Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2017-2018 Executive Budget Proposal: Topic "Transportation" - Testimonies

Hearing Event Notice:
https://www.nysenate.gov/calendar/public-hearings/february-15-2017/joint-legislative-public-hearing-2017-2018-executive

Archived Video:
https://youtu.be/droGzWOc1vw

________________________

                                                                   1

 1  BEFORE THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE FINANCE
    AND ASSEMBLY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEES
 2  -----------------------------------------------------

 3          JOINT LEGISLATIVE HEARING

 4             In the Matter of the
            2017-2018 EXECUTIVE BUDGET
 5              ON TRANSPORTATION
    
 6  -----------------------------------------------------

 7  
                             Hearing Room B
 8                           Legislative Office Building
                             Albany, New York
 9  
                             February 15, 2017
10                           9:41 a.m.
    
11
    
12  PRESIDING:

13           Senator Catharine M. Young
             Chair, Senate Finance Committee
14  
             Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
15           Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee
    
16  PRESENT:

17           Senator Liz Krueger 
             Senate Finance Committee (RM)
18  
             Assemblyman Robert Oaks
19           Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
    
20           Senator Diane J. Savino
             Vice Chair, Senate Finance Committee
21  
             Assemblyman David Gantt
22           Chair, Assembly Committee on Transportation
    
23           Senator Joseph Robach
             Chair, Senate Transportation Committee
24  
    

                                                                  2

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Transportation
 2  2-15-17
    
 3   PRESENT:  (Continued)
    
 4           Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Corporations,
 5             Authorities & Commissions
    
 6           Assemblyman Michael Cusick
    
 7           Senator James N. Tedisco
    
 8           Assemblyman Mark C. Johns
    
 9           Assemblyman Phil Steck
    
10           Assemblyman James Skoufis
    
11           Senator Timothy Kennedy 
    
12           Assemblyman Steven Otis
    
13           Senator Martin Malave Dilan
    
14           Assemblyman David G. McDonough  
    
15           Senator Thomas D. Croci
    
16           Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter
    
17           Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman
    
18           Assemblyman Edward Ra
    
19           Senator Leroy Comrie
    
20           Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
    
21           Senator Todd Kaminsky
    
22           Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley
    
23           Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright
    
24           Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou
    

                                                                  3

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Transportation
 2  2-15-17
    
 3   PRESENT:  (Continued)
    
 4           Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon
    
 5           Senator Elaine Phillips
    
 6           Assemblyman L. Dean Murray
    
 7           Assemblyman David Buchwald
    
 8           Senator Brad Hoylman
    
 9           Assemblyman N. Nick Perry
    
10           Senator Roxanne Persaud
    
11           Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein 
    
12  
    
13                   LIST OF SPEAKERS
    
14                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
15  Matthew J. Driscoll 
    Commissioner 
16  New York State Department 
     of Transportation                      8         18                 
17  
    Theresa Egan
18  Executive Deputy Commissioner
    New York State Department
19   of Motor Vehicles                    162        170
    
20  Veronique Hakim
    Interim Executive Director
21  Robert Foran
    Chief Financial Officer
22  Craig Stewart
    Senior Director, Capital 
23   Programs
    Metropolitan Transportation 
24   Authority (MTA)                      242        248
    

                                                                  4

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Transportation
 2  2-15-17
    
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
    
 4                                    STATEMENT   QUESTIONS
    
 5  Bill Finch 
    Acting Executive Director
 6  NYS State Thruway Authority          375         379
    
 7  Bernie Meyer
    Canaan Supt. of Highways
 8  President
    NYS Association of Town
 9   Superintendents of Highways
        -and-
10  Wayne E. Bonesteel
    Rensselaer Co. Engineer
11  Legislative Cochair
    NYS County Highway
12   Superintendents Association         405         414
    
13  Bill Carpenter
    CEO, Rochester-Genesee Regional
14   Transportation Authority
    President, New York Public 
15   Transit Association                 420         426
    
16  Alec Slatky 
    Policy Analyst
17  AAA New York State                   429         434
    
18  Paul Gendron
    Statewide PEF/DOT Labor
19   Mgt. Committee Labor Chair
    Karen Patterson
20  Statewide PEF/DOT Labor Mgt.
     Committee Labor Vice Chair
21  PEF                                  445
    
22  Scott Wigger
    Executive Director
23  Railroads of New York                457         462
    
24  
    

                                                                  5

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Transportation
 2  2-15-17
    
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
    
 4                                    STATEMENT   QUESTIONS
    
 5  John DelBalso 
    President
 6  NY Aviation Management
     Association                         465
 7  
    John Tomassi
 8  President
    Upstate Transportation  
 9   Association                         474
    
10  John Scott 
    Owner-Operator
11  Excelsior Driving School
        -for-
12  Empire Safety Council                483         493
    
13  Spyros Messados
    Committee for Taxi Safety            495         503
14  
    Kevin Barwell
15  President
    Limousine, Bus, Taxi
16   Operators of Upstate NY             513
    
17  Berj Haroutunian
    President
18  Black Car Assistance Corp.
        -and-
19  Guy Palumbo 
    Director of Driver Education
20  Black Car Fund                       524
    
21  Carley J. Hill 
    Chairwoman
22  The FAIR Committee                   535
    
23

24


                                                                  6

 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Good morning.  Good 

 2          morning.  I'll try that again.  Good morning.

 3                 AUDIENCE:  Good morning.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  All right.  

 5                 Today we begin the 111th in a series 

 6          of hearings conducted by the joint fiscal 

 7          committees of the Legislature regarding the 

 8          Governor's proposed budget for fiscal year 

 9          2017-2018.  The hearings are conducted 

10          pursuant to Article VII, Section 3 of the 

11          Constitution, and Article II, Section 32 and 

12          32A of the Legislative Law.

13                 Today the Assembly Ways and Means 

14          Committee and the Senate Finance Committee 

15          will hear testimony concerning budget 

16          proposals for transportation.  

17                 I will now introduce some of the 

18          members, and then Senator Young will do hers 

19          and so will Assemblyman Oaks.

