Roosevelt Island Opens New State-of-the-Art Aerial Tramway System

Built for the 21st Century: New Tram Provides Long Term, Dependable Service for Residents, Businesses, Tourists

ROOSEVELT ISLAND, NY (11/30/2010)(readMedia)-- The completely rebuilt Roosevelt Island Tramway opened today, following a nine-month modernization project which replaced the previous 33-year-old tram system. The new tram reduces travel time, permits both cabins to start on the side with highest demand during rush hour, and includes extensive safety measures. The tram system is managed by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a New York State Public Benefit Corporation in charge of the management of Roosevelt Island.

"Roosevelt Island's Tramway is once again the most modern urban aerial transportation system in the world," said Leslie Torres, President of RIOC, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new tram. "It's built to serve residents, business, and tourists for the next thirty (30) years." Roosevelt Island is currently home to approximately 12,000 residents, open spaces, recreation areas, six landmarks, schools, and shops. The Tram continues to be part of the Metro Card fare system, providing free transfers to buses and subways. The infrastructure improvement was funded through a $15 million investment from the State of New York and $10 million from RIOC.

The Tram was designed to be more stable in high winds, eliminate impact of electrical and mechanical malfunctions, and allow for one cabin to continue operations while the other undergoes preventive maintenance. According to Brian Lawler, Commissioner and CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, "We created this tram with the convenience and safety of Roosevelt Island residents, businesses and tourist in mind. A state-of-the-art tram helps further our mission to create a model community of mixed-income housing, small businesses and plenty of open, green space to serve both island residents and the larger City community."

Key innovations for the new Tram include:

•Two separate Tram systems. Each cable track operates independently of the other, allowing for preventive maintenance and other servicing on one side, while maintaining service on the other.

•Cabins that are attached to a double hanger arms, providing for a more stable ride. The cabins of the previous system were suspended from a single hanger arm.

•Built-in operational and electrical back-ups including a separate motor for each cabin, back-up motors for the cabins, and four (4) back-up generators.

Pomagalski, S.A. (Poma), one of two companies world-wide capable of rebuilding the tram, was awarded the design/build contract in 2008, after a competitive selection process. POMA worked closely with local trades and contractors, under the supervision of RIOC and its engineering team consisting of New York based LiRo Engineering and Thornton Tomasetti, and Shea, Carr, Jewel of Denver, Colorado. During the rebuilding process, New York based contractors and employees were retained by Poma to the greatest extent possible. Leitner-Poma, the American affiliate has a five (5) year operating agreement to run the Tram with a New York based crew.

"I have loved New York City since my very first visit in the late 1970's and I find it to be the most fascinating, vibrant and dynamic city of the world," said Michael Seeber, majority shareholder of the Leitner-Poma Group. "For me it is a dream to know that an innovative product from our Group is adding to the glamour and excitement of the Big Apple!"

"We welcome the launch of the state-of-the-art Roosevelt Island Tram," said Senator Gillibrand. "Important, new upgrades to the aerial service over the East River are long overdue and will result in smoother, safer travels. These historic trams will once again be able to provide millions of passengers with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline."

"The tram is not just a vibrant symbol of all that is unique about Roosevelt Island – it's an only-in-New York icon of our great city just like the Empire State Building or Grand Central Station. It's also an extremely active, critical mode of mass transit, and I am delighted to join its thousands of riders in welcoming it back and better than ever!" said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

"The Roosevelt Island tram is an iconic New York landmark. After months of renovations, Roosevelt Islanders will once again be able to enjoy the unique views and experience the tram as part of their daily commute. I'm excited to be here for the inaugural ride and I look forward to many more rides in the years to come," said Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.

"As the Roosevelt Island community continues to expand, it is important that its facilities and services reflect that growth. The extensive improvements to the tramway system will greatly benefit New York, as they will continue to ensure a safe, fast, and reliable ride for both residents and visitors of the island for years to come. We have all been anxiously anticipating this inaugural ride, and I would like to thank the RIOC Board and its President, Leslie Torres, for all of their labors, which have made it possible for commuters and tourists to now enjoy the increased efficiency of the modernized Tram," said Senator José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx):

The tram modernization project was completed on budget and in 9-months time. "This major infrastructure improvement is an example of government at its most efficient. RIOC is thankful for the help, support, and cooperation of Commissioner Joseph Bruno of the Office of Emergency Management, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn, and Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, Police Commissioner Kelly, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, Department of Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro, Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert Limandri and MTA Chairman Walder. We are also thankful for the help and support of the RIOC Board, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, and Community Board 8. Last, but not least, we are thankful to Governor Patterson, without whose support this project would not be possible," said Mrs. Torres at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York was created by State statute in 1984 with responsibility for the operation and development of Roosevelt Island. A General Development Plan, which accompanied the 1969 Ground Lease between New York City and State, directed the development of "a new community" specifically providing for mixed income housing, an abundance of open space, protection of its six (6) City landmarked buildings, protection of the environment and innovative solutions to New York's technology requirements. ".. a demonstration of modern planners' capacity to harness technology for human use, while enhancing rather than degrading the environment.…", according to a 1976 editorial marking the naming of Roosevelt Island after our 32 President. The Roosevelt Island Plan is now nearly complete. The Four Freedoms Park, a memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is under construction and three more residential buildings are expected within the next few years. The Tram's redesign anticipates increased usage over the coming years.