New York State DOT Invests Heavily in Highways Over Transit

New York State expects roughly $36 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade its transportation system, but so far, the state has largely directed the funds to road projects rather than more climate-friendly projects, reports Sam Mellins in New York Focus.

According to Mellins, the state Department of Transportation has already allocated over $1 billion in funding to transportation projects, with 90 percent of it going to road projects.  Meanwhile, “A single highway widening project in Queens is slated to use over $700 million in federal funds.” 

In some cases, the department has redirected funds away from bike, transit, and pedestrian projects. “Last year, Hochul and state lawmakers used over $20 million from a fund meant to boost options in New York City’s transit deserts to offer free bridge tolls to some drivers in the Bronx and Queens, Gothamist reported.”

While the infrastructure law was in part designed to shift the transportation sector away from fossil fuels, “If states continue to pursue highway expansions, the resulting emissions from car trips could cancel out the climate-friendly aspects of the infrastructure law, potentially making it a net cause of increased emissions, a Georgetown study found.”

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