20                 We have been visited by Assemblyman 

21          David Gantt, chair of the Transportation 

22          Committee; Assemblyman Michael Cusick, 

23          Assemblywoman Pam Hunter, Assemblyman Jeff 

24          Dinowitz, chair of the Corporations 


                                                                  7

 1          Committee.  

 2                 And Mr. Oaks, Senator -- Assemblyman 

 3          Oaks.  I was going to move you up.

 4                 SENATOR ROBACH:  You should have been 

 5          a Senator.  

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, we've been 

 7          joined by Assemblyman McDonough, 

 8          Assemblyman Johns, Assemblyman Ra, and 

 9          Assemblywoman Malliotakis.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

11                 Good morning.  I'm Senator Catharine 

12          Young, and I'm chair of the Senate Standing 

13          Committee on Finance.  And I'm joined today 

14          by several of my colleagues.  First, Senator 

15          Diane Savino, who is vice chair of the 

16          Finance Committee; Senator Liz Krueger, who 

17          is ranking member; Senator Joe Robach, who is 

18          chair of the Senate Standing Committee on 

19          Transportation; Senator James Tedisco, 

20          Senator Todd Kaminsky, Senator Marty Dilan, 

21          Senator Tom Croci, and Senator Tim Kennedy.  

22                 Mr. Chairman?  

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes, thank you.  

24                 But before I start, I would like to 


                                                                  8

 1          remind all of the witnesses testifying today, 

 2          and our colleagues on the bench, to keep your 

 3          statement within your allotted time limits so 

 4          that everyone can be afforded opportunity to 

 5          speak.  And you'll see we have the clocks 

 6          there -- they're on the dais and they're on 

 7          the wall, so you can see them.  

 8                 Now we will go to our first witness, 

 9          and that is the New York State Department of 

10          Transportation, Matthew Driscoll, 

11          commissioner.

12                 Good morning again.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.  

14          Thank you.  Good morning, everyone.  

15          Chairperson Young, Chairperson Farrell, 

16          Chairperson Robach, Chairperson Gantt, and 

17          members of the Finance, Ways and Means, and 

18          Transportation Committees, thank you for the 

19          opportunity to discuss Governor Cuomo's 

20          Executive Budget as it pertains to the 

21          Department of Transportation for the 

22          2017-2018 state fiscal year.  

23                 I'd like to begin with stating how 

24          honored I am to serve as the 12th 


                                                                  9

 1          commissioner of the Department of 

 2          Transportation.  During the course of my more 

 3          than 20 years of public service, I've worked 

 4          with many talented, dedicated and wonderful 

 5          individuals -- none more so than those I now 

 6          have the opportunity to work with at the 

 7          Department of Transportation.  Their 

 8          extraordinary professionalism and work ethic 

 9          are the reasons that New York State's 

10          multimodal transportation systems are among 

11          the most dependable and highly regarded in 

12          the nation.  

13                 I'd like to take this opportunity to 

14          publicly thank the women and men of the 

15          department.  Thank you for all you do.

16                 As the previous owner of successful 

17          small businesses, I came to understand and 

18          appreciate the inherent value of a dollar, 

19          and as such, I did all I could to control 

20          expenses while maximizing returns on the 

21          investments that I made.  I instilled that 

22          same discipline throughout my tenure as mayor 

23          of the City of Syracuse.  And now, as 

24          commissioner of a state agency with an 


                                                                  10

 1          $11 billion annual budget, I bring that same 

 2          approach to this department.  

 3                 I've worked with Governor Cuomo to 

 4          institute a performance-based accountability 

 5          culture within DOT that has demonstrated that 

 6          government can be run more efficiently and 

 7          that the public's money can be spent more 

 8          effectively.

 9                 The department aggressively 

10          streamlined the project selection, design, 

11          procurement and delivery processes.  As you 

12          well know, DOT is successfully using new 

13          procurement methods such as design-build, 

14          prequalification of contractors, and best 

15          value, in addition to the traditional 

16          design-bid-build procedure, to deliver its 

17          capital program.  I'll talk more about these 

18          procurement techniques in a few moments.  But 

19          perhaps little known is the entrepreneurial 

20          spirit that these new techniques have 

21          enabled, including the design, development 

22          and deployment of new innovative construction 

23          methods and the use of state-of-the-art 

24          materials such as precast bridge elements, 


                                                                  11

 1          rapid-set or ultra-high-performance concrete, 

 2          and slide-in bridge construction.  These 

 3          innovative methods have reduced both the cost 

 4          and the time it takes to design and deliver 

 5          construction projects.  And as we all know, 

 6          the more efficient we are with taxpayers' 

 7          money, the better off we all are.  

 8                 Last year I pledged to this committee 

 9          that I would address the department's process 

10          to accelerate construction and ensure that 

11          the Department of Transportation's capital 

12          program is creating jobs and facilitating 

13          local economic development.  I have done 

14          that, and have since directed the department 

15          to accelerate the award of projects so that 

16          construction can begin earlier.  By 

17          accelerating the timing of procurements, we 

18          will now take full advantage of the limited 

19          construction window in the Northeast.  As a 

20          result, projects which would have been 

21          completed over two construction seasons can 

22          now be delivered in one.  

23                 One of our best tools for saving time 

24          has been design-build.  Prior to the 


                                                                  12

 1          enactment of the Infrastructure Investment 

 2          Act of 2011, DOT delivered construction 

 3          contracts through a traditional 

 4          design-bid-build process.  By combining the 

 5          design and construction phases of a project 

 6          into one contract, project delivery is more 

 7          efficient, and project benefits are delivered 

 8          to the public sooner.  

 9                 Since being signed into law in 2011, 

10          DOT has awarded 25 design-build contracts 

11          valued in excess of $1.2 billion.  These 

12          projects are now underway throughout the 

13          state, and the results are overwhelmingly 

14          positive.  Projects are being delivered 

15          sooner, on-budget, and jobs are being 

16          created.  In addition to these contracts, 

17          there are currently five more under 

18          procurement, totaling an additional 

19          $360 million. 

20                 The Department has also identified 

21          14 projects statewide in excess of 

22          $900 million that may be candidates for 

23          design-build in the future.  The act's 

24          benefits make it clear that design-build 


                                                                  13

 1          authority should be made permanent.

