Adam Schleifer Unveils “I.N.V.E.S.T.” Fund to Spur Federal Rehabilitation of Vital Hudson Valley Infrastructure
Schleifer Pushing for Federal Funding to Repair Roads and Highways, Especially the Palisades Interstate Parkway, Route 9W and 202 in Rockland
Schleifer Notes That Bridges in Clarkstown, Chestnut Ridge, Nyack, Ramapo, Suffern, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, and Mount Pleasant Are Rated “Structurally Deficient”
Schleifer: “Infrastructure is the backbone of the Rockland and Westchester economy.”
White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District (Westchester and Rockland Counties), announced his infrastructure spending plan, “I.N.V.E.S.T.” (Investment in Necessary, Volume-reducing, Efficient Structures and Transportation) Fund. This plan aligns with Senate Democrats’ call for a $1 trillion federal investment that would create 15 million good-paying jobs, with thousands in Rockland and Westchester Counties. Specifically, Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T. Fund would focus on modernized infrastructure throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, a one-seat solution for Rockland commuters along with additional transit options for Rocklanders heading to and from New York CIty, new high-speed ferries, and repairing roads and bridges. Schleifer is also pushing a National Service Plan and Green Infrastructure Corps that would pay for one year of higher education or vocational training for every year a person serves.
“The physical infrastructure of Rockland and Westchester Counties is the bedrock of our economy,” said Schleifer. “Infrastructure informs how New Yorkers travel to work and school, how much produce costs at the supermarket, the cost of water and sewer bills, and more. High-quality infrastructure determines where companies locate and create new jobs. Despite the importance of infrastructure, the Trump administration has allowed too many of our roads, bridges, buildings, and rail throughout Rockland and Westchester Counties to fall into disrepair. We spend less on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP than at any time in the last two decades. Residents in Rockland and Westchester must navigate potholed roads, cross bridges in disrepair, ride on overcrowded trains. And the ‘transit desert’ threatening to parch Rockland must be addressed immediately through a mix of immediate options and longer-term one-seat plans so that Rockland can better attract residents connected with New York City’s economy.”
If elected to Congress, Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T. Fund would spur 21st-century infrastructure on both sides of the Hudson River, and create thousands of good-paying jobs. Schleifer points out that too many students attend school in buildings that are crumbling, and millions of Americans lack access to high-speed internet. Local governments are stuck with the impossible choice of allowing water and sewer systems to deteriorate further or raising local taxes. The American Society of Civil Engineers says we must spend $1.6 trillion above current levels just to get our infrastructure to a state of good repair. Our deteriorating infrastructure already costs the economy close to $200 billion a year, and if we do not make these needed investments now, they will simply cost us more later.
Schleifer’s plan also includes both immediate relief and a one-seat solution for Rockland County commuters into New York City. Schleifer joins Governor Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to push for federal funding for Amtrak’s Gateway program to build two new rail tunnels between New York and New Jersey. The future of the Gateway program depends on federal funding. Schumer has warned that because the tunnels were flooded during Superstorm Sandy, they are deteriorating at a rapid pace. Additionally, these aging tunnels were built between 1904 and 1908, making them structurally unsound. The Gateway program would include building two new tunnels under the Hudson to replace the existing, deteriorating tunnels. This would allow for a one-seat solution for Rockland County commuters.
Schleifer also calls for federal investment into the development of a high-speed ferry directly from Haverstraw and Ossining into New York City. The high-speed ferry would have to pass environmental standards and include renewable energy sources as proposed by local groups, such as the Hudson Riverkeeper. However, such a ferry would allow residents on both sides of the river to commute into New York City in roughly forty minutes from existing ports. Schleifer points to studies that show the strong correlation between long commute times and public health issues. Currently, too many residents in Rockland have to wait for a bus across the Tappan Zee Bridge in order to catch the train in Westchester. A high-speed ferry, combined with one-seat rail from Rockland, would greatly reduce unhealthy commute times.
Schleifer notes that nine of the bridges in the 17th District have a rating of “poor and structurally deficient” from a national transportation research nonprofit. Six of these aging bridges in Rockland County are in Clarkstown, Chestnut Ridge, Nyack, Ramapo, and Suffern. Three of these bridges in Westchester are in Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, and Mount Pleasant. Most of these bridges carry an average of over 100,000 vehicles per day.
Schleifer’s plan also prioritizes the repair of existing roads and bridges. Specifically, he calls for a major increase in federal funding to repair deteriorating roads and bridges on the Federal-aid Highway System to ensure cost-effective and safe passenger travel. A portion of this new funding would be available on an incentive basis to encourage cities and states to propose and achieve ambitious performance goals for improving local infrastructure. In Congress, he will also push for a bipartisan plan that ensures the sustainability of the Federal Highway Trust Fund in order to prevent our roads and bridges from returning to a state of disrepair after an immediate investment.
Schleifer notes that some roads, such as Routes 202 and 9W by the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Rockland, have been the subject of multiple roadway improvement projects but continue to have problems. In Congress, he will join Senator Schumer to push a three-point plan to improve such roads: first, municipalities will identify needed road repairs; second, a Federal Highway Administration audit must be performed to specify recommendations to boost safety; and third, those recommendations must be prioritized for federal funding through the Transportation Improvement Program and other federal vehicles so that construction can begin immediately.
Additionally, Schleifer is proposing a Green Job Corps as part of his National Service Plan, so that Rockland and Westchester residents who work for nonprofits and government agencies that improve the energy-efficient infrastructure and transportation of the Hudson Valley can make a good living and earn scholarships for college or vocational training.
Schleifer is also announcing his National Service Plan that would pay for one year of higher education or vocational training for every year a person works in the public sector. Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T (Investment in Necessary, Volume-reducing, Efficient, Structures and Transportation) Fund is outlined here:
Federal investment in 21st-century infrastructure on both sides of the river.
Work toward a one-seat solution for Rockland commuters while pushing NJ Transit to increase existing rail traffic through Secaucus and rolling out an electric-powered bus program with dedicated lanes.
Fund high-speed ferries to make better use of our waterways as arteries of transit.
Improve our roads and bridges.