As architects, we understand the impact that infrastructure has on the built environment. The designs of our buildings are influenced by highways, bus routes, train lines, sidewalks, bridges, tunnels, and other things which fall under the umbrella of infrastructure.
The past few months have seen the debate surrounding the state of New York’s infrastructure take on national prominence. First and foremost is the Gateway Program, which would construct new rail tunnels under the Hudson River. They would supplement existing tunnels transporting hundreds of thousands of Amtrak and NJ Transit passengers each day. These tunnels are both overburdened by high ridership and damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Though President Obama promised to provide Gateway with significant federal funding, President Trump has tried to reverse course. While the recently passed Omnibus Spending Bill provides some federal funding for Gateway, the project’s long-term funding is still in doubt due to the President’s opposition. Without federal funding, new tunnels may never be built, bringing Amtrak and NJ Transit service to a halt.
Not only do we need significant federal funding for Gateway, but we need federal funding for a range of infrastructure improvements. Withdrawing the role of the federal government from funding infrastructure, as President Trump’s infrastructure plan would do, is poor policy.
Good infrastructure is integral to the stability and growth of the built environment in all places. New York’s building boom over the past few decades was spurred by our long-existing infrastructure and has been furthered by major infrastructure improvements.
We architects need to make our voices heard to our representatives. No one knows better than us how essential federal funding for infrastructure is to the growth of our towns and cities. I hope you will join me in making our opinions loud and clear.
Guy Geier, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP is the 2018 president of AIA New York and a managing partner at FXCollaborative Architects LLP, New York, N.Y.