 2                 Design-build was never intended to 

 3          replace the traditional design-bid-build 

 4          method, nor will it, but it has, without 

 5          question, been a valuable tool to accelerate 

 6          projects that would not have otherwise 

 7          advanced for years.  To sustain this positive 

 8          momentum, the Governor has included a 

 9          proposal in his Executive Budget to 

10          permanently extend these procurement 

11          techniques, and I urge your support for this 

12          proposal.  

13                 Last year, with your strong support, 

14          DOT realized the first long-term 

15          transportation infrastructure investment plan 

16          in nearly a decade.  The department is 

17          currently delivering the second year of the 

18          $21.1 billion five-year investment in our 

19          roads, bridges, rails, transit systems and 

20          airports, from Montauk to Niagara Falls. 

21          Together, these collective investments will 

22          keep New York's economy growing into the next 

23          century, while creating 250,000 construction 

24          jobs.  


                                                                  14

 1                 Senator Robach asks me often about 

 2          delivery.  So to illustrate the enormous 

 3          economic impact of the department's capital 

 4          plan, since last April, DOT-awarded projects 

 5          will have utilized more than 90,000 tons of 

 6          steel, the amount of steel used to 

 7          manufacture 90,000 automobiles; more than 

 8          6.7 million tons of asphalt -- that's the 

 9          equivalent of paving a four-lane highway from 

10          New York to California -- and more than 

11          280,000 cubic yards of concrete, or four and 

12          a half times the amount of concrete used to 

13          construct the Empire State Building.  

14                 To sustain this momentum, we must 

15          continue to invest in building infrastructure 

16          in every region of our state.  The Executive 

17          Budget released last month will do just that. 

18                 The Governor's Executive Budget 

19          proposal for the Department of Transportation 

20          not only honors the commitments made through 

21          the five-year capital plan; this proposed 

22          budget provides an additional $1.2 billion in 

23          new resources to improve roadway access to 

24          and from JFK Airport, and to accelerate the 


                                                                  15

 1          construction of several major regional 

 2          projects by as much as three years.  Those 

 3          projects include, among others, the 

 4          construction in the Town of Woodbury, the 

 5          Transit and Economic Development Hub, State 

 6          Route 17 and 32 interchange; construction of 

 7          the second phase of the new Kosciuszko Bridge 

 8          in New York City; reconstruction of State 

 9          Route 198, the Scajaquada corridor in 

10          Buffalo; and the replacement of the passenger 

11          rail station here locally in Schenectady.  

12                 The Executive Budget also sustains 

13          record-level funding for local road and 

14          bridge assistance under the CHIPS, 

15          Marchiselli, PAVE-NY and BRIDGE NY programs.  

16                 I'm also pleased to provide status 

17          updates on several of the new transportation 

18          infrastructure initiatives that were 

19          announced last year.  The upstate airport 

20          economic development and revitalization 

21          competition -- this was a $200 million 

22          competition announced by Governor Cuomo last 

23          year, and it challenged upstate airports to 

24          envision bold new plans to enhance safety, 


                                                                  16

 1          improve operations and access, reduce 

 2          environmental impacts, and create a better 

 3          passenger experience.  The first two winners, 

 4          Elmira Corning Regional Airport and the 

 5          Greater Rochester International Airport, 

 6          submitted innovative and transformative 

 7          plans.  Elmira was awarded $40 million to 

 8          support a $60 million re-imagination of the 

 9          airport -- increasing capacity, enhancing 

10          security, improving retail options, and 

11          modernizing to compete in the 21st century 

12          global economy.  Rochester was awarded 

13          $39.8 million to support its $54 million plan 

14          to bring new sustainability features into the 

15          airport, increasing capacity and safety, and 

16          promoting innovation at the site.  

17                 To build on this success, the Governor 

18          recently announced the winners of Round 2 of 

19          the upstate airport competition.  The 

20          Syracuse-Hancock International Airport will 

21          receive $35.8 million towards a $54 million 

22          project, including a state-of-the-art 

23          centralized security checkpoint, a 

24          revitalized terminal facade, and two 


                                                                  17

 1          completely redesigned concourses.  And 

 2          $38 million was just recently awarded to the 

 3          Plattsburgh International Airport to support 

 4          its $43 million investment to increase 

 5          capacity, including construction of a new air 

 6          cargo receiving and distribution center and 

 7          the establishment of a new customs facility.  

 8                 Last month I notified municipalities 

 9          across the state of the results of the 

10          $200 competitive funding awards for BRIDGE NY 

11          under the current two-year solicitation.  The 

12          BRIDGE NY program provides critical funding 

13          for local governments to rehab and replace 

14          bridges and culverts across every region of 

15          the state.  By providing BRIDGE NY funding to 

16          local governments, New York is building 

17          safer, more reliable bridges, protecting 

18          public safety, and supporting the economic 

19          competitiveness of communities by improving 

20          local infrastructure.  

21                 This year's awards will support 93 

22          bridges and 39 culverts and the rehab and 

23          replacement of those projects across the 

24          state.  At least one municipality in every 


                                                                  18

 1          county of the state that applied for funding 

 2          will be receiving an award for a bridge or 

 3          culvert project under this new program.  

 4                 In conclusion, over the next several 

 5          years the implementation of the department's 

 6          long-term transportation plan will play a 

 7          central role in the state's economic growth.  

 8          The acceleration of strategic investments in 

 9          transportation infrastructure, as proposed in 

10          the Executive Budget, will serve as a 

11          catalyst for job creation, access to new 

12          global markets, and enhanced community 

13          quality of life.  To that end, New York State 

14          Department of Transportation will ensure that 

15          through continued investments in 

16          transportation programs, we will foster 

17          economic opportunity in New York State.  It's 

18          what we must do as a state to sustain our 

19          position as the Empire State.  

20                 I want to thank you for your time this 

21          morning, and I'm happy to entertain any 

22          questions that you may have for me.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

24          much.  


