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Jim O'Grady

Jim O'Grady appears in the following:

Cuomo to Cut MTA Budget By $100 Million

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

WNYC

The MTA said Governor Andrew Cuomo's call on Tuesday for a $100 million cut from its already squeezed budget will be painful but can be done without additional fare hikes or service cuts. Still, riders may see dirtier buses and trains.

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Planners Say NY's Economy Will Strangle If Airports Don't Expand

Thursday, January 27, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Managing air traffic at New York's major airports is like coaxing three large men through a skinny door: the squeeze is tight and there's no room to grow. That's why the Regional Plan Association issued a report on Thursday calling for a major expansion of Kennedy and Newark airports. The only way out, they say, is to build.

Planners kibbitz at a conference about airport expansion in New York

New York's three major airports, which already lead the nation in congestion and delays, can expect an increase of almost 50 million yearly passengers by the 2030s. The Association says the way to handle all those people is to build new runways to handle more flights.

LaGuardia has no room to expand. So RPA is proposing to add a runway to Newark-Liberty by demolishing and rebuilding a terminal and moving two cargo areas. It also recommends adding a runway to JFK by filling in part of Jamaica Bay. Total estimated price tag: $15 billion.

Taking advantage of the new runways depends on installing a new flight control system that replaces radar with GPS, allowing planes to follow more efficient flight patterns while flying closer to each other. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the early phase of a 20-year, $22 billion roll-out of the technology, called NextGen, which will need to prove itself in field conditions.

RPA considered other options, such as shifting some of the burden to local airports like Stewart in Newburgh and MacArthur in Long Island, along with improving rail connections to the airports and between cities. The report says those improvements would bring gains but not nearly enough.

Area airports currently move 236 flights per hour during peak hours. In 20 years, given increased demand, they will need to add 78 additional peak hour flights. RPA concluded that only more runways and a drastically improved flight control system will add enough flights to approach that number.

But airport expansions, besides being costly, bring more noise to local neighborhoods and carry environmental costs. On the other hand, expansion advocates say, doing nothing will slowly overwhelm area airports and, by 2030, cost the regional economy as many as 125,000 jobs, $6 billion in wages and $16 billion in sales each year.

At a conference on Thursday that brought together business and political leaders to absorb and discuss RPA's findings, a group of planners chatted during a break about the political battles that surely lay ahead. Then grew quiet until one of them said: "Are you ready? Strap in."

Listen to Jim O'Grady discuss this story on WNYC's Financial 411:

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Expanding Area Airports Is a Must to Answer Demand, Say Planners

Thursday, January 27, 2011

WNYC

Two of New York's major airports will need major expansions to handle the expected increase of 50 million passengers annually by the 2030s, according to a report issued by the Regional Plan Association Thursday.

 

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NJ Refuses to Repay $271 Million to Feds for Axed Arc Tunnel

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WNYC

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told the Federal Transit Administration Tuesday night that he would refuse the agency's demand to have the state pay $271 million for early work done on the cancelled trans-Hudson ARC Tunnel. 

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Down to the Wire on Whether NJ Will Pay $271 Million for Cancelling ARC Tunnel

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) The clock is ticking on a proposed deal between the feds and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over his decision in October to cancel the ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson because of projected cost overruns.

Christie has until the end of today to decide whether he will reimburse the Federal Transit Administration $271 million spent on ARC. In exchange, the agency would then turn around and hand back $128 million to the state for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, earlier today Christie told Bloomberg TV: "We're having conversations with Mayor Bloomberg and others regarding the extension of the No. 7 train to Secaucus, New Jersey, which would do what we really wanted the ARC tunnel to do originally." (See WNYC for the full story.)

Governor Christie has said the state doesn't owe the money. Last month, he directed New Jersey Transit to hire Patton Boggs, a high-powered Washington law firm, to make the case for him with the federal government--by lawsuit, if necessary. The firm now stands ready to file suit if an agreement isn't reached in the next several hours.

"We have until midnight tonight," said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak earlier today. "We have about seven hours and forty-nine minutes, something like that. We expect that our attorneys in Washington will be filing a timely response today."

Asked at a transportation conference in Washington how the negotiations were going, FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff declined to comment. The agency has already granted the state two extensions on an original deadline of December 24.

