RPA Testimony at the MTA Board Meeting May 2018 Supporting NYCT Corporate Plan

Regional Plan Association Testimony before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on May 3, 2018 cin support of NYCT's new corporate plan and the MTA "Atlantic Ticket" pilot delivered by RPA Senior Vice President Kate Slevin.  

Good morning.  I’m Kate Slevin, a Senior Vice President at Regional Plan Association. I’m here this morning to call on our elected leaders and the MTA board to support President Andy Byford as he works to upgrade the subway and bus systems. Having a leader release a comprehensive roadmap to modernize a giant bureaucratic agency and the transit system it runs is not something that happens everyday. This is a historic occasion.      
RPA believes internal agency reform is crucial to fixing the broader problems within the transit system. We’ve released a number of recommendations -- for example, putting one team in charge of transit projects from start to finish, calling for the creation of special purpose entities to speed up project delivery, and new public engagement processes that involve the public early and often. We have also joined with other groups across the city in advocating for Transit to take every opportunity to increase accessibility, including adding additional elevators as part of the L Train project. The agency’s Bus Action Plan was a crucial step in building goodwill with riders and advocates  
Andy Byford and the leaders at the MTA won’t be able to do this alone. From the Governor and State Legislature, we will need leadership to approve new funding and get this done; RPA has long supported a congestion pricing scheme for NYC for this reason. Mayor de Blasio will also have a role to play -- redesigning our citywide bus network and fixing it will require giving buses priority on dozens of city streets. This will also require more patience from riders for temporary disruptions that will allow for transformative change  -- speeding up installation of signal improvements, for example, may mean extended service outages on subway lines.
On a smaller note, we have long advocated for making commuter rail trips within NYC more affordable, and are excited the MTA is finally moving forward with the Atlantic Ticket proposal to give discounted LIRR trips for riders boarding at 8 stations in Brooklyn and Queens. We urge the board to approve this proposal.
We are pleased to be here on this momentous day, and look forward to working with the MTA on its implementation. This is our moment to start to turn things around - let’s not waste this opportunity. Thank you.