                                                                  19

 1                 To begin the questioning, chairman of 

 2          the Transportation Committee, Assemblyman 

 3          Gantt.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Thank you very 

 5          much, Chairman Farrell.  

 6                 And thank you, Commissioner, for 

 7          coming before us today.  I have a few 

 8          questions that I'd like to ask because I have 

 9          some real concerns.  

10                 One is the design-build.  And I'm not 

11          sure where we end with up with that.  Given 

12          today's atmosphere with all the collusion and 

13          all the other stuff that we got going on.  

14          But I hope you guys can keep that under 

15          control.

16                 I also have a concern about Uber.  You 

17          know that place?  And while I've taken 

18          taxicabs all across the state, I'm not so 

19          sure that every system needs Uber.  And the 

20          reason being is -- and I live in the heart of 

21          quote, unquote, the ghetto.  And for years, 

22          the hack cabs were controlled by a very few 

23          people.  And finally, between Councilman 

24          Norwood and myself, working with City 


                                                                  20

 1          Council, we have improved the -- first of all 

 2          we've improved who has the license plates.  

 3          Before, people were doing the plates, paying 

 4          all the money, and then the -- in particular 

 5          this one guy, he paid the money one day; the 

 6          next day, the guy came by and took the hack 

 7          plate off.  Which really bothered me, because 

 8          people have to make a living.

 9                 With Uber, for instance, can you tell 

10          me why they pay 5.5 percent and the rest of 

11          the state pays approximately 8 percent in 

12          sales tax?  

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, I can't 

14          tell you that.

15                 But what I can tell you, first on 

16          design-build, is that it has -- as I provided 

17          in my remarks, it's worked remarkably well 

18          for the State Department of Transportation.  

19          But I want to make the point again that it 

20          will never replace design-bid-build.  But it 

21          is a tool in our tool belt that really helps 

22          us accelerate and deliver, on time and on 

23          budget, major projects.

24                 With respect to Uber, I can only tell 


                                                                  21

 1          you, personally speaking, I am supportive of 

 2          it.  I think it's a great opportunity, 

 3          particularly in upstate communities and in 

 4          rural communities, where transportation modes 

 5          are far and few in between.  And I'm 

 6          certainly hopeful that both legislative 

 7          bodies will be supportive of the passage of 

 8          Uber.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Then given that, 

10          why is it that the Governor says everybody 

11          has to have it?  Have you checked to see 

12          who's got good taxi service and who doesn't?  

13          Have you guys looked at any of that?

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, that 

15          would be a question for the Executive.  I'm 

16          not at this point dealing with Uber.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  So -- but you 

18          support it?  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I personally 

20          support it, yes.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  But you don't know 

22          how it's going to work in the different 

23          communities.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I know that 


                                                                  22

 1          it's going to -- and I've used it in other 

 2          cities.  It's a remarkable tool.  And so I 

 3          support it personally.  And if there is a 

 4          modest fee associated with that, my 

 5          experience has shown me it's faster and 

 6          frankly less expensive, in my experiences 

 7          with it, that I've utilized, than a 

 8          traditional taxicab.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Is Uber going to 

10          be forced to take people from every 

11          neighborhood?  Do you know?  

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Again, I don't 

13          know the answer to that.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Okay.  Those are 

15          some of the concerns that I have, because I 

16          think poor people in my neighborhood who 

17          don't have -- first of all, may not have the 

18          cellphone, but number two, who may not have 

19          the credit card, but still who need taxi 

20          service or livery services of some kind, what 

21          do they do?  What do you suggest to me that I 

22          tell them they should do?  

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I -- 

24          hopefully they have a friend who has a 


                                                                  23

 1          cellphone.

 2                 You know, look, Uber makes good sense.  

 3          It's being utilized across the nation.  The 

 4          facts are clear, it's helping create new 

 5          economies, it's growing jobs, it's providing 

 6          transportation in a cost-effective manner to 

 7          people who many times can't get it or can't 

 8          wait for a traditional cab.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  You say that, but 

10          you haven't checked the system in Rochester.

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

12          know, I guess what I would say to that, 

13          that's correct, I don't know the system in 

14          Rochester.  I know my hometown system.  It's 

15          not a criticism.  And I've used cabs here in 

16          Albany.  And sometimes, you know, I can't 

17          wait an hour.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Albany's the worst 

19          place in the world to get a cab, I agree with 

20          you, because I've --

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, 

22          depending on the time of the day or the time 

23          of the year, it's sometimes difficult to get 

24          a cab.  And I think the efficiency, the 


                                                                  24

 1          convenience of Uber -- and again, I want to 

 2          state for the record that I personally 

 3          support that.  But quite candidly, sir, 

 4          that's the negotiation between the Executive 

 5          and the legislative.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  And what do you 

 7          suggest we do about making the playing field 

 8          equal?  For instance, cab drivers in my 

 9          neighborhood pay somewhere in the 

10          neighborhood, I think, of $5,000, if I have 

11          that correct.  And Uber's going to have a 

12          much different insurance base.  What do we do 

13          to make the playing field equal so everybody 

14          can have a fair shot at it?  Or do we just 

15          allow Uber to close the regulars down, and 

16          then the public be damned?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I would 

18          suggest to you that this is the time that 

19          those negotiations should take place.  I hope 

20          they do, and I hope the result is that 

21          upstate has Uber.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Okay.  I have some 

23          other questions.  In terms of the DMV office 

24          in Rochester, where are we at with that?  


                                                                  25

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, the 

 2          DMV?

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  The DMV office in 

 4          Rochester.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I don't 

 6          want to speak for DMV.  You'll be -- 

 7          Commissioner Egan is here, you'll be speaking 

 8          to her later in the day.  I'll let her 

 9          respond to that.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Okay.  There's an 

11          issue with the signs on the Thruway in 

12          particular.  I see them as I drive back and 

13          forth from here to home.  What are we going 

14          to do with those signs?  Or do we have to 

15          take them down?  How much money was spent on 

16          them?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So no, we have 

18          not been told to take them down, and I want 

19          to clear that up right now.  As all of you 

20          probably know, I am actively engaged in a 

21          conversation with Federal Highway on the 

22          signs, and they've been very fruitful 

23          discussions.  And I want to say that the 

24          folks in Washington and here in New York 


                                                                  26

 1          State have been very open.  In fact, we have 

 2          formulated a workgroup made up of 

 3          transportation individuals from the 

 4          Department of Transportation and Federal 

 5          Highway.  We're having very productive 

 6          conversations relative to those.  

