Good morning. My name is Maulin Mehta and I’m Senior Associate for Regional Plan Association.
The MTA this week told us that subway service has stabilized, but there’s still a long way to go before the average New Yorker stops leaving home 30 minutes early just in case.
Andy Byford and his team deserve credit for stabilizing the system and developing Fast Forward, which is our ticket out of our transit crisis. RPA believes Fast Forward is credible and doable -- the comprehensive plan we need to transform our transit network. And we know that riders can’t expect real,tangible change until Fast Forward is actually implemented.
Over the past year, the MTA has hired more staff for maintenance and repair, hired a chief customer officer and new station agents. Employees have been hard at work, for example, they have welded 30 miles of new track, fixed 600 miles of signals, and reduced emergency response times by 20%. But we need to go beyond playing catch up and implement proactive measures, like the ones called for in Fast Forward, to make the transformative changes needed to create a transit system we need to support a growing economy and population.
Fast Forward will cost in the tens of billions of dollars. It cannot be implemented without new, sustainable revenues. Congestion pricing is the fairest and most effective way to bring the benefits Fast Forward promises, like more elevators, more subway service, transformed bus service, and accountability to customers.
We need the MTA board to help build support for Fast Forward and understand and communicate its benefits. We need elected officials to work together to approve congestion pricing, which will help raise the revenues we need. Thank you.