Tech:NYC provided the following testimony at the New York City Council Task Force on BQX Oversight Hearing:
“My name is Bryan Lozano and I am the Manager of External Affairs for Tech:NYC. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
“Tech:NYC is a nonprofit association with the mission of supporting the technology industry in New York through increased engagement between our more than 750 member companies, New York government, and the community at large. Tech:NYC works everyday to foster a dynamic, diverse, and creative ecosystem, ensuring New York is the best place to start and grow a technology company.
“Today, New York City’s tech ecosystem is stronger than ever and New York has become a global hub of innovation. The New York tech ecosystem now boasts more than 333,000 jobs and 9,000 startups, and tech has a significant impact on our city’s economic well-being. As the tech industry continues to grow, companies are regularly looking to establish offices beyond Manhattan's central business district and locate throughout the five boroughs. This pattern of growth limits congestion and crowding, and it helps ensure a greater number of communities benefit from economic growth.
“However, our public transportation system does not adequately account for current growth trends and has slowed tech companies’ efforts to embrace the outer-boroughs. Going forward, we must ensure our public transportation system accounts for outer-borough development and helps fuel geographically equitable growth.
“Brooklyn and Queens are two boroughs that have already seen significant growth. The corridor from Sunset Park to Astoria is already home to more than 500 tech companies, and is projected to have 56 million square feet of office space within the next ten years. Yet, there is no efficient public transportation that spans the entirety of the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront.
“Our City must address this lack of transportation by expanding the number of transportation options and the types of transportation options in the corridor. Having multi-modal transportation options—from trains to buses, from bikes to ferries—will be vital to the continued success of the area, and New York City as a whole.
“The BQX is one of the transportation options the City should pursue, as it would allow New Yorkers to more easily access jobs and it would help tech companies located in the corridor to attract employees. Just as importantly, the BQX would help connect thousands of New Yorkers, including 44,000 NYCHA residents, to workforce development opportunities and growing tech educational hubs in places like Downtown Brooklyn, which is home to NYU Tandon and CUNY Tech.
“It is clear that the growth of the tech sector is key to our city’s future. However, this growth and the pattern of growth are not predetermined. The city can and should take steps to ensure the tech sector grows in a diverse and equitable manner. A key step towards achieving this goal would be to build the BQX.
“We’d like to thank the City Council once again for holding a hearing on such an important project, and hope that they can commit to creating the BQX in the name of better transit for all New Yorkers.”