Photo Courtesy of Riders Alliance
Riders Alliance is also collecting petitions and asking riders to tell Gov. Cuomo to fund NYC Transit’s “Fast Forward” plan.
By Forum Staff
A coalition of the city’s leading transportation advocacy organizations on Tuesday unveiled for the first time a comprehensive state policy agenda and urged candidates for state office to adopt their platform.
The Riders Alliance, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York League of Conservation Voters, Regional Plan Association, New York Public Interest Research Group Straphangers Campaign, StreetsPAC, Transportation Alternatives, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign recently joined forces to craft “Transportation and Equity: A Vision for New York State Leadership in 2018,” a four-page budgetary, legislative, and policy agenda that includes funding and implementing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Fast Forward plan to fix the subway, redesign the bus network, and make transit accessible; adopting the state Fix NYC panel’s congestion pricing proposal to raise transit funds by charging cars and trucks to drive in the Manhattan Central Business District; and enacting fully automated camera enforcement of traffic signals, speed and bus-lane restrictions.
“Transportation and Equity…” highlights include:
• Fund the Fast Forward plan to modern, accessible subways and buses and a functional paratransit system: State of the art signals on all subway lines in 15 years, modernizing 1930s technology; 3,000+ new subway cars to replace old cars from the 1960s and ‘70s and add capacity so that, with modern signals, more trains can run, reducing crowding; 50 new accessible subway stations in five years, 130 in 10 years, all possible in 15 years; 300+ subway station upgrades; nearly 5,000 new buses; redesigned bus routes in all five boroughs in five years; a new subway and bus fare payment system in five years.
• The Price: According to the coalition, fixing the broken transit system will cost about $30 billion, which includes major portions of the next two MTA five-year capital plans and another $10 billion for the current capital plan that was promised but not yet funded.
• Paying for It: Fix NYC will upgrade transit infrastructure while reducing traffic congestion; enacted March 2018: congestion surcharge on taxi and for-hire vehicle trips in Manhattan below 96th Street beginning in January 2019 – revenue will primarily fund Subway Action Plan maintenance begun in 2017; additional revenue will support outer-borough transit improvements.
Not yet enacted: congestion charge on trucks and private cars entering the Manhattan Central Business District below 60th Street – more than $1 billion in annual revenue would support transit modernization.
According to the coalition, adopting the complete set of Fix NYC recommendations is essential to funding Fast Forward.
• Improve Buses: Make buses efficient, reliable and environmentally sound; protect and expand the existing bus lane network to prioritize buses on city streets; automate bus-lane enforcement through legislation lifting restrictions on camera use; invest in an all-electric bus fleet as quickly as possible.
• Make the Transit Network Accessible: fund a fully accessible subway network within 15 years and ongoing accessibility improvements beginning now.
• Create Safe, Transit-friendly Streets: give City Department of Transportation full discretion over automated speed limit and traffic signal enforcement cameras; eliminate free parking placards for private vehicles operated by non-disabled drivers; permit electric-assisted bicycle operation on city streets; permit City to regulate autonomous vehicle operation on city streets; train motor vehicle drivers in pedestrian and bicyclist safety as part of licensure.
• Restore Trust and Accountability to Transit: transit funding should be lockboxed so that what’s intended for transit is spent on transit (Mayor de Blasio has called for this for several years now); the MTA should produce a full accounting of its assets.