On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he has assembled a 16-person “Fix New York City” panel that will come up with solutions to the city’s gridlock problems and also bring more money to the MTA, reports the New York Daily News.
The panel consists of individuals including former MTA chief Tom Prendergast, four MTA board members, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, former governor David Paterson, transportation engineer Sam Schwartz, and a host of others. As Gothamist points out, the line-up, oddly enough, doesn’t include a single New York City official. The panel is charged with drafting a series of proposals by December that will bring relief to the city’s stressed transportation system.
“New York City is home to some of the most gridlocked streets in the nation and with this new advisory panel, we take a major step forward in coming up with a real solution to tackle the issue of congestion while helping to fund mass transit moving forward,” Cuomo said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the de Blasio administration was quick to dismiss Cuomo’s new panel. “We've yet to see a real plan from the governor on congestion pricing, and city riders don't need yet another commission to tell them that the state has failed their transit system,” spokesman Austin Finan told the Daily News.
While Governor Cuomo is an advocate of congestion pricing to raise funds to fix the subways, Mayor de Blasio has called the idea “inconceivable.” On the contrary, transit advocate groups are in favor of the idea.
“Congestion pricing is a fair and sustainable revenue source that could generate billions of dollars to fix transit while also alleviating traffic and boosting the region's economy,” said Riders Alliance executive director John Raskin. “If Governor Cuomo leads with a strong congestion pricing plan that generates billions of dollars for public transit, he will have the support of millions of frustrated subway and bus riders who are desperate for relief.”
As for now, one of the top priorities for the panel is finding additional revenue for the MTA to meet the agency’s needs.