Testimony on the NYC DOT Preliminary Budget

This testimony was presented before the New York City Council Transportation Committee by RPA New York Director Pierina Ana Sanchez on regarding the FY2018 preliminary budget

In response to the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget for the New York City Department of Transportation, Regional Plan Association expresses support for the following:

Fair Fares

New York City’s transit system is the lifeblood of its economy. Access to it is a necessity, and yet a 2016 Community Service Society report found that 1 in 4 low-income New Yorkers cannot afford current fares. RPA supports the call for the implementation of half-priced “fair fares” to ease the transportation burden for the lowest-income New Yorkers. As the MTA considers modernization of its fare payment technology, systems should be considered that ease implementation of more equitable pricing.

Safe Streets

RPA supports increased resources for Vision Zero efforts that will redesign streets for safety, and put more crossing guards on school routes. The City should continue work to ease congestion and make NYC streets work for all its users, from pedestrians and cyclists, to public transit, freight carriers and for-hire vehicles.

Expanded Bike Share

Citi Bike has been successful to date, serving 14 million trips per year with no public subsidy. RPA supports expansion to more communities eager for the service, especially to transit deficient neighborhoods that are home to lower- and moderate-income residents, including in phases 2 and 3 of the City’s original bike share analysis. New York City has nearly 12,000 on city streets today, and would need thousands more shared bikes to cover more of the city. As the program expands, some level of public resources will be required and should be considered.

Additional Transit Investments

RPA applauds the City’s historic commitments to the MTA, and its efforts to expand transit in the boroughs through proposals like the Brooklyn-Queens Connector. We urge the City to also consider moving forward the Triboro Line, a RPA proposal for a 24-mile surface transit route along existing tracks running from Bay Ridge to Coop City.  The Triboro would connect many neighborhoods underserved by transit and serve a growing demand for travel between the outer boroughs.