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Albany Reform

$300+ Million in Bus Improvements Held Hostage in Albany

4:39 PM EDT on July 10, 2007

One of the most destructive pieces of misinformation currently floating around the New York State Assembly is this oft-repeated line from Richard Brodsky's newly released report:

The City has no plan to improve mass transit prior to theimplementation of congestion pricing. This is a serious if not fataldefect in the proposal in the opinion of both supporters and opponentsof congestion pricing.

This is incorrect. The City does have plans to make significant mass transit improvements prior to the launch of congestion pricing. These plans have the potential to vastly improve the bus riding experience in New York City.

Here, for you to download, is the budget that New York City submitted as a part of its $500 million grant application to the United States Dept. of Transportation. As you can see, the City has requested $306 million for buses and bus-related infrastructure improvements. The budget also shows an additional, estimated $62 million or so coming in from state and local sources.

This new funding will be used to launch New York City's Bus Rapid Transit program. It will be used to roll out 400 new buses on the streets of New York -- more new buses than London got rolling prior to the start of congestion pricing in that city. The funding will also go towards automated bus lane enforcement, bus signal priority, pedestrian improvements around bus stops and new bus lanes on the East River Bridges.

In short, this funding will go towards revolutionizing New York City's bus system and making New York City's streets vastly more efficient for transportation.

It will be difficult, if not impossible, for New York City to make bus improvements as quickly or extensively without the funding and traffic reductions generated by congestion pricing.

State legislators: Wake up.

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