Unique Symposium of Top Transit Executives, Academics and Labor Leaders From City, State, and Washington, DC

New York University and City College today brought together transit executives, academic experts and labor leaders in a national conference on important capital public transportation projects and innovative models of management and finance from across the country.

The annual conference, called the Tri-State Transit Symposium, is the only conference of its kind in the New York region to focus on public transportation issues.

Held at the CUNY Graduate Center, the symposium was hosted by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School for Public Service and the University Transportation Research Center at City College.

“We are proud to sponsor this important and unique conference,” said Elliot G. Sander, director of the NYU Wagner School’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management. “It is rare that transit leaders and experts of this caliber join together in an informed debate on one of the most economically vital areas of public policy that government and public agencies can address.”

Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, dean of the Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service, said, “Our Center is THE place to discuss and develop new ideas of how we can all get from point A to point B more efficiently. Our Center brings together transit experts and executives to discuss the issues, continue the debate, and strengthen policy.”

The keynote speaker was Lawrence Reuter, president of MTA/NYC Transit, who described the progress on MTA expansion projects like the Second Avenue Subway, east-side access to the Long Island Railroad, and the extension of the 7-train to the west side of Manhattan. Mr. Reuter’s participation was particularly significant because these projects represent the first system expansion that the MTA has undergone in 25 years.

“Our capital program moved forward on all fronts, rehabilitating infrastructure, advancing construction projects and introducing sophisticated technology,” Mr. Reuter said. “Now, for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, we can begin the planning for new subway routes to improve access for our customers.”

William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, the industry’s umbrella organization, delivered the conference luncheon address. Mr. Millar spoke of the federal view of transit issues in the 21st century, including the importance of TEA-21, the successor to the landmark ISTEA legislation of 1991. Introducing Mr. Millar was Rae Zimmerman, Wagner School professor and director of the school’s Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems.

“Last year was a year of continued growth for public transportation,” Mr. Millar said. “In the past five years, ridership on the nation’s public transportation systems has grown by over 20 percent.”

Two panel discussions highlighted the conference program. Panelists for the first session, entitled, “Successful Transit Projects in the Region,” included Kenneth Bauer, acting president of the Long Island Railroad; Peter Cannito, president of Metro-North; Michael Ascher, president of MTA Bridges and Tunnels; and James Weinstein, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. These participants addressed important topics as the north access to Grand Central Terminal, station renovations, and the EZ Pass system.

he second panel discussion, moderated by Roy Sparrow, professor of public administration at the Wagner School and director of education programs at NYU’s Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems, focused on “New Models of Transit Governance.” Panelists for this session included: John Porcari, State of Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation; Dr. Robert Paaswell, director of City College’s University Transportation Research Center; Jean-Claude Ziv, professor and chair of Transport, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers; and Arthur Goldberg, of the Transit Workers of America.

The Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management conducts research, education, and public service in the field of urban transportation policy and management. Based at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and jointly sponsored by Polytechnic University, the Institute of Public Administration and the University Transportation Research Center, the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management performs work on a regional, national, and international level.

The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service was established in 1938 and has since grown to become the pre-imminent school for public administration and urban planning in the nation. The Wagner School offers advanced programs leading to the professional degrees of Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Management, and Doctor of Philosophy. Through these state-of-the-art programs, the Wagner School educates the future leaders of public, nonprofit and health institutions as well as private organizations serving the public sector.

New York University, established in 1831, is one of the largest and most prestigious private research universities in the United States. Through its 13 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, dentistry, education, nursing, business, social work, the cinematic and performing arts, public administration and policy, and continuing studies, among other areas.

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