This Tuesday, a dozen members of RPA’s board of directors and staff went to Albany to brief members of the New York State Legislature on the Fourth Regional Plan, with a special focus on congestion pricing.
A special thanks to Senator Kaminsky for hosting many of his colleagues for a breakfast briefing and wide-ranging conversation about the Fourth Plan.
After the briefing, RPA staff walked the halls, meeting with over 20 Assembly members and Senators. Our team talked about why the FixNYC proposal would not only help the MTA raise revenue and modernize transit, but also reduce crippling traffic in midtown.
Since 2012, train delays have grown by 250 percent and traffic in Manhattan has slowed to the average of 4.7 miles per hour. Currently, congestion costs the City over $20 billion a year in lost time, fuel and business revenues – a number that will surely increase if there isn’t a plan put in place immediately. As one of the 61 recommendations in the Fourth Regional Plan, we are calling on legislators to use congestion pricing as one way to create new revenue streams to fix and modernize the region’s infrastructure.
From electeds, we heard a desire to have the more of the specific benefits and details of a congestion pricing program laid out for them to respond to. They also want more cooperation between the Mayor and the Governor, on this and other issues. There is still a variety of opinions on congestion pricing, but we heard more support from the Assembly side than in prior years.
Time is short to get action on congestion pricing this session, and that is part of why RPA recently joined a new coalition of business, labor, environmental and transportation advocates with a shared commitment to addressing New York City’s transportation crisis by enacting a comprehensive congestion pricing plan. The FixNYCTransit group will be turning up the volume in support for a comprehensive congestion pricing plan in the weeks ahead.