Regional Plan Association Testimony at MTA Board Meeting on Congestion Pricing

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I’m Kate Slevin, a Senior Vice President at Regional Plan Association.   

Regional Plan Association knows that in order to see improvements in the subways and buses, we need to implement Fast Forward, NYC Transit’s plan to modernize and overhaul the transit system. But we know that we can’t implement Fast Forward, or the LIRR and Metro North modernization plans for that matter, without new revenue.

The best, most realistic, and doable solution to start to claw our way out is this mess is through congestion pricing. Congestion pricing could raise between $800 million and 1.1 billion annually and infuse the transit system. In London and Stockholm congestion pricing has led to less traffic, better health (childhood asthma rates are down 50% in Stockholm) and reliable and improved transit. New Yorkers deserve these same benefits and we need Albany to act swiftly in 2019 to get this done. 

But securing more revenue in Albany will require that the MTA build good will with riders, to ensure them every dollar will be spent efficiently. Andy Byford’s Fast Forward plan is a good step, as are his town hall meetings throughout the boroughs. But we have a few additional suggestions for the MTA board and staff to consider:

1) The MTA could provide frequent updates on what they are doing internally, for example to reform the project delivery processes, to improve communication with riders, and streamline the procurement process. 

2) The MTA could lay out a process for how it is going to engage communities in spending decisions– what will be the process to decide on how any new revenue will be spent? How will it be different from the capital program outreach in the past? 

Thank you for your time.