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Adriano Espaillat

13 State and City Elected Officials Sign On to Move NY Toll Reform

3:49 PM EDT on April 22, 2015

The trickle of elected officials endorsing toll reform is starting to become more of a steady stream, and a look at who belongs to the coalition suggests that the politics of the Move NY plan are indeed different than the politics of congestion pricing.

More than a dozen state and city elected officials announced today that they support the Move NY toll reform plan, which establishes consistent tolls to drive into the Manhattan core while lowering tolls on outlying bridges. The signatories include some lawmakers who either sat on the sidelines during the 2008 congestion pricing debate or replaced representatives who actively opposed that proposal. Five of them represent areas of Brooklyn or Queens.

Is he listening? Photo: MTA/Flickr
Is he listening? Photo: MTA/Flickr
Is he listening? Photo: MTA/Flickr

In a letter sent yesterday to Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders in Albany, the 13 electeds back a "full-line review" of the A and C trains and enactment of the Move NY toll reform plan to pay for needed fixes [PDF].

The letter is signed by state senators Adriano Espaillat, Brad Hoylman, and Daniel Squadron; assembly members Richard Gottfried, Walter T. Mosley, Linda Rosenthal, and Jo Anne Simon; council members Margaret Chin, Laurie Cumbo, Corey Johnson, Mark Levine, and Donovan Richards; and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

One name that especially stands out is Mosley, who represents the Brooklyn district formerly spoken for by Hakeem Jeffries, a congestion pricing opponent. Also of note: Simon and Squadron replaced Joan Millman and Martin Connor, who only came out as congestion pricing "supporters" after the proposal was defeated in Albany.

The letter urges the MTA to expand full-line reviews so each subway line is reviewed every five years. But without funding, the officials point out, those reports won't do any good for riders:

[W]hile reviews have led to major service improvements, some of the strongest recommendations from each review are often not feasible to implement because the MTA lacks critical resources...

That is why we support the Move NY Fair Plan... This promising proposal would provide more than enough funds to accelerate the schedule of Full-Line Reviews, including the possibility of expanded application to buses. It will also allow for implementation of the improvements that make a significant difference in commuters’ lives: trains that run more frequently and break down less often, countdown clocks that allow riders to know when their trains will arrive, public address systems that can alert riders to changes in service, and other important improvements that are overdue in New York.

Advocates welcomed the letter. "The real genius of this endorsement is not just to build support for a promising funding solution but also to underscore that transit funding makes a real difference in people's lives," said Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin. "These full-line reviews lead to a wish list for improvements, but it's only with an infusion of funds that we'll be able to buy new subway cars, repair equipment so it doesn't break down as often, and improve service to catch up with record ridership."

Update 4:00 p.m.: "We welcome the growing support for the Move NY Fair Plan and are pleased this group of influential elected officials in the State Senate, Assembly and City government are calling for implementation of the plan," said Move NY campaign director Alex Matthiessen. "New Yorkers deserve better transportation and Move NY is the best way to achieve that."

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