Fix the Subways and Tame Traffic
Delays on the subway have more than tripled over the last five years. Our bridges and roadways are in disrepair and traffic speeds continue to fall. Communities are cut off from jobs and economic opportunity. The solutions are clear if not easy. Panelists will discuss how to give commuters better options with ideas like congestion pricing, highway tolling and value capture.
Create More Homes with the Buildings We Have
Construction is just one way to address the region’s severe housing shortage. Other less expensive and time-consuming strategies include allowing accessory dwelling units as-of-right, prioritizing primary occupancy in areas with tight housing markets, and reforming short-term-letting policies to prevent homes from being taken off the market for hotel use. Panelists will discuss how states and municipalities can release this “hidden housing” to reduce both housing costs and residential segregation in the region.
The Future of Suburban and Outer Borough Mobility
Suburban communities have long struggled with the cost of providing high quality transit in lower density areas. Neighborhoods in urban areas that are far from transit service, so-called “transit deserts," face similar challenges. New technologies like on-demand buses, car- and ride-sharing are revolutionizing what is possible in these areas. Panelists will discuss if and how these new technologies (as well as autonomous vehicles) will reshape how suburban residents live, and what role the government should play in setting rules and regulations to ensure that high quality mobility is accessible to all residents.
Expand the Region’s Carbon Market
Since it was created 10 years ago, the region's carbon market, RGGI, has helped to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. But the region has yet to capture the benefits that other places around the nation including most notably, California, are reaping from expanding beyond a single-sector approach. In this region transportation accounts for close to half of regional emissions, but is not part of the carbon market. Panelists will discuss ways that transportation emissions can be dramatically reduced in ways that improve efficiency and generate valuable revenue for further community and infrastructure investments.
Integrate and Expand the Commuter Rail Network
Combining the region’s three commuter railroads into one integrated network would dramatically improve options for commuters, give employers a far bigger employee base to draw from, and unleash the economic potential of places from Newark to Bridgeport, Naussau County to the Bronx to Paterson and beyond. Panelists will discuss the steps involved in creating this regional rail network—from extending the proposed Gateway project to Queens, to creating more physical connections between the railroads, to reforming the way the agencies work together.
Grow the Middle Class in a Technology-Charged Economy
While economists debate technology's impacts on productivity, job growth and incomes, entire industries from transportation to retail are undergoing a wave of automation now. Meanwhile, new jobs are emerging in fields from technology to health care. Growing the region’s middle class in this economy will require a wide range of actions—supporting middle-income job creation with land use and development policies, recasting education and job training to continually upgrade skills, transitioning workers to new occupations as we modernize infrastructure and service delivery, creating new types of benefits and income supports for an increasingly mobile and insecure workforce. Panelists will discuss how reforming these policies can address the loss of existing jobs while expanding opportunity.
Invest in the Region’s Flagship Places
The Fourth Regional Plan provides broad strategies to promote prosperity in communities across the region, but each community has their own specific needs and priorities. This session will explore what a wide range of different communities across the region are doing today to provide more housing affordability, improve commutes, prepare for climate change, and enhance health and quality of life.
Institute and Fund a Regional Coastal Commission
More than five years after Superstorm Sandy, there are still too many communitues across our region that remain vulnerable. Efforts to improve resilience are still disjointed and have been far too limited in scope. A Regional Coastal Commission with dedicated funding would provide the institutional structure to collaborate across borders, as well as fund and advance more resilience projects more rapidly. Panelists will describe how this commission is both a continuation of existing resilience efforts and a radical upgrade in the three states’ ability to prepare for a changing coastline.