The people behind the Move NY plan have put significant thought and time into taking the disaster that was the Bloomberg Congestion Pricing plan and creating something that is at least somewhat feasible. However it is difficult to tell if the Move NY plan is a Band-Aid or a real opportunity to change what is clearly a broken funding system. For the MTA to be $16 billion in the whole (frankly it’s probably worse) is unfathomable, not to mention the state of NY roads, bridges, and tunnels is a public safety hazard. Does the Move NY plan for new revenue fundamentally improve the state of the MTA (as well as infrastructure) or does it just throw good money at bad. Move NY’s $1.5 billion projection of new revenue is somewhat vague as is the allocation. First they talked about 2/3rds going to the MTA and the rest going to infrastructure. Then they said it will be a 50/50 split. Well which is it? And once that allocation is determined what are the guarantees that allocation will remain? Has anyone mentioned paying off the massive MTA debt? It is difficult to imagine that there will be a new revenue source and NONE of it will go to paying off a suffocating debt.
The essence of this plan and of the Bloomberg plan is to treat Manhattan as an asset (which obviously it is) if someone wants to drive into Manhattan they have to pay for the privilege. It does not matter if they are trucks making deliveries servicing businesses and residents. It does not matter if people live in areas void of public transportation options. What about New Jersey residents? What do they have to pay for the privilege of Manhattan? What about charging people a few dollars for driving to the airports? JFK and LaGuardia are assets too, shouldn’t they be utilized the same way Manhattan is. Move NY wants to put tolls on bridges without them and give that money to the MTA. The bridges in question ARE NOT MTA assets. They belong to the City of New York. In return for surrendering such assets what is The City getting back exactly? (This is why the exact infrastructure component needs to be answered) The MTA has assets that can be better utilized for profit. The MTA has repeatedly surrendered airspace and property for nothing (or essentially noting) to real estate development. Why? Let development pay a fair price to the MTA. If there needs to be rezoning or other benefits to help offset the cost then The City can step in. Should the MTA be put into bankruptcy in order to restructure? Shouldn’t New Yorkers have a right to vote on some of the MTA board members? What private companies might be able to partner with the MTA for a long lasting mutually beneficial partnership? The Move NY proposal may be able to cause a nice shot in the arm for MTA revenue and infrastructure funding but until the systematic problems with the MTA are addresses the Move NY plan can never reach its full potential.
Leave a Reply