This week is the final week for Governor Cuomo and legislators in Albany to hash out the New York State budget. Transportation funding is a key issue being debated, so it’s a crucial time for those seeking solutions to transit delays and congestion.
RPA and many others have been advocating for the budget to include provisions laid out in the FixNYC panel recommendations, which take a phased approach to introduce a congestion charge for the most congested areas of NYC. It’s unclear at this moment how much of the recommendations will make it in the final cut.
RPA is calling on lawmakers today to ask them to include funding to start an environmental impact statement and the procurement of the equipment needed for a cordon fee. If this money is not allocated this year, it will push the timeline for the FixNYC plan back at least an entire year, delaying the flow of much needed revenues to the MTA.
We do know legislators are discussing some of the FixNYC ideas, including a fee on for-hire-vehicles. RPA believes this fee must be equal between yellow cabs and e-hail vehicles like Uber, Lyft, and Via. After all both of these types of vehicles take up the same amount of space, causing the same amount of congestion per trip. Legislators should also ensure that “pooled” trips (trips with more than one passenger) are not overly taxed. Single occupant vehicles are the least resource efficient, so should be treated as such.
Stay tuned for more news from Albany this week.