Grassroots campaign Move NY just got a major leg-up in its effort to build a masterplan for NYC’s transportation system.
The movement recently received a sweeping endorsement from NYC Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez (10th District) for its toll reform plans that it has described as an all-encompassing plan that is “fair for everyone and will generate dedicated funding for our roads, bridges, and mass transit system.”
New Yorkers have been frustrated by the city’s toll system for years. Residents complain that tolls and fares have risen at unexpected and unbalanced rates, yet road conditions are subpar.
The key features of Move NY’s toll reform plans include time of day pricing, waiving tolls for yellow/green cabs, treating livery vehicles as private vehicles, 100 percent electronic toll collection, per-axle tolls on commercial vehicles and basing toll rates on station demand.
This means that, under the Move NY plan, some tolls would actually increase. However, only 2 percent of trips in the 12-county MTA region would see an increase and 1 percent would even see a drop in tolls.
The plan should help to reduce NYC’s gridlock problem — which Move NY views as not just an inconvenience, but a public health issue. “Gridlock threatens the health, safety, and sanity of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike. It pollutes our air, elevates asthma rates, increases auto-related injuries and deaths, and makes our communities noisier,” the organization wrote in its 2015 Executive Plan Summary.
Substantial revenue is expected to be generated — $1.5 billion in net revenue annually, even after accounting for the costs of lost toll revenues on existing tolled crossings and installing and administering the new tolling system. That money would be used for improving existing service, creating jobs, modernizing the transit system and filling transit gaps with new service.
“Move NY is the most widely accepted plan for easing congestion and funding transit projects to date,” said NYC Council’s Rodriguez. “There is no longer a question of should we pass this plan, but when.
Rodriguez will now work to gather political support among his colleagues on the Council, as well as advocate for appropriate action from Albany. “Working with Sam Schwartz and the Move NY coalition, I will commit myself, over the coming weeks and months, to ensure that my Council colleagues get behind this transformative plan.”
A number of council members have already voiced support, including Margaret Chin, who previously introduced legislation to require the city to examine the effects of New York City’s dysfunctional bridge toll system on traffic safety.