There's a lot of challengers facing the city, state and nation in the coming year, and we thought we would list a few things we hope have a positive, rather than negative, outcome over the next 12 months.
• State of the Subways: It really couldn't have been much worse for mass transit in 2017. The constant delays and signal breakdowns led many to dub it the “Summer of Hell” and it was hard to argue with that assessment. It's bad enough riding the trains in the stifling heat, it's unbearable being stuck on one or standing on a crowded platform waiting.
There's been a lot of passing the buck between the governor and the mayor on this issue, with each one blaming the other for failing to adequately fund the mass transit system to keep it in a state of good repairs.
And while there is plenty the city can do, ultimately the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a state agency, and it 's up to the governor to make sure it is properly funded to ensure it remains safe and reliable.
• New York State's Budget Deficit: Of course, finding the money to fund the MTA is going to be difficult with the state facing a $4 billion budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year. And with 2018 being an election year, we can't imagine lawmakers are going to be too eager to make the hard decisions that will have to be made to keep the state fiscally solvent.
Let's hope bipartisanship in Albany can take a backseat in the interest of the state as a whole.
• The Homeless Crisis: At last but not least (and probably not last either, but we only have so much space) is the plight of the homeless. It's time that a longterm solution finally be put in place to deal with this growing humanitarian crisis.
Large shelters in residential communities are never going to be popular, so it's time for the city and state to work together and bring back programs of the past that helped families stay in their homes when they came upon hard times, and not put them into the shelter system where they are usually shuttled off somewhere far from their kids' schools, their jobs, and their support network.
It's not a handout, it's just a helping hand.
You might not think that the homeless issue affects you beyond keeping shelters our of your neighborhood, but the current system focuses primarily on getting people a roof over their head, often in hotels, and very rarely on the other critical infrastructure.
That means an influx of new temporary students in classrooms and strains on mass transit and other services, from medical to social.
The homeless issue is affecting us all, so we should all place a premium on solving it. Besides, it's just the right thing to do to give children a stable home.
Happy New year, and here's to staying positive about 2018.