City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and transportation committee chair Jimmy Vacca gave better service for New York City bus riders a boost yesterday, speaking in favor of bus lane enforcement legislation currently making its way through Albany. The legislation is a critical component in the city’s plans to expand and enhance Select Bus Service, including the route on First and Second Avenues officially announced yesterday.
While the state legislature will ultimately decide the fate of the bus cam bill, before that can happen, the City Council has to pass a "home rule message" supporting the measure. At a meeting of the council’s Democratic caucus yesterday, both Quinn and Vacca spoke in support of bus lane cameras.
"The discussion was very positive," said Vacca. "If we’re asking people to get out of their cars, it’s helpful, especially in Manhattan, to allow people to get into buses that move faster. This will help buses move faster."
The council may vote on the home rule request as soon as tomorrow.
In Albany, the Senate Transportation Committee will vote on the bus cam bill today. A reliable source tells us that he expects the bill to pass the transportation committee and the full Senate soon.
The Assembly, however, has always been the heavier lift for bus lane cameras. The same source tells us that transportation committee chair David Gantt remains opposed to camera enforcement and that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who could advance the legislation at any time, has given no indication of which way he’s leaning.
The bill currently has 47 sponsors, 19 of whom serve on the 26-person transportation committee. The main sponsor in the Assembly, Jonathan Bing, has filed a procedural motion that will guarantee a vote in committee if the City Council passes a home rule message. Without the approval of Silver and the Assembly leadership, however, that vote could still go nowhere, despite broad support on the committee.