Your weekly guide to heroic and villainous actions in tri-state transportation and development.
U.S. Representatives Joe Crowley, Charlie Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Bill Pascrell, Bob Turner, and Peter King—when word broke about how bad the House transportation bill was to the tri-state region, these Representatives spoke out about the legislation, which would end dedicated federal transit funding and cut pedestrian safety programs. Representatives Crowley, Rangel, Nadler, and Maloney held a press conference in opposition, Representative Pascrell called the bill “an abomination,” and Representatives Turner and King expressed serious reservations.
Connecticut Transportation Committee Chairs—Transportation Committee co-Chairs, Senator Andrew Maynard and Representative Tony Guerrera, have gotten off to a quick start in advocating for the safety of all users of Connecticut’s roadways. In response to requests from fellow legislators and safe streets advocates to draft vulnerable user and intersection safety camera legislation, the Chairs moved both bills forward at the first committee meeting of the 2012 session. The vulnerable user bill would enhance penalties for careless drivers who injure or kill vulnerable users like pedestrians and cyclists, and the intersection safety camera legislation would allow municipalities of a certain size to install red light cameras at dangerous intersections.
Village of Great Neck Plaza—the Nassau County village adopted a complete streets policy on February 1, when Mayor Jean Celender led the Board of Trustees in a unanimous vote to “create a road system that will accommodate the needs of all users.” The Mayor and Board of Trustees have long worked with the Town of North Hempstead and the New York State Department of Transportation to transform local streets into a more walkable and bikeable environment.
TSTC Bike Donor—late last year, TSTC sent out an e-appeal for an office bike to help employees get to meetings in the city. Thanks to a generous contribution from a leading transportation and smart growth booster, our request has been fulfilled! Thank you to our bike donor, and to all who have supported TSTC’s work through the years!
U.S. Representative Nan Hayworth—the Lower Hudson Valley’s Congresswoman pledged to make sure that the Tappan Zee replacement would be “swiftly completed” in a Journal-News editorial. She assured readers that “the replacement bridge will be designed and built to accommodate mass transit, including rail service, in the future.” TSTC would like to see mass transit on the bridge from day one.
Payroll mobility tax opponents—unsatisfied with the cuts gained during New York’s 2011 payroll mobility tax deal, a group of state and local elected officials want to erode the MTA’s dedicated funding source even further. Under proposed legislation, towns and villages outside of New York City would not be subject to the tax that supports the MTA’s already strained Capital Program.
Governor Cuomo—earlier this week, two agencies under Cuomo’s control cancelled the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement’s February 16th stakeholder meeting. Without an opportunity for advocates to ask detailed, technical questions about the project’s draft environmental impact statement—the kind of opportunity afforded by a stakeholder meeting—issues concerning government accountability and the public process will continue to go unaddressed.
New York Senator Michael Ranzenhofer—on the heels of a massive cut to the federal tax benefit for transit commuters (and an accompanying rise in the federal tax benefit for drivers), Senator Ranzenhofer, who represents the Buffalo suburbs, is proposing a $500 annual tax credit for all E-ZPass users. The vast majority of drivers in the region already use E-ZPass and receive a reduced toll rate as result. A further reduction could mean less revenue for transit, bridge maintenance, and tunnel maintenance in the metropolitan region.
NJ Transit—a recent survey found that the New Jersey transit agency’s customers are less satisfied now than they were during the last quarter. Their overall rating, on 1-10 scale, went down from 5.2 to 5.1.