Thursday, April 25, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News November 25-December 1, 2023

NYC’s $15 congestion toll  (right); NJ announces Safe Streets to Transit grants • Why isn’t Hawaii building the affordable housing it needs? • Rwanda works to address growing air quality threat (left top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Courtesy of the MTA

NEW YORK—NYC Congestion Pricing: Panel Recommends $15 Toll to Drive into Manhattan with Discounts for Some Motorists
Erik Bascome, Silive, November 30 2023
The Traffic Mobility Review Board has recommended a $15 toll for passenger vehicles entering Manhattan’s Central Business District, as part of the MTA congestion pricing program. The toll takes into consideration low-income drivers and would them provide a 50 percent discount for the first 10 trips taken each month. While the toll is capped at once per day, it there will be a separate overnight charge. Congestion pricing is intended to reduce vehicle emissions and increase MTA bus and subway ridership.


NJ TOD News

Courtesy of The Gateway Program

Gateway Tunnel Construction Finally Starts, With Ground Broken on the Jersey Side
Larry Higgs, NJ.com, November 30 2023
The groundbreaking ceremony for the $16 billion Gateway Project marks a significant milestone and revives a project once canceled in 2010. With support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the rail tunnel under the Hudson River project to improve transportation efficiency along the Northeast Corridor. Expected to be completed in the fall of 2025, the Gateway project represents a significant investment in U.S. infrastructure development.

Rendering of ferry terminal. Courtesy of the City of South Amboy, NJ

Booker Announces $13M for New Jersey Ferry Operations Improvements
Official Website of Senator Cory Booker, November 29 2023
U.S. Senator Cory Booker has announced the award of $13 million in grants from the Federal Transit Administration’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program, aimed to benefit New Jersey commuter ferry operations. NY Waterway will receive $6.9 million to convert two vessels to battery electric propulsion systems, enhancing service and air quality. The City of South Amboy will receive $6 million to construct a new floating dock, supporting regional ferry service between Central Jersey and Manhattan.

Courtesy of the Governor’s Office. Rich Hundley III | Flickr
Courtesy of the Governor’s Office. Rich Hundley III | Flickr

CBT Surcharge Debate Heats Up as Revenues Drop
Bob Hennelly, Insider NJ, November 28 2023
Gov. Phil Murphy has confirmed his intention to allow the state’s Corporate Business Tax (CBT) Surcharge to expire by the end of this year. New Jersey enacted the surcharge, which includes a 2.5 percent temporary surtax, in 2018 and increased the state’s levy for businesses with profit above $1 million from 9 to 11.5 percent. Murphy argues that the tax’s expiration will allow the state to be competitive in attracting businesses. Meanwhile, others argue that the reinstatement of the CBT could be a funding source for the financially stressed NJ TRANSIT.

Courtesy of NJDOT

Murphy Administration Announces $13.6 Million in FY 2024 Safe Streets to Transit Program Grants to Improve Pedestrian Safety
Press Release, NJDOT, November 28 2023
Gov. Murphy announced $13.6 million for Fiscal Year 2024 Safe Streets to Transit Program (SSTT) grants, funding 29 projects in 12 counties. The SSTT program, a pedestrian safety initiative helping counties and municipalities improve the overall safety and accessibility for mass transit riders, also supports efforts to reduce congestion and encourage transit usage. The grants range from $68,000 to $1 million and will support a host of accessibility improvements including those aimed at intersection safety, traffic calming efforts, sidewalk improvements, and traffic light system replacement.


Transit and Equity News

Adobe Stock | Felix Mizioznikov

HAWAII—Hawaii Doesn’t Build the Housing Units Locals Need
Micah Hicks, CB Ideas, November 30 2023
Housing initiatives, such as the State’s Chapter 201H exemption program, which also allows developers to request expedited processing, aim to address Hawaii’s housing availability and affordability crisis. The measure currently relies on a single metric, the area median income (AMI), which has limited its effectiveness as developers meet requirements but fail to build housing that fulfills local need. A recent project, Kuilei Place illustrates the problem. Approved through a 201H process, the project includes units deemed “affordable,” but three-quarters of which cost more than market units.

Courtesy of MARTA

GEORGIA—Another Transit-Oriented MARTA Development Officially Underway
Josh Green, Urbanize Atlanta, November 27 2023
This week, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) begun work on Kensington Station, a project in Decatur. Development on the 4.3-acre property, located just east of the station, will comprise fully affordable housing, including a 74-unit senior living community and a 186-unit family community, as well office and community space, including 5,000 sq. ft. for the Housing Authority of DeKalb County (HADC) headquarters. The area near Kensington Station offers an excellent environment for mixed-used development and should support up to 22,000 sq. ft. of traditional retail space and 30,000 sq. ft. service-oriented office spaces.


Regional and National TOD News

Courtesy of Spinnaker Real Estate Partners

CONNECTICUT—Plans for South Norwalk ‘Blighted’ Site Near Train Station to Bring More People to CT, LT. Gov Says
Katherine Lutge, The Hour, November 28 2023
A 200-unit mixed-use development project near the South Norwalk Station has received a $1.3 million grant from the State’s Brownfield Remediation and Development Program. The project aims to renew the blighted, vacant site and provide market-rate and affordable housing, with 10 percent of units designated as workforce housing with enhanced walkability. The Spinnaker Real Estate Partners will include 294 parking spaces, with 60 public parking spaces on the site.

Courtesy of the State of Delaware

DELAWARE—New $90M+ Claymont Rail Station Brings Potential
Jacob Owens, Delaware Business Times, November 27 2023
With work completed on a replacement rail station in Claymont, the new Harris B. McDowell III Transportation Center will begin offering SEPTA train and DART bus service on December 4th.  The $90 million replacement project, supported by $51 million in Federal Transit Administration funding and another $38 million from the State of Delaware, included ADA improvements, a 464-space covered parking garage, and a 343-space outdoor lot. The new station paves the way for local development, including a planned 1,200 homes northeast of the station and retail space.

Michael DeFreitas/Danita/Delimont | Adobe Stock

How Hong Kong and Singapore Could Inspire Hawaii’s Transit-Oriented Development Plans
Emily Cristobal, Hawaii News, November 23 2023
As Hawaii searches for solutions to its housing crisis, state lawmakers look towards Singapore and Hong Kong and their use of transit-oriented development as models. Both city-states have mastered density within areas smaller than the island of Oahu and accommodate five to seven times its population. For such models to be effective in Hawaii. State officials would need to support accessible public transportation and affordable housing near transit and seek out private partners.


International TOD News

Downtown Kigali, Rwanda. F.C.G. | Adobe Stock

RWANDA—Congested Cities: The Growing Threat of Poor Air Quality in Africa
The Star, November 25 2023
As cities across the African continent rapidly grow, Rwanda seeks ways to address the challenges from this growth and has set a goal to convert a third of motorcycles (or motos, as they are known) to e-bikes by 2030. Motorbike taxi drivers in the capital Kigali recognize the health issues arising from exhaust fumes and have begun to switch to electric bikes. While it’s an important change, Carol Mungo, an energy and climate expert at the Stockholm Environment Institute Africa (SEI Africa), emphasizes the need for an advanced public transit system. The UN states that by 2063, air pollution in Africa could potentially cause as many as 1.6 million premature deaths per year.