Governor Hochul: “[W]e begin to right the wrongs of the past. Because when people talk about transit deserts, and also transportation equity and racial equity, they seem to forget about this area for a long time. But finally, it's a day of reckoning. Finally, people recognize that this is a community that matters, and it matters deeply.”
Hochul: “It matters to me. It matters to your elected officials. And that's why we're so committed to this project. Because it defines us as a people, where we put our money is where our priorities are. And how all communities need to deserve to know they matter, that their communities are important to all of us.”
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul, Secretary Buttigieg, Majority Leader Schumer and Representative Espaillat made a transportation announcement in New York City.
VIDEO of the entire event is available to view here.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Good morning. Today, we begin to right the wrongs of the past. Because when people talk about transit deserts, and also transportation equity and racial equity, they seem to forget about this area for a long time. But finally, it's a day of reckoning. Finally, people recognize that this is a community that matters, and it matters deeply.
So, why are all the other transportation projects, and they’re wonderful projects, but have been stalled since the 1930s. Yes, we had a depression. Then 50 years ago, they thought it was going to happen under Governor Rockefeller. We went into the tunnel yesterday. We saw where he started the work. But all of a sudden, other priorities took precedence. Other areas of the city and the state are considered more important for some reason. And then, things have started to change. Leadership matters.
It matters, number one, that we have the President of the United States who understands to his core how transportation dollars are not just money, just numbers, how deeply they affect people's lives when they're done right and invested in communities that have been ignored for too long. It also matters when you have leadership in the United States Senate. Now I'm going to go out here on a limb and say, we're doing a lot better With Chuck Schumer as the Majority Leader for the United States Senate. Now he did good as Minority Leader, but we need to keep him as Majority Leader, right? We're doing better. And members of Congress who are so passionate about this project. Charlie Rangel, I wish this had happened under your tenure. It should have happened. But the stars did not align, the money wasn't there, but you were dogging your determination to keep this alive.
Adriano Espaillat, will you stop calling me about the Second Avenue Subway once and for all? We served in Congress together. I'm from Buffalo. Why are you talking to me about this? I was from Buffalo at the time. But it kept on and on and on and your persistence has truly paid off. Jerry Nadler, ensuring that we have the resources as well. A great fighter. Our Federal Transportation Administration, all of you from the community who stood up and said, “Look at us, we matter. We're here. Don't forget about us. We want to get to our jobs easier. We'd like to save 20 to 25 minutes. We'd like to see our kids a little more often. We'd like to have access to better paying jobs than other parts of Manhattan and Westchester.” Some say Connecticut, but don't go there. Stay in New York.
It matters to me. It matters to your elected officials. And that's why we're so committed to this project. Because it defines us as a people, where we put our money is where our priorities are. And how all communities need to deserve to know they matter, that their communities are important to all of us.
And I want to thank Janno Lieber, and all the members of the MTA, who have pushed so hard for this. And he's got countless projects on the books and on the table, and now the shovels are going in the ground, and this is a great week for our state and for our city. Janno Lieber, let's give him a round of applause as well, and all the men and women of MTA. But when I know there's going to be union workers on a job site, I know this is a great day. Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a huge round of applause to the men and women who build our city and build our state every single day. The hardest working people you're ever going to meet. I come from labor, construction, steel workers, plumbers, laborers, that's in my blood. So, I have an appreciation for what every single one of you do.
Secretary Pete, you have listened to us. You've come so often. Mitch Landrieu's first day on the job, I was walking through the halls, haunting him about this project. You were there as well. You heard us and you listened. And I thank you and the entire administration for all you have done as well, showing up matters in this business. You have been here for us, and we will not take that for granted. And money is important. Now, thank you for the $3.4 billion. That's almost as high as my $4 billion. But who's keeping track? So, if you want to go a little higher, okay? We got a little competition going here. You know, I don't want to leave any money on the table, but New York State's putting a hell of a lot of money in this too, okay? And we're doing it because it's important and it's the right thing to do.
And that's what today is about, everybody. So, let's celebrate. I'm going to take a minute before I have to go to, I'm sorry, another event, but we're going to sign this. Okay. We're going to make this official. Let's call up our leaders and sign this document, this agreement because this is how we're going to make the magic happen.
Thank you, everybody. Next stop, 125th.