NYCTRC MTA Board Testimony – 100 Days Report/Congestion Pricing
March 25, 2019
Good morning Board Members. I’m Bradley Brashears, representing the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC). Not only am I representing the Council, but I am also representing Queens riders, as I have been commuting from Astoria for the last 15 years. Every morning I enter the system at the N/W Broadway station, and as I reach the Queensboro Bridge, I look below and see the street-level gridlock with so many bridge shoppers trying to enter Manhattan’s core – free-of-charge. For this and many more reasons, I understand the crucial need for congestion pricing. Congestion pricing is key to getting our buses moving, and bringing in much needed income for the MTA System.
This month, we released an in-depth report entitled, “100 Days and 100 Nights: From Astoria to Lower Manhattan and Back.” The report details a daily rider’s commute – my commute. It includes total travel times, station and onboard crowding, track speeds, and more to better articulate the actual rider experience. The report also details the incremental successes of the Subway Action Plan – since its inception it has reduced 4/5 line major delays by 38%. And there’s also the Save Safe Seconds campaign, which is speeding up 4/5 trains south of Union Square, and N/W train speeds are doubling in and out of the Astoria-Ditmars terminal. These are all steps in the right direction. The report’s recommendations align with NYC Transit’s Fast Forward plan by addressing the needs to upgrade critical infrastructure; review potential route changes to reduce reliance on critical interlockings; revitalize the station experience; accelerate accessibility; and give buses greater priority in the face of traffic.
The only way for this work to continue is to secure sustainable funding for the Fast Forward plan and its vital capital projects. The Governor has proposed congestion pricing as the “reliable funding stream”, and we agree that it’s necessary to help fund the capital plan, speed up buses, and reduce traffic. It’s an idea whose time has finally come. The $15 billion that it is estimated to net through bonding would go to the MTA’s 2020 -24 capital plan. The city and state stepped up to fund NYC Transit’s Subway Action Plan, but the MTA’s capital program goes much further and will require vastly more funding to fully modernize the system.
PCAC Planning Manager
Download here: 32519 100Days_CongestionPricing_BBv2es-1