PCAC Statement – November 15, 2018 – Expand options for input on Fare Hearings

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Statement of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA
to the MTA Board on
MTA Headquarters, 2 Broadway, 20th Fl., New York, NY

November 15, 2018

Good Morning, I am Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

Today the Board will authorize public hearings to accompany proposed fare hikes that will take effect next March. Please get that information out quickly and broadly.

The hearings are set to begin on November 27th – 12 days from now, and right after the Thanksgiving holiday. While there has been buzz about the fare hikes for some time, there hasn’t been public discussion about the hearing dates. More notice would have been valuable, so that people could have started planning, especially as the dates run in the middle of holiday preparations and celebrations for many New Yorkers, with the last hearing slated for December 13th.

PCAC staff and Council members will be at each of the hearings – it’s our job. But many New Yorkers won’t be able to miss or leave their jobs and we therefore urge that you make available as many communication channels as possible for people to weigh in. We ask that you set up video testimony booths at key MTA transit accessible locations throughout the region, and create a dedicated micro website for the proposed fare hikes, with a link to allow people to give testimony and informs stakeholders of why the fare increase is necessary. Whatever the mechanisms – and we’re happy to work with you to develop them – we urge that there be as many opportunities for input as possible.

If New Yorkers are going to be faced with a fare hike, as appears to be the case, be open and honest with us. Tell us why, what else is in the works, the good, the bad and the ugly of each proposal. NYers are a cynical bunch, we want to see where the money from the fare hikes is going. Show us the money, use this opportunity to educate us about the bigger funding issues. Congestion pricing has been talked about as though it’s the savior of the system, but we know it’s only one tool – an important one – but there has to be a whole tool kit available to help address the significant budget shortfall the MTA faces – on both the Operational and Capital sides. We can’t dig our way out of this financial morass with a one-pronged garden rake. Let us chime in and vent, and offer good ideas. Let our voices go with yours to the elected officials who hold the purse strings and the money mechanisms.

The bad news that comes today is pretty bad timing in the face of the Amazon deal. But that deal also presents opportunities for investment that should serve as a model for similar development deals into the future: for every dollar in subsidy, determine a proportionate level of funding the recipient company must dedicate to improving local transit infrastructure. Where there are no subsidies but the development will clearly benefit from proximity to transit, capture some of the added value that transit brings and dedicate it to local transit improvements. It won’t solve all the financial problems that lie ahead, but it will add another important tool to the mix.

Download here: 111518 PCAC v2.

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