Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in October that he’s assembled a “Fix NYC” panel that will solve the city’s traffic problems and funnel more money to the MTA. It includes some well-known names, like “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz, former governor David Paterson and former MTA chair and CEO Tom Prendergast. All the panel is missing is a single person with any governing authority over New York City. (A petty snub of a political and personal rival perhaps?)

The panel was announced in a press release, in which Cuomo said that with the birth of the 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.”

Sixteen people were listed as panel members, all of whom are “transportation experts, representatives from the MTA region, local leaders and stakeholders,” according to Cuomo. None of the people listed actually govern New York City, the geographical area that the governor says the panel will fix. The absence of anyone from City Hall or the Department of Transportation or anyone in the city’s executive branch, and the fact that congestion pricing advocate Sam Schwartz is on the panel, seems to be another indication Gov. Cuomo wants to fund the MTA with some kind of traffic pricing instead of the mayor’s “millionaire’s tax.”

“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,” mayor’s office spokesperson Austin Finan told Gothamist. “Riders deserve real solutions and a dedicated transit funding stream like the millionaire’s tax the mayor has already proposed.”

Left unsaid at the moment is what kind of traffic pricing system would be endorsed by the governor, since state legislators said they hadn’t heard anything about East River bridge tolls when Cuomo first endorsed congestion pricing. Any NYC congestion pricing plan would require legislation passing in Albany.

            Source: Gothamist

Article by Michele Norton
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