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senate_chamber.jpgThe august New York State Senate. Photo: AP

For as long as Streetsblog has been covering the transportation reform beat, Albany has been a graveyard for progressive transportation legislation affecting New York City. Sheldon Silver and Assembly Democrats buried congestion pricing there in 2008. The State Senate poured cement shoes for bridge tolls last year, hobbling the attempt to provide the MTA with greater financial stability. Now our transit system is shrinking, and the fiscal disaster that the state has unleashed on bus and subway riders seems poised to grow worse.

While several good pieces of legislation can make it through the gauntlet this month, bills authorizing bus lane enforcement cameras, complete streets policies, and more effective legal protections for pedestrians and cyclists have all met untimely demises in recent legislative sessions as well.

So Streetsblog readers probably have a lot they'd like to ask their representatives in the state capitol, and the challengers they may face. With primaries for every seat in the Assembly and the State Senate coming up on September 14 (mark your calendars!), it's time to start putting those questions to the people who want your vote. In July, Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign will send a survey to every registered candidate in the MTA service region -- the five boroughs plus seven downstate counties.

TA put out a candidate survey for NYC electoral contests last year -- receiving answers from 73 contenders -- but this is something of a first, I believe, for Albany races. If you'd like to help formulate the questions, TA and Tri-State want to hear your ideas.

Word is that they're especially interested in what you'd like to ask Andrew Cuomo, Rick Lazio, Carl Paladino, and any Baldwin brother who might throw his hat into the governor's race. Tops on my list would have to be: "How are you going to stop state government from crippling our transit system by plundering dedicated MTA taxes?"

What's on yours?

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