Ravitch Commission Hearings Announced

The Ravitch Commission, formed to recommend MTA funding sources for the next decade, has scheduled three public hearings later this month. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Mobilizing the Region has the scoop:

The tentative meeting dates are September 15th in Manhattan, September 22nd in Long Island, and September 24th in White Plains. Hopefully more information will be available very soon.

Updated 9/5/2008. Meeting details are below.

Monday, September 15th
Eisner-Lubin Auditorium, NYU Kimmel Center
60 Washington Square South
Session 1: 10am-12:30pm
Session 2: 1:30pm – 5pm

Monday, September 22nd
Ceremonial Chambers, Nassau County Executive Building
1550 Franklin Ave, 2nd Floor

Wednesday, September 24th
Westchester County Center
198 Central Ave
White Plains

Testimony is by invitation only. Public comment can be sent in
writing to Ravitch Commission, 633 Third Ave, 38th floor, New York, NY

The 13-member commission, headed by former MTA Chair Richard Ravitch, is widely expected to include some form of congestion pricing among its recommendations to state lawmakers. The commission has a deadline of December 5.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Invitation only, eh? Guess I won’t be invited.

    Perhaps I’ll mail in some links to the multiple posts I wrote on the subject earlier in the year.

  • Lew from Brooklyn

    I don’t know if anyone will see this comment as I am making it about two weeks after I saw this post, but that would be fitting as the Ravitch Commission hearings are about as public as this is. I think the hearings are being done in the mode of double super secret probation.

    The only notice I had of this hearing was from this Streetsblog post. Thank you.

    When i saw it, I had a staff member and an intern work for over a week and half to try to find a live person at the Ravitch Commission to speak to about testifying. The Council Speaker’s office had no name or number. The Council’s Transportation Committee had no number. The person answering the phone at the Governor’s office had no informattion.

    Finally, we reached out to individual Commission members. Someone gave us thename “mike Evans” and a phone number to call him at. So we called. Got a voice mail.

    Now I wanted to testify at this hearing. You may not like what I have to say…or maybe you will in part. But I have done my work onthis issue and I do care. And Iam the Assistant Majority Leader of the NYC Council.

    So i reached otu to a college buddy who works in the upper echelons of the MTA management. He confirmed Mike Evans’ number and gave us his email. “Email him, that will be the only way you get to him,” we were told.

    So we left a voice mail and sent an email. Still no reply. Now it is Thursday and the hearing is supposed to be Monday andthe only word I have is Streetsblog’s “tentative” notice. And showing up won’t work sinc eit is invite only.

    Finally, I call the Evans’ number directly. Someone answers “Executive Chamber”. I ask for Evans and am told that he is somewhere in the City that day. The person on the phone at first tries to politely excuse himself by saying he had sort of inadvertently picked up Evans line. In a firm but polite tone, I told him who I was, why I wanted Evans, the time sensitivity of the request. My tone more than suggested that I would create a public s**t storm if I didn’t hear from a live human being to discuss this matter with. Within 5 minutes, I heard from Evans, calling me from a restricted phone number. Evans was more than polite I must say, and scheduled me for 10 30 in the morning.

    Frankly, I am concerned thatthe public is being totally shut out of these public hearings. I have a staff and this is my job…and it was near impossible to track down a live person to get myself invited.

    Frankly, i hope this is more than a dog and pony show. Whatever side you are on, whateveer proposal you fvor, hearing from the public is important.

    I hope that I will see some of you at these hearings. You know where I stand already. Will the Ravitch Commission know where YOU stand? Will they care? This may be a hearing but will they be listening?

    Stay tuned.

    Lew from Brooklyn

  • JF

    Lew, one of the things that struck me the most about the Traffic Mitigation Commission hearings was how few comments there were from simple private citizens. Everyone seemed to either be elected officials or identify themselves as community board members or representatives of nonprofits like T.A., Tri-State, the Queens Civic Congress, etc.

    The elected officials were all scheduled to testify ahead of the other people, and informally moved to the head of the line based on their seniority, regardless of whether they’d written ahead. Many of the comments were repetitive and predictable.

    I honestly don’t want to sit through comment after infuriating comment from windshield-perspective state legislators who believe that all of their constituents drive, only to have those legislators leave before I have a chance to stand up and remind them that I take the train.

    Some of the Ravitch Commission members were on the Traffic Mitigation Commision, have heard all those comments, and don’t need to hear them again.

    You could say that as elected representatives their voices should hold more sway, but can we really say that someone’s been democratically elected when they haven’t faced a primary or general election challenge in over ten years? Frankly, I haven’t seen a “democratic” process yet that would treat transit users better than some dictator who actually gives a shit about us.

    I’m honestly surprised that you’d have anything to say to the Ravitch Commission, since your comments here have indicated that you have little or no interest in improving transit service for your constituents or anyone else in the city. From what you’ve said, there’s no reason to make transit better because everyone who matters is either already driving or will be soon. Maybe it’s to promote your regressive payroll tax that could not be more precisely targeted to encourage employers to leave the city?

  • Juliana Roberts

    Just wanted to mention that the Campaign for New York’s future sent out an email blast asking people to submit their written comments to the Commission on September 23rd.The Tri-State Transportation Campaign also mentioned it on their website and in their newsletter, and had information on when the hearings would be and how to submit testimony. Without these not-for-profits letting people know that they can participate, if not completely democratically, there would be no public participation in this process. While it is a downright shame, I can understand the ridiculousness of sitting there for hours and hours hearing testimony, much of which was the same during the Traffic Mitigation Commission hearings. Even the hearings with scheduled speakers went beyond its structured time.

  • Invitation only, eh? Guess I won’t be invited.


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