October 30, 2016
By Corey Bearak, The Public Ought To Know
Queens, NY – Imposing a toll-tax scheme on the free Brooklyn East River crossings to Manhattan provides absolutely no relief to the commuters and businesses impacted by the planned L train shutdown. The “fairly” scheme proposed in a recent media piece offers neither net revenues nor traffic relief.
Tolling the free East River bridges connecting Brooklyn (and Queens) to Manhattan will not move New York. Rather any focus on ideologically driven toll-tax schemes, it really makes sense to forge a collaborative approach where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), City Hall, its Department of Transportation engage the MTA's labor unions, the elected officials who represent the affected commuters, residents and businesses, advocates, neighborhood leaders and community members.
At first glance rather simple relief measures exist and, perhaps, merit permanent adoption. Make many more MTA buses available, install dedicated (and enforced) bus lanes, including on the Williamsburg Bridge, look at bus to ferry to bus routes. Early educate the public on the alternative commuting options so riders can discern which alternatives work best for them.
Interestingly, these bus public transit options mirror measures many believe need implementation as part of an effort to improve bus public transit throughout the City. It certainly make clear the need for the MTA to purchase more new buses beyond current plans to replace the existing bus fleet. The ability to quickly plan bus routes to address the temporary L-line shutdown offers credence to another bus public transit recommendation made by The Public Ought to Know: Look at bus public transit in lieu of the costly investment requires to implement the BQX trolley scheme.
As to the “MoveNY Fairly” revenue claims, alternative revenues could secure resources to support public transit in a truly progressive manner.
Buses still offer the quickest, most cost effective and flexible means to get more people out of cars and help protect our environment.