 7                 New York State, the DOT, we have 

 8          installed about 374 of those signs across the 

 9          state.  And I think the facts are clear.  

10          Since those signs have been installed, 

11          there's been an uptick of over 100,000 hits 

12          to the apps, which is all based on -- focused 

13          on tourism and growing the economy.  You may 

14          have read the other day that the revenues for 

15          the Taste NY program are up across the state.

16                 Tourism is a big business, as you all 

17          well know, in each of your districts and all 

18          across this state.  It's a $100 billion 

19          business in New York State, and it makes good 

20          sense to support local economies, local 

21          producers, local growers, local artisans and 

22          help them grow their businesses.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Commissioner, 

24          we've spent a lot of time in terms of public 


                                                                  27

 1          safety, distracted driving.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Mm-hmm.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  You hear of that 

 4          one?  Those signs are very distracting.  I 

 5          mean, I drive this way, so I can tell you.  

 6          And have you done anything to study that?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We don't 

 8          believe that they're distracting, we believe 

 9          that they're informational.  They're not 

10          directional, as well, but they provide 

11          information in particular regions.  As you 

12          know, New York State is based on regions.  

13          That's how the Governor has chosen to 

14          administer New York State, I think smartly 

15          so.  And so what these signs do is offer 

16          opportunities for people to understand those 

17          options that are available in each of the 

18          10 regions throughout New York State.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  But in the 

20          meantime, you were told a person who's in his 

21          car, that he should not use his cellphone.  

22          And --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Uh --

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Should not use his 


                                                                  28

 1          cellphone, and I agree with you.  However, I 

 2          also think the same thing happens when one 

 3          passes those Thruway signs out there.

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Clearly we do 

 5          not condone people using their cellphones 

 6          while they're driving.  The hope is that they 

 7          use it when they pull off at a rest area, a 

 8          text stop, or a passenger who may be with 

 9          them, and likely so, would use that to access 

10          that information as well.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  And you're going 

12          to let DMV deal with that.

13                 The Executive increased the proportion 

14          for the capital plan by $1.2 billion, of 

15          which $600 million is dedicated to a series 

16          of projects.  Do you have a breakdown of how 

17          the $600 million will be spent?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I do.  So 

19          it's $564 million will go towards the 

20          Kew Gardens Interchange.  It's a very busy 

21          place, with 250,000 vehicles going through 

22          that.  It's a big choke point, if you will, 

23          access to John F. Kennedy Airport.  

24                 And we've received $600 million in 


                                                                  29

 1          encumbrance relief for federal dollars to 

 2          support acceleration of projects like 

 3          Woodbury Commons, as an example.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  The question that 

 5          I always ask in each one of these is how -- 

 6          the deficiency of our roads and bridges, 

 7          because -- what's the percentage this year, 

 8          can you tell me?

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I can't give 

10          you the exact percentages here.  The overall 

11          condition of our roads and bridges is not in 

12          the poor category.  You know, and I think 

13          that's why, quite honestly, the BRIDGE NY 

14          program has been such a big success, because 

15          it is also addressing local bridges, locally 

16          owned bridges -- not state-owned bridges, 

17          locally owned bridges -- that are in need of 

18          much repair.  

19                 It's a program, you know, that we 

20          thought would really help locals address 

21          those needs.  It's been wildly popular.  We 

22          expect that to continue going forward.

23                 The question of infrastructure, I was 

24          speaking earlier today with Senator Tedisco 


                                                                  30

 1          about it.  The reality is, and I think all of 

 2          us know that we live in a very old state, we 

 3          live in the old Northeast, and much of the 

 4          infrastructure is very old.  Unfortunately, 

 5          over the past 40 or so years, a lot of that 

 6          infrastructure was ignored.  And so here we 

 7          are today with the task to deal with it 

 8          aggressively.  We're doing that.  That's one 

 9          of the reasons why we like design-build for 

10          the big megaprojects, you know.  

11                 And while we talk about the big 

12          projects at the Department of Transportation, 

13          many times we seem to focus on those big 

14          projects, I'd like to tell you there's about 

15          2500 projects in the five-year plan that are 

16          small and local.  And they're important to 

17          local communities.  So from my position, big 

18          or small, they're all important.  

19          Infrastructure is challenged.  I can tell you 

20          that this Governor is investing in it.  We 

21          have the biggest capital plan in the history 

22          of the Department of Transportation.  

23                 I would also say this, that it is 

24          incumbent upon our federal partners to 


                                                                  31

 1          continue to invest.  We know that there's 

 2          been conversations from President Trump's 

 3          administration that they're talking about an 

 4          infrastructure plan.  We hope that happens.  

 5          If that happens, New York State DOT is ready 

 6          to deliver, we will be poised to deliver 

 7          federal funds, in addition to our five-year 

 8          plan to address that aging infrastructure.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  But can we deliver 

10          on our part of the bargain?  Can we deliver 

11          on our percentage of those road or bridge 

12          projects?  

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, I'm 

14          having trouble hearing you.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  That's okay.  We 

16          want the feds to deliver.  However, can we 

17          deliver on our piece?  I'm sure that we pay a 

18          portion of that.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, we do.  

20          And we are delivering.  And I'm letting you 

21          know, here and now, we are delivering.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  And we can 

23          continue to deliver?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry?


                                                                  32

 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  We can continue to 

 2          deliver?

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We're going to 

 4          continue to deliver, and we're going to do it 

 5          faster.  As I outlined in my remarks, I've 

 6          changed the very structure that's been in 

 7          place for over 20 years at DOT on lettings.  

 8          So no longer will larger projects be let in 

 9          the fourth quarter, it will be done in the 

10          third quarter.  

