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties also testified before the commission. Social media also played a big role in soliciting comments from riders and others about the challenges facing the MTA. Whether on Facebook or Twitter, the Transportation Reinvention Commission engaged with millions of customers. Using the hashtag #MTAReinvention, the TRC live tweeted each public and general input sessions, generating more than a million impressions over the three day period.

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