As Co-Chairman of Tech:NYC, I get asked frequently to name the issues that matter most to the tech companies of NYC.
On my list, often at the top, is transit. Getting to and from work matters a lot to the employees of the growing number of tech companies in NYC.
And this summer has been a bad one for transit. If you haven’t been stuck in a subway and found yourself late for work, you’ve been anxious about that happening to you.
I take the subway to work a fair amount. It is simply the fastest way to get around NYC. And I like being in contact with the every day people of the city. You really get a sense of NYC in the subway. You see it all. I love it.
So I am in favor of the City making the needed investment, in partnership with NY State, which controls the transit system in NYC, to modernize and upgrade the subways. It would be nice to see our Mayor and Governor figure out how to do something together instead of just fighting with each other. I’m sick of that to be honest and I suspect most NYC residents are.
I am also fine with chipping in a bit more out of my pocket to pay for this upgrade. The Mayor says it will cost our family another $2700 a year to pay for this upgrade. I’m in on that. I do think the wealthy residents of NYC can and should help the city maintain and improve our transit system.
Finally, I would like to see new transit infrastructure built.
I like the City’s effort to expand the ferry system. I am a huge user of the East River ferries and I would like to see them routed up the Hudson to serve the west side of Manhattan too.
My favorite new transit project is the proposed BQX where I am a Board member and advisor. The BQX would provide street level light rail along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront neighborhoods and make it easier for companies and people to locate there as opposed to central Brooklyn and Manhattan where the density of transit options are today.
I would like to see the tech sector in NYC come together and support these transit initiatives. Elected officials need our encouragement and pressure to do these big infrastructure projects. They are expensive and the payoff is long term, well beyond their term(s) in office. So getting them done requires a lot of activation energy and we can and should provide it.