11                 What does that mean?  That means 

12          instead of having a project go out in the 

13          fall, where people can't mobilize because 

14          winter's coming, it's going to be done in the 

15          spring.  So they'll be able to mobilize 

16          efficiently, and they've got a full 

17          construction season.  It's going to make a 

18          big difference.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Commissioner, you 

20          push design-build.  As one who happens to be 

21          of color, as one who's also concerned about 

22          whether or not minorities will get a fair 

23          share of that -- and the Governor has bragged 

24          about his 30 percent, which I don't believe.  


                                                                  33

 1          I have to tell you that.  I just don't 

 2          believe that -- can you tell me how we're 

 3          going to assure the state -- assure the state 

 4          of -- at least the minority communities, how 

 5          they're going to be able to participate in 

 6          that system?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, and I 

 8          can speak certainly on behalf of DOT.  It's 

 9          something that I have been committed to my 

10          entire professional career in public service.  

11          And I have a record of that, as mayor.  I 

12          continue that here.  I think we've done very 

13          well working towards that goal.  

14                 Through December, our number was about 

15          20 percent.  But we don't stop there, we 

16          continue to work with groups and individuals 

17          and businesses to mentor them across the 

18          state.  We'll also be partaking in some 

19          statewide educational -- a series of 

20          educational meetings later this year.  

21                 MWBE is very important to the 

22          Governor, it's very important to me, and it's 

23          very important to the state.  And so that is 

24          a big component of all of our project 


                                                                  34

 1          delivery, is to make sure that we are -- we 

 2          are -- working towards that goal.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you, 

 4          Chairman.

 5                 Senator?  

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 7                 Our next speaker is Senator Joe 

 8          Robach, who chairs the Transportation 

 9          Committee.

10                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Thank you, Senator 

11          Young.

12                 Commissioner, thank you for your 

13          comments.  And I would say I think we're 

14          definitely moving in a better direction, as 

15          you stated in your comments.  That for 

16          several years we didn't even have a capital 

17          plan, let alone parity with the MTA in roads 

18          and bridges, helped exacerbate our aging 

19          infrastructure, and I think was not the right 

20          direction.  So I'm glad we're moving in the 

21          right direction, and I do appreciate the 

22          lettings early and everything else.  

23                 But I do want to just talk about 

24          money, because I think it's important.  And 


                                                                  35

 1          certainly I think probably for everybody up 

 2          here, we hear from people -- from local 

 3          governments, constituents, people in the 

 4          field, engineers -- where we're at.  So -- 

 5          and I think it's important we let everybody 

 6          know.  So we all worked together, and we 

 7          fought for this very important framework, if 

 8          you will, of parity, which some people say is 

 9          a five-year plan, some people say is a 

10          six-year plan.  When we were in negotiations 

11          directly with the Governor, he said it had to 

12          be six years and it was $27 billion for the 

13          MTA, $27 billion for roads and bridges.  Is 

14          that all still in place, and where we're at?

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.  Yes.

16                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Okay, good.  

17                 So I do the math a little bit 

18          simplistically and say roughly we should be 

19          having about $4.5 billion a year going out 

20          for roads and bridges all across -- and 

21          that's in roads and bridges, that's for 

22          Long Island, New York City, all of upstate, 

23          everywhere.  Do we try to kind of like hit 

24          that goal annually, or not necessarily?  


                                                                  36

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.  Of 

 2          course, yes, we want to, but remember, last 

 3          year you -- with the Governor, you provided 

 4          the first real long-term capital plan.

 5                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Right.

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So as that 

 7          progresses forward, obviously the dollars 

 8          become -- they start in planning, whether 

 9          it's local projects or state projects, and 

10          that morphs forward. 

11                 So as an example, this year we have 

12          $5 billion in the capital program.  About 

13          3.8 of that is for road and bridges.  But not 

14          all of that will actually take place this 

15          year, because people need to do design, they 

16          need to do, you know, other work to get that 

17          in the queue to move forward.

18                 And, you know, look, we're also 

19          looking at projects or work that has been on 

20          the shelf and how can we help accelerate that 

21          as well.  So, you know, the idea -- in terms 

22          of the resources, you have provided the 

23          department the biggest capital plan that it's 

24          ever had, certainly before me.  But we're 


                                                                  37

 1          very mindful of making that money work, work 

 2          efficiently, and work in an expeditious 

 3          manner.  Which is why I advocate for 

 4          design-build.  It will not replace 

 5          design-bid-build.  But that for us, and I 

 6          think for communities across the state, it's 

 7          a great tool to have in our toolbox.

 8                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Yeah.  I know, again, 

 9          my goal is to get as much work out the door 

10          as we can.  I don't want to be gluttonous, 

11          but I realize there's a lag.  So if I'm 

12          answering the question to somebody to say 

13          where is this money that we pledged in the 

14          budget -- so the answer would be maybe we're 

15          on a little delay, it may take a little bit 

16          longer than six years, but we're really 

17          working and it's getting out the door.  

18                 Would that be fair?  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That would be 

20          fair.  But I would also call and ask before 

21          you answer that question, so we can tell you 

22          accurately where it is in the pipeline.  

23                 But some of these larger projects, and 

24          in particular when you're working with 


                                                                  38

 1          locals, take time.  They take time for local 

 2          reasons, and they take time for procurement 

 3          reasons.

 4                 So -- but it's true, I'm committed to 

 5          moving the money out the door faster.  I 

 6          continue to do that.  I discussed some of 

 7          that here today.  I've realigned, and I 

 8          discussed that with you last year here, 

 9          administratively how we work internally.  I 

10          think we have a much more efficient internal 

11          flow.  And so I think it's working better for 

12          the Department of Transportation.

13                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Yeah.  I guess I 

14          would -- I have a lot of questions.  I'll try 

15          to expedite.

16                 You know, I guess I would like to 

17          see -- and I realize it's not just you, we 

18          have to work with the Governor and everybody 

19          in the process.  But going back to my 

20          colleague Dave Gantt's comments, you know, 

21          when we wanted to get those signs put up and 

22          the Governor had the will, we did it in no 

23          time.  I guess I'd like to see a little bit 

24          more of that urgency, especially in a 


                                                                  39

 1          geographic sense.  