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East Side Buses, After Sluggish Start, Now Save Riders Time

Friday, January 21, 2011

WNYC

After a slow start, Select Bus service on First and Second Avenues is consistently faster than the old M15 express bus service, according to new data from the MTA. 

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MTA Moves Closer to Electronic-Only Tolling

Thursday, January 20, 2011

WNYC

"We're here to usher in a new era in toll collection," said MTA chairman Jay Walder when announcing that drivers are one step closer to cashless tolling on the agency's nine crossings, "the beginning of the end of the toll booth."

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Senator Schumer And Governor Christie Trade Rhetorical Blows Over ARC Tunnel

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sen. Schumer to business breakfast: NJ Gov Christie's pulling the plug on ARC Tunnel was "terrible decision."

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) If U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was spoiling for a fight when he addressed a business breakfast this morning about regional transportation policy, he got one--from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. That's because the heart of his forty-minute speech was a scathing critique of Christie's decision to kill the $9 billion ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson.

"I believe pulling the plug on ARC was a terrible, terrible decision," Schumer said.

He pointed out that bridge and tunnel crossings between New York and New Jersey are now at capacity as more than a quarter million people commute from and through New Jersey to New York each day, a number that is expected to grow at least 25% in coming decades. He also said the tunnel would have brought thousands of construction jobs to the region and raised property values in large parts of New Jersey. And construction on it had already begun.

"This was not just a project in the planning stages," Schumer said. "There were explicit funding commitments from the Port Authority and the federal government. It was the largest public works project in the country, coming right here."

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Schumer, Christie Trade Barbs on Decision to Kill Rail Project

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If Senator Charles Schumer was spoiling for a fight when he addressed a business breakfast about regional transportation policy Tuesday morning, he got one from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. That's because the heart of his 40-minute speech was a scathing critique of Christie's decision to kill the $9 billion ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson.

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Christie Vs. Schumer on ARC - Round 4

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) First, U.S. Senator Schumer took the podium at a business breakfast this morning and slammed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for killing the $9 billion ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

Easy for you to say, retorted a spokesman for Governor Christie, when New York will be on the hook for "zero, zilch, nothing" if the project goes over budget--perhaps by several billion dollars.

In response, a spokesman for Schumer accused Christie of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" by not negotiating with the Feds about relief from potential cost overruns, thereby costing area workers "tens of thousands of jobs in the near future and ease travel for millions of commuters." He added that by terminating the tunnel, Governor Christie had "flushed $6 billion in federal and Port Authority money down the tubes.”

Now Christie's spokesman, Michael Drewniak, has made yet another reply. "We are very comfortable with our decision on behalf of New Jersey and its taxpayers," he said.  "Senator Schumer embraces deficit spending, we do not."

Drewniak concluded by implying that Schumer's 30 years in Congress have made him something of a free-spender: "He’s been in Washington a long time."

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Schumer vs. Christie -- Round 3 in ARC Tunnel Bout

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) If words were wrestling holds, Senator Schumer just slipped Governor Christie's suplex and countered with a double-knee facebreaker. Or at least their spokesmen did.

This morning, Schumer told local leaders at a breakfast that Christie made a "terrible, terrible decision" in October by shutting down the ARC commuter tunnel under the Hudson River. In response, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said it was all too easy for Schumer to call for the reinstatement of a "boondoggle" with projected cost overruns that would be borne by New Jersey but cost New York "zero, zilch, nothing." He added that the only way Schumer could have made his remarks was if he "didn't brush up on the topic before he spoke" or was merely scoring political points.

Now Schumer spokesman Mike Morey has answered back.

“The people who are out of work in New York and New Jersey are not interested in insults, they are interested in jobs," Morey said in an email to WNYC. "Thousands of people could be put to work today on a project that will create the infrastructure we need to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near future and ease travel for millions of commuters. You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and in this case thousands of jobs. Rather than come to the table and work with federal officials to deal with overruns, and preserve an asset everyone agrees is needed in the region, the Governor’s decision flushed $6 billion in federal and Port Authority money down the tubes.”

