City and State Partner on Plan to Improve MTA, Institute Congestion Pricing

traffic in NYC
traffic in NYC via darijus on Flickr

The offices of both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio released a joint statement today outlining 10 steps the city and state intend to take to improve MTA service.

The plan is intended to "transform the MTA and create dedicated and sustained funding streams for the agency" by streamlining the bureaucratic structure of the MTA and implementing solutions to control the costs of the transit agency.

To fund the changes and generate income for improvements to the public transportation system, the plan includes a full congestion pricing proposal for the Central Business District of Manhattan, where vehicles choosing to enter Manhattan south of 61st Street will be charged a toll via a cashless system with cameras tracking license plates that enter a set perimeter. Many exemptions and discounts are proposed that will account for emergency vehicles, drivers who have paid tolls at bridges and tunnels, and for vehicles transporting people with disabilities. The plan sets a deadline of December 2020 for announcing the toll amounts, but no date was given for the actual implementation of the system. Revenue from congestion pricing would be combined with a percentage of an internet tax and excise tax on marijuana and set aside in a "lockbox" to fund the MTA. Cuomo has said legalizing recreational marijuana use is a priority for 2019 and would generate a possible $300 million income for the state.

Also in the plan are limits on fare increases at a maximum increase of 2% per year, a dedication to address fare evasion, and various recommendations for bureaucratic restructuring with the intention of controlling cost and erasing confusion over leadership duties.

Read the full 10-point plan.

Thursday, February 28 at 9:58 AM ๐Ÿ“Ž

City Council Speaker and Acting Public Advocate Corey Johnson posted a response to the Cuomoโ€“de Blasio plan, saying that it cedes control to the state over the city's transportation:

Todayโ€™s announcement, much of which is not new, falls far short of the bold vision we need to address our Cityโ€™s mass transit crisis. While I am glad to see the Mayor finally taking an interest in congestion pricing and the Governor being open to MTA reform, I strongly disagree with the idea that giving the State more control of City generated revenue and our transit infrastructure is going to magically solve our problems this time around. I am not convinced and I will have more to say on this soon โ€“ stay tuned.

โ€” Corey Johnson

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