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Sound Bites: NYC metro area leads the world in congestion

People drive vehicles in and out of the Lincoln Tunnel, coming and going between midtown Manhattan in New York City and New Jersey, in Weehawken, New Jersey.
Ted Shaffrey
People drive vehicles in and out of the Lincoln Tunnel, coming and going between midtown Manhattan in New York City and New Jersey, in Weehawken, New Jersey.

Good morning. According to the 2023 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, New York City is the most congested city among 37 countries worldwide. INRIX compiled travel delay comparisons, costs of congestion to drivers and regions and commuting trends for over 900 cities. 

New York drivers lost a total of approximately 101 hours from traffic jams last year — which beat out London by a couple of hours. This is 10 hours more than what New York drivers experienced before the COVID-19 pandemic. INRIX researchers cited an increase in ridesharing, online deliveries, and in-person work trips for this increase in New York City congestion.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has decided to shelve a congestion pricing plan that would charge motorists at least $15 for driving into Manhattan below 60th Street.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

Connecticut received $21.7 million in federal funding to address pedestrian safety. During the first five months of this year, there were more than 470 crashes involving pedestrians in Connecticut, according to the University of Connecticut’s Crash Data Repository. $2 million will be spent on a study to determine a bicycle and pedestrian route on the Berlin Turnpike. $5.7 million will go toward closing a 16-mile gap in the Naugatuck River Greenway Trail. And the remaining $14 million will fund the construction of new car, bike and pedestrian lanes around the South Norwalk train station.

Teachers are suing Nassau Community College after its Board of Trustees proposed eliminating 15 academic departments through consolidation. The trustees proposed this plan in order to deal with declining enrollment rates and save funds, but the union believes it will hurt the remaining students. The Federation of Teachers union is seeking a judgment to declare the plan was acted upon improperly and was a violation of lawful procedure. They hope the plan will be blocked before it is expected to go into effect in August.

Connecticut’s summer EBT cards will roll out benefits in August. According to the Department of Social Services, the state-funded benefits were supposed to be deposited on Sunday but were pushed back to August due to “unexpected delays.” S-EBT cards are part of a new national program from the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. 273,000 children are expected to receive $120 for three months once benefits are distributed in the state.

A dispute between the Nassau County Police Department and its district attorney was resolved. For the last four months, the police and DA Anne Donnelly have been debating over who had access to officer misconduct records after prosecutor subpoenas for case records were thrown out by the police department. Prosecutor Fred Klein claimed the dispute was only resolved after a case involving the death of two Roslyn teens was threatened with interference. Donnelly has already begun processing records following the resolution.

The Town of Riverhead was awarded $24 million for downtown economic development. The federal RAISE grant assists municipalities with infrastructure projects nationwide. Nearly $15 million will be used to build a new parking garage; the other $9 million will be used for flood mitigation and local street improvements. This grant is the largest funding award in the town’s history.

New Haven’s school board updated its budget for the next fiscal year. The updated budget was made after the board’s initial budget in May resulted in a $11.8 million gap. Now, there is only a $2.4 million gap. They made class sizes larger, eliminated bus routes, maximized grants and found cost savings in contracted services. Mayor Justin Elicker plans to work with Superintendent Madeline Negrón to close the remaining gap, with funds possibly from the city’s budget surplus — to avoid layoffs.

The Suffolk County Water Authority is asking customers to conserve water use.  The public water supplier said they are experiencing high demand with water storage tanks reaching low levels and residents seeing low water pressure in their homes. They recommend reducing the watering of lawns to at most every other day and choosing to water lawns in the evening hours between 6 p.m. and midnight. Another way to conserve water indoors is reducing shower times and only running the dishwasher and washing machine when it's full.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.