Support for Pricing From Nassau Dem Michelle Schimel
While many of her colleagues are hoping to avoid taking a stand on congestion pricing by urging Speaker Sheldon Silver to kill the plan without a vote, Nassau County Assembly Democrat Michelle Schimel has come out strongly in favor with an editorial in the Great Neck Record:
For more than 300,000 Long Island residents, the daily commute to New York City is often a difficult one — either because their mass transit experience is unpleasant and slow or because they sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic from their home to their office. Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse. Our region can expect more and more drivers on our streets, and riders in our buses and trains. But, as of now, we don’t and won’t have the funds to make real improvements to handle the overflow.
[Congestion pricing] would reduce traffic by 8 percent in Long Island and across the region while earning $500 million a year that would go directly to mass transit projects such as modernization of the Long Island Rail Road and East Side Access — projects that could cut commuters’ trips by as much as 44 minutes a day, according to the Regional Plan Association. The reduced congestion will also help drivers who aren’t commuting daily to Manhattan, freeing up roadways to save everyone time.
More important than the cost to a small percentage of commuters is the cost of maintaining the status quo and not implementing a congestion pricing plan. Millions more people will clog our roads over the next few decades without viable alternative mass transportation options, making daily commutes far more unbearable.