For immediate release: Thursday, October 29, 2015
For more information, contact: Lisa Rainwater, lisa AT move-ny.org
Momentum Builds for Move NY
NYC Council’s Progressive Caucus Endorses Move NY Fair Plan
Cites Importance of Sustainable Funding for Transit, Roads & Bridges
(New York, NY) Today the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council endorsed the Move NY Fair Plan, which, if enacted in Albany, would slash congestion and create a sustainable funding stream for the City’s transportation network. On Tuesday, NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (26th District, Queens) announced his endorsement of the plan. In endorsing the Move NY Fair Plan, the Progressive Caucus adds its names to those of over two dozen other City and State elected officials, seven editorial boards and over 65 stakeholder groups representing the region’s leading business groups, trade unions, clergy, civic leaders, transportation and environmental advocates, and good-governance organizations. (Click here to read the Progressive Caucus press release.)
The Move NY Fair Plan, developed by “Gridlock” Sam Schwarz and the Move NY team after hundreds of conversations and town halls across the MTA’s 12-county territory, would raise $1.35 billion annually and cover the $10.8 billion funding hole in the MTA’s five-year capital plan as well as fill transit gaps in outer parts of the city and provide money for the City’s roads and bridges.
“We applaud and thank Councilman Rodriguez and the entire Progressive Caucus for taking a definitive stand on the importance of reducing congestion, making our streets safer, and creating a sustainable funding stream to maintain and expand our City’s transportation infrastructure,” said Alex Matthiessen, Move NY Campaign Director and President of Blue Marble Project. “They’ve done their homework and listened to 62% of the voting public who, according to a poll conducted last fall, support the Move NY plan. The road to victory starts with the New York City Council and with the Caucus’s imprimatur today, we are within striking distance of the 26 votes needed to pass a home rule message in favor of the plan.”
“We commend the Progressive Caucus members who today are demonstrating their support for the Move NY Fair Plan,” said former NYC Traffic Commissioner, “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz. “The plan will help improve our transit, roads and bridges infrastructure and is consistent with progressive principles. But this is also a fiscally prudent and conservative step to have a dedicated fund in place for all our transportation infrastructure. There’s no passing the buck literally and figuratively that there would be by issuing bonds not backed by new revenue.”
The Move NY Fair Plan dovetails with the goals set forth in 2014 by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who launched his signature Vision Zero program to end traffic deaths and injuries on city streets within the next two decades. Move NY will remove unnecessary through-traffic — often heavy vehicles — from the streets that are used by residents living on either side of the East River bridges, such as Long Island City, Astoria, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and downtown Brooklyn.
“The Progressive Caucus has shown great leadership by stepping up to support Move New York,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “The plan will create a reliable funding source for the MTA and help the City bring better transit to communities that don’t have subway service. Move NY’s more equitable tolling will also advance the City’s Vision Zero initiative by putting an end to the ‘bridge shopping’ that brings dangerous traffic to neighborhoods on both sides of the crossings that are currently free.”
Move NY seeks to bring toll equity to drivers by substantially lowering tolls on the MTA’s seven tolled facilities around the five boroughs, given the paucity of transit alternatives for people who live near those bridges. The plan will restore tolls on the four East River bridges as well as across the 60th Street “screen line”, where traffic is bad and public transit options are plentiful. The revenues generated will help maintain and expand our subway and bus system, while providing select discounts on those options like Express Buses and intra-city commuter rail which could especially assist low and middle income New Yorkers who live in the outer parts of the city.
“Transportation is the heart of sustainability,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE. “UPROSE commends the Progressive Caucus for supporting working families and understanding that a just and strong transportation system is central to local livability and the ability of low income communities to thrive.”
“Kudos to the Council’s Progressive Caucus and its Co-chairs Antonio Reynoso and Donovan Richards for standing up for subway and bus riders,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance. “I think more and more elected officials are recognizing that we need sustainable funding streams to pay for public transit, so the MTA doesn’t find itself in a new crisis every few years and pass more costs on to riders. Move NY is a fair plan that helps subway and bus riders, car drivers and everyone who works or does business in the metropolitan area.”
The revenue from Move NY will allow the MTA to extend the Second Avenue Subway to Harlem; add new Metro-North stations from Co-op City and Hunts Point to Penn Station, complete the LIRR connection to Grand Central Station and provide much needed revenue to rebuild our roads and bridges including the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway through Brooklyn Heights and many Harlem River bridges. The plan will add some 30,000 jobs including entry-level apprentice jobs, ironworkers, carpenters, electricians and journeymen.
Lauren Houston, a Riders Alliance member from Queens, said, “I know the Move NY plan will benefit all Queens residents, whether they drive or use public transit. I want to thank Council Member Van Bramer and the entire Progressive Caucus of the Council for realizing that Move NY is an important program that would provide the MTA with a dedicated source of funding for badly needed improvements and expansions, while ensuring drivers pay significantly less on most of the bridges. It’s a clear win-win!”
“The New York Building Congress applauds today’s endorsement of the Move NY traffic pricing proposal by the City Council Progressive Caucus,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. “This endorsement affirms that New York City has the leadership it needs to support a fair and equitable revenue scheme to maintain and improve its roads and mass transit system. What’s more, the Move NY Plan is simply the right thing to do: the City’s economy depends on a well-functioning transportation network. This plan creates a traffic management and user fee system dedicated exclusively to supporting transportation and the City’s continued economic expansion.”
“Real progressives love fair tolling,” said Gene Russianoff of NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, a transit riders group.
Capital NY, Council progressives mostly endorse MoveNY plan
Queens Chronicle, Progressives up ante on MoveNY proposal