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August 5, 2004

Council urges state to adopt efficient and accountable transportation plan

New York State should adopt a master plan for the state’s transportation system that focuses on regional and international trade corridors, technology efficiencies, and increasing collaboration between state and foreign transit officials, The Business Council said in testimony before a state advisory panel on August 5.

Virtually every enterprise in the state’s private sector depends on an extensive, well-maintained transportation system, Ed Reinfurt, vice president of The Business Council, said in the testimony.

The committee met to hear public opinion on a proposed master plan for the state’s transportation systems.

Any plan adopted for the state’s transportation system must be more than a capital plan, Reinfurt said.

“The plan must identify how the state proposes to use its resources to bring about tangible improvements to its transportation system which will improve the lives of its citizens and the well being of its businesses,” he said.

The state should adopt a plan for transportation that includes identification of strategic transportation assets and how those assets can be better structured to improve operating efficiency. The plan should also include proposals and prioritization of the necessary changes, Reinfurt said.

The centerpiece of any plan must be accountability, Reinfurt said. “If the public is to give support to the master plan it has a right to receive a transportation report card documenting the progress – or lack thereof – being achieved on the key performance measurement goals which it has identified.”

The Business Council has identified four broad categories in transportation that the master plan should address, Reinfurt said.

Those categories include:

Reinfurt also emphasized the need for a plan that acknowledges the importance of an efficient transportation system for a healthy state economy.

Business in New York are now competing locally, nationally and internationally, Reinfurt told the commission.

“Businesses have responded by developing new and innovative methods, cutting costs and expanding their markets,” Reinfurt concluded. “Our state’s and the region’s transportation systems play a key role in the continuing success of these efforts. “