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Nydia Velazquez

Wednesday’s Headlines: Yeah, Why Not Make Transit Free Edition

12:03 AM EST on November 20, 2019

Nydia Velazquez. Photo: Ben Kuntzman

Rep. Nydia Velazquez wants transit to be more equitable, so she's proposed creating a $1-billion federal fund to make subway fares disappear for low-income New Yorkers and people with disabilities (as Guse at the Newsuh reported).

We think it's a great idea — even better than the half-priced-transit "Fair Fares" program, which still excludes 70 percent of eligible New Yorkers because, frankly, it's rolling out too slowly.

Velazquez's idea is so progressive that we naturally assumed the leading Democratic presidential candidates (a senator-heavy lineup that includes big names such as Sanders, Warren, Harris and Booker) would be fighting for who could support transit use the most. But as our coverage has shown, the candidates are in a race to the bottom to fund "infrastructure," which mostly means more roads. (Most recently, we covered Biden's plan, Bernie's "Green New Deal," and Elizabeth Warren's climate strategy — and found them all lacking.)

So here's hoping the feds send some MetroCards our way, thanks to Velazquez's effort.

Until then, here's the news:

    • The Bus Turnaround Coalition gave report cards on Tuesday: F to the cops for poor enforcement (NY Post) and an A- to the DOT for design (PDF).
    • A Manhattan community board was poised last night to be the first CB to explicitly oppose Gov. Cuomo's plan to add 500 new overpolice officers in the subway. (Gotham Gazette)
    • Look at how recklessly someone needs to drive — over how long a period! — and how many cars you have to hit before law enforcement finally does something. (NYDN)
    • Why did the ceiling in the Borough Hall station collapse last year? Basic incompetence, says the MTA Inspector General, according to the Daily News. The Post used the term "negligence," while amNY went with "inspection flaws."
    • Subway workers may go on a holiday slowdown as contract negotiations drag on. (NY Post)
    • No surprise here: Mayor de Blasio signed the "Streets Master Plan" bill, but he did have a rare signing ceremony. (amNY). The Post complained.
    • The Times continues to "get it" on 14th Street (though belatedly, like Obama "evolving" on same-sex marriage).
    • More apartments — and lots more cars — coming to Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park). (Curbed)
    • The increase in AirTrain fares to Newark Airport is having the predictable result: encouraging people to take Uber or Lyft rather than public transit — which, indeed, we predicted. (Chris O'Leary via Twitter)

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