Transpo Bills Gummed Up By State Senate Dysfunction

After spending the last five weeks affirming Albany’s status as the nation’s most dysfunctional state capital, the State Senate will have one last extraordinary session this Wednesday before calling it a year. The chamber is not expected to pass much in the way of transportation bills. (The Assembly wrapped up its session last month.) Here’s a short summary of unfinished livable streets business which the Senate and Assembly will leave behind until the 2010 legislative session.

There is one piece of legislation related to safer streets potentially en route to becoming law this week: The safe driving bill that passed the Assembly last month. Martin Dilan, chair of the Senate transportation committee, wants to move the bill this week, said his Albany office. Aimed primarily at young and inexperienced drivers, the bill would penalize distracted driving, including texting while driving, but it does not rise to the level of an outright texting ban. A provision inserted in the Assembly would prevent police from issuing a ticket for "inattentive driving" unless the driver was observed committing another violation at the same time.

Distracted driving contributes to more than 10,000 crashes per year in New York State. Apparently, Albany doesn’t think that’s a big enough hazard to justify pulling drivers over.

  • We’ve still got a long way to go for truly safe streets and that’ll take years to happen but the fact that the Espada’s selfishness let the Hayley and Diego law fall by the way side is utterly despicable. I am frggin’ outraged. If it were one of his kids struck by a reckless motorist, you can bet he’d put aside the idiocy of fighting for titles and bonuses in a dysfunctional senate. I want to move to his district, just to vote for whoever his challenger is in the next election… oh wait, he doesn’t actually live in his district either! There’s lots of awful role models in power unfortunately, but Espada is reprehensible. And Monserrate and the rest of the fare hike four aren’t too far behind.

  • Nathanael

    Really, we should abolish the utterly functionless State Senate — go unicameral. To do that I think we need a Constitutional Convention though.

  • Jim Mearkle

    The complete streets bills are lacking a vital component: funding. If 1% of NYSDOT’s budget were made available to municipalities, that would provide $150 million/year for complete streets projects.

    I would start with a formula that combines population density and centerline miles of road in each municipality. This would be a fair approximation of the need. After the initial disbursement, any unclaimed funds could be made available to municipalities that have active programs.


Assembly Passes One-House Safe Driving Bill

While the New York State Senate scrambles to salvage some dignity from the current legislative session, the Assembly has busied itself with a flurry of one-house lawmaking. Last week, for instance, the chamber passed a safe driving bill aimed primarily at teen drivers, sponsored by transportation committee chair David Gantt. It includes some good stuff, […]

Four Transportation and Street Safety Bills That Albany Failed to Pass

Every year, several worthy street safety and transportation bills make it through either the State Senate or the Assembly but not the other house. This year, bills on four key issues made it through the Senate before dying in the Assembly. A bill to legalize electric-assist bicycles came very close to passing both chambers. Currently the federal government permits the sale of these […]

Assembly Kneecaps Complete Streets; Senate Passes Hayley & Diego’s Law

Just when you thought the State Assembly was safe for forward-thinking transportation legislation, Rochester rep David Gantt, the Transportation Committee chair formerly of bus cam-killing fame, has thrown a wrench into attempts to pass a complete streets bill. The complete streets bill would require almost all new and reconstructed roads in the state to accommodate […]