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MTA Board Meeting Testimony- “Congestion Pricing, Fare Discounts, and Better Service: Steps to More Equitable Transit!”

Good morning! I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC).

Today marks two months until one of the most monumental days in New York’s history: when congestion pricing finally begins! June 30th will go down in history as the day we embark on one of the most meaningful steps towards a more sustainable future. We can’t wait for the improvement’s riders (and drivers) will see— cleaner air, better transit, and less traffic.

We’re also excited to see steps being taken to improve service and affordability before it starts. Using the OBTA to create new 10% discounts on monthly railroad passes within the city and increasing express bus service on weekdays, along with other proposals from this year’s state budget including improved bus service on 20 other routes, will also help get drivers out of cars and onto transit. Expanding Automated Camera Enforcement to more buses will ensure that buses go even faster without cars and trucks getting in the way— as will more dedicated bus lanes!

We’re disappointed that the FARES Act— PCAC’s proposal to expand Fair Fares to the LIRR and Metro-North within NYC, extend the senior/disability/Medicare discount to the AM peak, and create a weekly CityTicket with transfers to subways and buses— didn’t make it in this year’s budget. We’ll continue to work with the MTA and elected officials at the state and city level to make these common-sense proposals a reality.

We’re also glad to see the MTA’s new Climate Resilience Roadmap, a critical vision for protecting our transit infrastructure from extreme weather. PCAC has long called for a forward-looking vision for protecting riders and workers alike from flooding, extreme heat, and everything else the climate crisis throws our way. Coupled with the plan for reducing emissions and improving sustainability— and of course, the funding to make it happen— we’re confident that the goals and plans in this roadmap will make meaningful improvements. Thank you!