 2                 Like I love the bridge program, 

 3          because there's a little something for 

 4          everybody in how we spread out the money and 

 5          assistance there, and people can see it.  

 6          This isn't so much a question, just an 

 7          observation.  Most of the things I see in 

 8          upstate New York are a little bit more of 

 9          maintenance.  I see a lot of things in 

10          downstate New York, not only for the MTA, but 

11          in roads and bridges, that are capital.  So 

12          when I have somebody say to me, you know, 

13          where's that money, it's harder and harder 

14          for me for answer it.  

15                 The good news is there's a lot of 

16          activity.  I think, because of your comment, 

17          we all agree with the aging infrastructure.  

18          I think it's very important that we use our 

19          resources to try and get that out as 

20          geographically as possible.  

21                 And there are a lot of projects that 

22          are shovel-ready all across the state -- not 

23          just in my district, but, you know, Buffalo, 

24          Syracuse, you name it.  It seems to me like 


                                                                  40

 1          we should be able to get to those without as 

 2          much delay if we have the funding in place.  

 3                 So I guess more than a question, it 

 4          would be my request that hopefully we can 

 5          really improve on what you've already 

 6          improved and kind of make that a little bit 

 7          quicker.  I think it would be very well 

 8          received all across the state, especially in 

 9          upstate New York.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Understood.

11                 SENATOR ROBACH:  And one last thing, 

12          too.  You answered part of it.  So the 

13          Governor puts in -- because, you know, we're 

14          trying to do some of these other projects -- 

15          $1.2 billion additional DOT funds for road 

16          and bridge, which is great.  Where is that 

17          money, what pool -- where is that money 

18          coming from?  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The 1.2?  It's 

20          coming from DOB.  And that's specific to the 

21          Kew Gardens Interchange, which I explained, 

22          and then --

23                 SENATOR ROBACH:  So that would come 

24          out of this $27 billion that we've planned --


                                                                  41

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  It's new 

 2          money.  We have $3.8 billion, but we're 

 3          getting another 1.2, so we have $5 billion.  

 4          But that 1.2, 564 is going towards the Kew 

 5          Gardens Interchange, and the 600 encumbrance 

 6          relief will go to some of the accelerated 

 7          projects that I described, like Woodbury 

 8          Commons.

 9                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Okay.  And then I'd 

10          just say one last thing too, because I don't 

11          want to manipulate too much time here.  I'm 

12          hopeful, and I think we're going to try to 

13          negotiate it, even in these challenging 

14          times, I think for CHIPS and Marchiselli 

15          funds.  Those are critically important.  You 

16          know, we kind of say we're going to focus a 

17          lot in maintenance.  I think it would almost 

18          be better for us to focus on capital and let 

19          the locals a little bit focus more on 

20          maintenance, because that's what they do 

21          every day.  

22                 To do that, we have to at least 

23          increase to the rate of inflation or greater 

24          those local fundings.  And it's not at this 


                                                                  42

 1          particular table, but important to us all.  

 2          You were a mayor; you know that they love 

 3          when we can give them some relief to do 

 4          roadwork or anything else --

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

 6                 SENATOR ROBACH:  -- Because they don't 

 7          have a lot of money.  

 8                 So I hope, as we move forward -- I 

 9          know the Senate will be trying to negotiate 

10          an increase in that category.  I hope as the 

11          commissioner you see the need and will be 

12          amenable to that.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, and I 

14          just want to say I know the need, having 

15          lived it, as you've described.  And that is 

16          very much, you know, how we arrived with 

17          PAVE-NY.  So while CHIPS money has remained 

18          the CHIPS money, and it's local money that's 

19          fungible for them for the roads, the PAVE-NY 

20          money is also flexible money for them in 

21          addition to CHIPS, so that they get to 

22          determine -- not DOT, but the locals get to 

23          determine, you know, what roadwork they want 

24          to do.  


                                                                  43

 1                 That's new.  It wasn't like that 

 2          previously.  DOT typically insisted that that 

 3          local work be connected to the state system.  

 4          We have now provided more flexibility to the 

 5          locals with the PAVE-NY program, and we give 

 6          that money to them in the same formula as 

 7          CHIPS is distributed.  And I know many people 

 8          across the state have been very happy about 

 9          that.  

10                 But I don't disagree with you.  You 

11          know, this is the time of the year where the 

12          negotiation takes place, and I would 

13          encourage you to do so.

14                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Just real quick, one 

15          parochial thing I just want to say too.  

16          So -- and maybe you can explain to me how 

17          this works.  So you know we've been trying to 

18          do the 390/490 interchange, we've got a bad 

19          bridge there where stuff fell off and hit a 

20          car, and of course -- rightfully so -- that 

21          alarms the public.  

22                 Then Senator Schumer came in and said, 

23          I've earmarked X amount of millions of 

24          dollars for that project -- yet we're not 


                                                                  44

 1          doing it yet.  How does that work?  And how 

 2          do we capture that money?  And does that 

 3          really doing do anything for us, expediting 

 4          the project?  

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  What, the 

 6          federal money?

 7                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Well --

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The federal 

 9          money obviously -- 

10                 SENATOR ROBACH:  I only know what I 

11          read in the newspaper, also, because he 

12          didn't tell me directly.  But he said in 

13          addition to everything else -- 

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you know 

15          what they say about reading newspapers, 

16          right?  

17                 SENATOR ROBACH:  -- he had earmarked 

18          specific money for that project above and 

19          beyond what we had talked about.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

21                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Is there some -- I 

22          don't know how that works.  Is there some --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, there's no 

24          additional money.  And I don't want to speak 


                                                                  45

 1          for the Senator, but we get federal funds.  

 2          So perhaps that's what he was speaking to.

 3                 SENATOR ROBACH:  So there's not -- he 

 4          really doesn't have the ability, then, other 

 5          than generically, to go to the state to say 

 6          this federal money has to specifically go to 

 7          this project like a -- more like an earmark 

 8          or a member item?  

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We use the 

10          federal funds across the state, across the 

11          board.  He's been very supportive with not 

12          only the Department of Transportation's work 

13          in Rochester, but other efforts as well.

