Twenty Groups Urge MTA Board to Promptly Appoint Traffic Mobility Review Board and Ensure it Follows Open Meetings Law

Recommendations are Due After November 15, 2020, One Year From Today

Twenty groups representing rider, watchdog and industry groups today sent a letter to the MTA Board urging it to promptly appoint the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) and ensure that body follows the state Open Meetings Law (OML). The law establishing the TMRB requires that it make its recommendations on congestion pricing (by law Central Business District or “CBD” tolling) no earlier than one year from today, with the MTA Board ultimately setting the tolling charges. The TMRB is also charged with “reviewing” the MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program. 

Groups signing the letter include Reinvent Albany, Regional Plan Association, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC), Citizens Budget Commission, Riders Alliance, TransitCenter, and others. (See the letter for the full listing.)

Congestion pricing is expected to yield $15B after bonding to support the MTA's 2020-2024 Capital Plan; those funds will be placed in a “lockbox” for that purpose only. Drivers will be charged a yet-to-be-determined amount to enter the congestion zone south of 60th Street. 

Given the keen public interest, it is particularly important that the TMRB’s critical deliberations −which will affect millions of transit riders and drivers − be held in the open. Therefore, the groups asked that the MTA Board ensure the TMRB follows the Open Meetings Law, which requires that voting and deliberation by a public body be carried out only at a public meeting. The groups noted in the letter that the public interest is best served when the public can understand the reasoning behind government decision-making. 

The letter is available here, as well as an advisory opinion on the Open Meetings Law from the Committee on Open Government issued for a public body similar to the TMRB.