Plan Unveiled Thursday; If Enacted, Will Create $4.5B Fund to Expand, Improve Transit Infrastructure
By Sam Anderson
Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Elected officials and transportation advocates gathered beneath the 125th Street Metro North station in Harlem for a press conference on Thursday to unveil the Move NY Fair Plan, a new piece of legislation that, if enacted, will redistribute the cost of tolls throughout the city and create a $4.5 billion Transit Gap Investment Fund to expand and improve transit infrastructure.
Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez of Manhattan’s 68th District is sponsoring the bill, with 14 additional assemblymembers as co-sponsors.
The Move NY plan is designed to reduce tolls on outerborough crossings like the Triboro, Whitestone and Throg’s Neck bridges by up to 48 percent while implementing new tolls on East River crossings such as the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges. The first aim of the plan is to reduce overall traffic congestion by harmonizing tolls around the city, and incentivizing drivers to stick to the highways instead of cutting through residential neighborhoods and the central business district of Manhattan. The second aim is to create a dedicated revenue stream for the chronically under-funded MTA, so transit will no longer have to compete with other departments for a place in the city budget.
Advocates say the plan will generate more than $1.3 billion per year, create 30,000 new local jobs and significantly decrease traffic in the most congested parts of the city.
Move NY is the transportation advocacy group that authored the plan in collaboration with locally famous traffic engineer “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz. Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen said, “Today we stand at the dawn of a new era. We’ve opened a new chapter in this campaign to bring a rational, equitable, and fair tolling system and transit investment program to New York City.”
Move NY has been advocating for the plan for more than a year, but today marks the first time it is being introduced as legislation.
Rodriguez says, “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address some of the biggest [weaknesses] in our transit system. The plan will provide a steady and significant source of revenue for the MTA, allow transit starved communities to fund critical improvement projects and relieve congestion.”
View the Move NY Fair Plan at http://iheartmoveny.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015-MNY-Final-Ex-Sum-copy.pdf.