Silver Calls Hearing on Pricing and MTA Capital Plan

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will hold a hearing Thursday on how congestion pricing revenues would figure into the MTA’s five-year capital plan. He will be joined by anti-pricing Assembly Members Richard Brodsky and Denny Farrell.

The Sun reports:

The MTA’s executive director, Elliot Sander, who will testify at the hearing, has said Mr. Bloomberg’s plan to charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street would generate $4.5 billion in revenue, which the MTA could borrow on in advance. Even with the use of congestion fee funds, the MTA budget has a $9 billion shortfall.

Mr. Silver said in a statement yesterday that he is concerned that the congestion plan would not be fully funded and that it is unclear whether the proceeds from the traffic tax would be devoted to capital projects alone or to routine maintenance and operations.

The congestion pricing plan would qualify for $354 million in federal aid if passed by Albany and the City Council by March 31. Mr. Silver has said he would not support it unless it includes rebates for low-income drivers.

According to the hearing announcement, the assembly members will "seek information on the specific details associated with the proposed projects contained in the plan as well as the funding of the plan. This hearing will also provide an opportunity for the Committees to examine the other components of the plan, such as how a congestion mitigation plan and its consequences are addressed."

The hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Meeting Hall, 42 W. 44th St. (bet. Fifth & Sixth Aves., 2nd Floor, in Manhattan.

  • Larry Littlefield

    How much lower than zero are the odds that someone like me could show up and speak at the hearing at a time when the principles remain on the scene? I have enough experience to tell me the answer is no. But it is around the corner.

    I would have four things to say.

    First, there is a general equity aspect to this issue. Those who seize for themselves an outsized share of a scarce resource — street space in the CBD — should at least be asked to pay for the privilege, to provide some benefit to those who get out of their way.

    Second, there is a generational equity aspect. Those holding the hearing are of and for generations that have taken all they could for themselves and left those who came after with extensive debts and a diminished future. Meanwhile, retirement income is exempted from taxes. Younger generations may not even be able to afford cars when people Silver’s age get through with them. They could at least give them something.

    Third, congestion pricing would take the place of tolls on the East River Bridges, and first and foremost should be used to maintain those bridges. After all, if the transit system collapses as a result of the past financial decisions of the state, we’ll need those bridges to walk or ride bikes to Manhattan. The bridges, and the debts run up to rehab them, should be transferred to the MTA along with the CP revenues.

    Finally, if CP is not passed, and no real financial and traffic managment alternatives are provided, I hope it would finally awaken the majority of residents of NYC just how much their enemy and exploiter the members of the state legislature, and the limited number of interests in their clique, are.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Aha — some truth telling:

    “ORAL TESTIMONY BY INVITATION ONLY”

    That is, in reality, the case for every public hearing. Give them credit for telling the public they don’t really matter up front, thus saving time.

  • Dave

    I am not sure where Silver fell on the commuter tax issue but I hope someone gives it to Brodsky for repealing it. Tell him Congestion Pricing is a replacement for the commuter tax; a user fee that hits only his constituents that drive into the city.
    Once again where is Mayor Mike to speak out against Brodsky and the woefully ignorant city politicians who oppose CP?

  • momos

    Streetsbloggers: Don’t let congestion pricing go down without having done something about it. Get on the phone and call your Assembly rep. It takes two seconds. Find your rep by zipcode and their phone number here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/

    And call Silver’s office:
    ALBANY OFFICE
    LOB 932
    Albany, NY 12248
    518-455-3791

  • Brad Aaron

    Dave – Silver voted to repeal the commuter tax.

  • I hope that among the core benefits of congestion pricing from the MTA’s perspective is that bus service will be dramatically more efficient in all areas where congestion is reduced.

    That’s pretty much all express buses, regular buses that go through midtown and feeder buses in LIC, downtown Brooklyn and probably many others. Less cars = More frequent service (shorter time between scheduled stops, less bunching, etc)

  • Larry Littlefield

    Congestion pricing is much better than a commuter tax. The suburbanites add to the city, as workers and consumers. Their cars detract from it, through pollution and congestion. As in the Atlantic Yards discussion, the problem is the cars not the people.

  • Am I crazy for thinking that if some congestion pricing revenue does go to MTA “routine maintenance and operations,” it would not be such a terrible thing? Isn’t the “routine” the name of the game in trains that run on time, stations that are not disgusting, and all sorts of things that actually matter?

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