Releasing the Fourth Regional Plan for the Tri-State Area

by Gregory Stewart

The Regional Plan Association released their Fourth Regional Plan on November 30 at The New School. This plan is the culmination of five years of research and development of a program aimed at addressing the ills of the tri-state area. The Fourth Regional Plan includes 61 specific recommendations to achieve greater equity, shared prosperity, better health, and sustainability. It also represents an important opportunity to continue a civic dialogue that breaks through the short-term thinking of the pastThe investments and policies proposed by the RPA aim to reduce inequality and improve the lives of the region’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents. The goal is that by 2040, the tri-state region should sharply reduce poverty, end homelessness, close gaps in health and wealth that exist along racial, ethnic, and gender lines, and become one of the least segregated regions in the nation instead of one of the most segregated.The Fourth Regional Plan provides a roadmap to address health inequalities rooted in the built environment to create a healthier future for all. By 2040, conditions should exist such that everyone is able to live longer and be far less likely to suffer from mental illness or chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, with low-income, Black and Hispanic residents seeing the greatest improvements.The actions of the Fourth Regional Plan will create the robust and broad-based economic growth needed to lift all incomes and support a healthier, more resilient region. By 2040, the tri-state region should create two million jobs in accessible locations, substantially increase real incomes for all households, and achieve a major boost in jobs and incomes for residents in the region’s poorer cities and neighborhoods.To flourish in the era of climate change, the fourth plan proposes a new relationship with nature that recognizes our built and natural environments as an integrated whole. The region should be nearing its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent, eliminating the discharge of raw sewage into its rivers and harbor, and greatly improving its resilience to flooding and extreme heat caused by climate change. RPA proposes that the region execute the plan by making changes in four action areas that represent major challenges and areas of opportunity; those are institutions, transportation, climate change, and affordability.Amidst the 61 recommendations to make our region more equitable, healthy, sustainable, and prosperous, the RPA has laid out the following key recommendations on their website.

  1. Reform regional transportation authorities and reduce the costs of building new transit projects.

  2. Price greenhouse gas emissions using California’s comprehensive approach.

  3. Establish a Regional Coastal Commission and state adaptation trust funds.

  4. Increase civic engagement at the local level and make planning and development more inclusive, predictable, and efficient.

  5. Levy charges and tolls to manage traffic and generate revenue.

  6. Modernize and expand New York City subways.

  7. Create a unified, integrated regional rail system and expand regional.

  8. Design streets for people and create more public space.

  9. Expand and redesign John F. Kennedy and Newark International airports.

  10. Strategically protect land to adapt to climate change and connect people with nature; establish a national park in the meadowlands and regional trail network.

  11. Create a greener, smarter energy grid.

  12. Preserve and create affordable housing in all communities.

  13. Create well-paying job opportunities throughout the region.

You can watch the livestream of the event here.