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NJ Governor Christie Hits Back at Schumer on ARC Tunnel

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Governor Christie's spokesman Michael Drewniak isn't pulling his punches over New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's criticism on the ARC tunnel.  Earlier today, Schumer blasted Christie for making a "terrible, terrible" decision to kill the $9 billion commuter rail train under the Hudson.

"Where was the senior senator from New York with funding alternatives to a project that was predicted to run billions over projections – all of which were to be borne by New Jersey and its taxpayers?," Drewniak said. "This was a ‘bi-state’ project for which Senator Schumer’s state and the federal government were set to pay zero, zilch, nothing for the cost overruns.   We can live with the criticism while protecting taxpayers from this boondoggle, which was simply a bad deal for New Jersey."

Drewniak went further in questioning Senator's Schumer's timing and motivation in slamming Governor Christie's decision on ARC, which was made in October.

"I’ll also give Senator Schumer the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn’t brush up on the topic before he spoke.  Unless, of course, his remarks are merely political, which is always a possibility," Drewniak said.

No reply yet from Senator Schumer on this latest round of comments.

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Raids Uncover More Faked MTA Subway Inspections

Thursday, January 13, 2011

WNYC

A pair of raids at MTA locker rooms in the past week have turned up evidence that subway workers are continuing the widespread practice of faking signal inspections.

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NYC Doesn't Grind to a Halt in Storm

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Jersey Transit riders disembarking at Penn Station during Northeast Snowpocalypse 2.

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Joyce and Bob Fliegel decided last night that the snowstorm would not keep them from getting to the city from their home in Merrick, Long Island. They’re due on a Caribbean-bound cruise ship departing from a Manhattan pier at 4 p.m. today. Taking no chances on missing it because of a snow-stranded train, they left yesterday and spent the night in Penn Station.

“We spent it with a lot of homeless people,” Bob Fliegel said with the good cheer of a man leaning on a suitcase full of sunscreen and Hawaiian shirts. He and his wife napped on chairs in the Long Island Railroad waiting room until station cleaners kicked them out at 3 in the morning. They then bought train tickets to Newark, which was the cheapest way to gain access to the all-night Amtrak waiting area.

“It was pretty creative,” he said.

Airline passengers were not so lucky. Read more on WNYC.org.

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Travelers Weather the Storm at Area Transit Hubs

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WNYC

A Long Island couple, determined to make their Caribbean-bound cruise, spent the night at Penn Station and are among the passangers who waiting out the snow storm at area train stations and airports. “We spent it with a lot of homeless people,” Bob Fliegel, of Merrick, said Wednesday morning.

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NYC MTA Chair: "If You Don't Need to Travel (In Blizzard), Don't"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MTA Chairman Jay Walder meets the press to talk blizzard.

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) MTA Chairman Jay Walder held a press conference this afternoon to outline transit preparations for the blizzard bearing down on New York. In opening remarks, he said: "Service during a winter storm is always fraught with difficulty. If you don't need to travel tomorrow morning please don't."

Walder then talked about lessons learned from his agency's poor performance during the late December blizzard and detailed operational upgrades now in place to prevent stranding hundreds of buses in the streets and passengers on trains.

But his statement implies the agency is anticipating serious service disruptions throughout the region tomorrow on subways, buses and trains.

Transportation Nation is seeking clarification on the strength of the recommendation that non-essential workers in the New York area stay home during Snowpocalypse II and avoid mass transit.

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Fake Reports Put Straphangers in Danger, Says Council

Friday, January 07, 2011

WNYC

Inspectors faked 90 percent of the reports they filed and claimed unfinished work was completed for more than a decade, according to an MTA report.

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City Puts the Brake on Parking Meter Rate Hike

Thursday, January 06, 2011

WNYC

Parking meter prices will remain the same in the outer boroughs and above 86th Street in Manhattan thanks to a budget deal reached between Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council.

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Snow Delay: Planned F, G Train Disruptions Postponed

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

WNYC

Construction on the F and G subway lines in Windsor Terrace, Red Hook and Park Slope has been postponed in anticipation of snowfall this weekend, a transit official said.

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MTA to F and G Train Riders: Fugettaboutit!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

WNYC

F and G train riders can say Farewell and Goodbye to regular service for the next two years.

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