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PCAC Supports Congestion Pricing and the Tolling Proposals Put Forth; Calls for Open and Transparent Data Review

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

We support congestion pricing and the tolling proposals put forth. Is it perfect? No — but that’s what you’re here to do, listen for reasonable and rational requests for change. We’ve heard some that may fit that bill, and some doozies. But at the end of the process, we can’t let perfect be the enemy of good for the vast majority of us. There will be adjustments over time following open and transparent data review.

Congestion pricing is essential to creating a more equitable, affordable and accessible transit system, city and region. Over the hundreds of hours of hearings I’ve participated in, I haven’t heard a single opponent explain where the $15 billion for the region’s critical transit system would come from if it were just to disappear or who should pay more if they were exempt. Nor have they given a rational explanation for how to make up the $20 billion that traffic costs the region’s economy every year.

No one has said why New Jersey should get money for its transit system when they don’t even fund it. And no one has offered plausible alternatives for how to move deliveries, buses and emergency vehicles faster.

Actually, Mayor Adams said it best in Albany last month when asked what could be done to improve fire department response times in midtown.

His answer: Congestion pricing.

Congestion Pricing is the law. It was created to reduce traffic, improve air quality and bolster the MTA’s capital program – the literal nuts and bolts of the transit network that powers the region’s economy and keeps it moving.

The cost of further delay is untenable, and there is no Plan B.

Transparency, open data and frequent, reliable service and visible system improvements will help show the doubters and negative Nellies that congestion pricing will be good for all of us.

Even them.