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MTA Board Meeting Testimony- Congestion Pricing: The Best Way Forward for the Region

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

  • The Interborough Express
  • Penn Access
  • Upgrading 1940’s-installed signals between Babylon and Patchogue, and out to Montauk
  • A transfer connection between the Livonia Avenue L station and Junius Street 3 station
  • Accessibility projects in every borough for the subway and Staten Island Rail; in stations on every line of Metro-North; and across the Long Island Rail Road. Come on Mets-Willets Point!
  • Jamaica capacity improvements
  • Modern train cars and electric buses
  • New tracks
  • Station improvements and upgrades
  • Communication-based train control
  • Yard expansion to enable capacity and service upgrades on the Port Jervis line
  • Park Avenue viaduct replacement
  • Port Jefferson electrification
  • Enhanced security systems
  • Beautiful art work
  • A system more resilient to extreme weather
  • State-of-good repair work to keep the system running and get riders where they need to go
  • More reliable service
  • Better response times for emergency vehicles
  • Faster deliveries
  • Improved bus speeds
  • Cleaner air
  • Less traffic
  • Fighting climate change.

These are the benefits and just some of the potential projects that we as a region can expect to see from Congestion Pricing – and that are at risk if it isn’t implemented.

The Environmental Assessment shows that Congestion Pricing meets the goals of reducing traffic, improving air quality and raising critical funding for vital transit projects. We’ve just seen it works with For Hire Vehicle Congestion Pricing Phase 1 and security cameras.

Congestion Pricing is the law – something that seems to get lost in many conversations. Discussing the price of tolls and who receives the limited exemptions, along with how to mitigate unintended outcomes, is for the next step in the process. Therefore, we are asking the Federal Highway Administration for a Finding of No Significant Impact so that New York can lead the way nationally, as we are poised to do.

Delay will mean increasing costs and continued choking congestion. The tri-state area will suffer economically, and riders will lose out on what they deserve: a 21st century transit system for a 21st century region.