14                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Well, I'll get my 

15          last plug and then I'll be done.  I'll just 

16          remind you that that 390/490 interchange in 

17          Rochester has more cars through it every 

18          morning than the Tappan Zee Bridge.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Two hundred 

20          thousand.

21                 SENATOR ROBACH:  There you go.  

22                 Thank you.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you, Senator.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 


                                                                  46

 1          Mr. Chairman.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman 

 3          McDonough.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Thank you, 

 5          Chairman.  

 6                 And good morning, Commissioner, and 

 7          welcome again.  

 8                 A lot of what I wanted to ask was 

 9          covered.  But I'm from Long Island and Nassau 

10          County, and my region, which is Region 10, 

11          I'm concerned about the amount of work that's 

12          going to be in Region 10.  

13                 We have some parkways, and I'll just 

14          gloss over them so that -- we won't take too 

15          much time.  But the Wantagh Parkway is in bad 

16          shape.  The Sagtikos Parkway is in need of 

17          somehow improving that, because the 

18          traffic -- and I drive it frequently -- is 

19          horrendous.  

20                 And of course we talked about the 

21          JFK Expressway, somebody already mentioned 

22          that.  That is going to be done in 

23          conjunction with the development at Kennedy 

24          Airport, or are you getting it done prior?  


                                                                  47

 1          Do you know the schedule on that?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  In conjunction 

 3          with --

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  With the 

 5          redevelopment of Kennedy?

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  We'll 

 7          be starting that work and are starting that 

 8          work now.  The design, you know.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Okay.  All 

10          right.  And that's design-build also, right?  

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Okay.  The 

13          infrastructure problem you've addressed 

14          somewhat already, and you and I talked about 

15          it earlier.  But of the 17,000 bridges in the 

16          State of New York, DOT has control of 

17          probably over half of those, right?  

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, about 

19          8300.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Okay.  Now, 

21          your evaluation of those bridges, from my 

22          information, is on a scale of 1 to 7, I 

23          think, that they evaluate it.  And I think 7 

24          is the worst condition, right?  I understand 


                                                                  48

 1          that many of them are above 3.  Would you 

 2          agree with that?

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, 

 4          many are what?  

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Many of the 

 6          bridges that have been evaluated are above 3 

 7          in the evaluation.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Above 3?

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Some 4.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Likely.  Above 

11          3?

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Yeah.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, perhaps.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  So that means 

15          they have to -- I realize that there's 

16          many --

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So they're 

18          like in moderate condition.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Pardon me?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Moderate 

21          condition.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Moderate.  

23          Well, above 3 starts to get poor, right?  

24                 Many of the bridges are not controlled 


                                                                  49

 1          by DOT.  Does your inspections and evaluation  

 2          do those bridges as well, even though they're 

 3          locally controlled?

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, we 

 5          inspect local bridges as well.  And we try to 

 6          work with local communities, having 

 7          experienced this, where there may be a 

 8          reduction in weight limits, as an example.  

 9                 Rather than just saying you've got to 

10          close the bridge, we work with locals, 

11          locally owned bridges, so that, you know, 

12          they can identify funds to address their 

13          bridges.  

14                 But again, I think that's where this 

15          BRIDGE NY program has been very successful 

16          thus far, in our first go at it, and we think 

17          that that success will continue helping 

18          support locals.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Okay, and you 

20          mentioned BRIDGE NY.  There's also PAVE-NY.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  A separate 

22          program.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  And a lot of 

24          the roads -- and I know going through winters 


                                                                  50

 1          makes it very tough.  But some of the 

 2          parkways I just mentioned -- the Wantagh 

 3          Parkway, for instance, is in serious need of 

 4          being redone.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  And 

 6          we're looking to repave.  And I drove that 

 7          Wantagh Parkway myself, because I had heard 

 8          about it from you and others, so I did drive 

 9          that myself to experience that ride.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Right.  Well, 

11          it does need it.  So that's part of your 

12          goal --

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  -- and we'd 

15          like to see that done as soon as possible.

16                 Let's go to transportation aid.  The 

17          Governor's proposed budget is flat, no change 

18          from last year for non-MTA transportation.  

19          In Nassau County on Long Island, and in 

20          Suffolk County as well, there's no increase 

21          in funding, yet the increase in expenses is 

22          tremendous.  

23                 Now, let me give you the example of 

24          Nassau County, which went to 3P, public 


                                                                  51

 1          private partnership, five years ago.  They 

 2          were under MTA, called the Long Island Bus 

 3          division of MTA.  Because of the financial 

 4          structure of Nassau County and because they 

 5          weren't able to continue to pay, MTA told 

 6          them, We're going to cut the service.

 7                 At that time, the county executive 

 8          then decided we'll go into privatization.  A 

 9          study was done for a year and a half, finally 

10          they did privatize, and the cost estimate -- 

11          and the cost result has been less than what 

12          it would have been with MTA.  However, costs 

13          go up.  Now it's been five years.  For the 

14          last two years they have had the same funding 

15          from STOA, State Operating Assistance, and 

16          this year the same thing.

17                 Right now they've told the Nassau 

18          County Legislature and they've told the 

19          Nassau County Executive that unless something 

20          is done, as of April 1st they're going to cut 

21          routes tremendously.  I'll get you a copy of 

22          that.  Fifty-four-hundred riders will be 

23          impacted.  Now, we've got almost 100,000 

24          riders on a daily basis there.  But 5400 


                                                                  52

 1          riders, and most of these routes will cover 

 2          people like students, people who don't have 

 3          cars or other ways of transportation, and 

 4          minority communities that really need the bus 

 5          service.  They can't afford a taxi or 

 6          anything like that.  

 7                 And I'm hopeful that the Governor 

 8          is -- maybe you know -- in the Governor's 

 9          30-days amendments and in our negotiations, 

10          that we can restore that.  The same thing is 

11          for upstate non-MTA transportation.  They all 

12          remain flat.

13                 In the one I'm talking about in 

14          Nassau County, they have a $6 million 

15          deficit.  It started at 12, they've trimmed 

16          everything they can, it's down to $6 million.  

17          The legislature has said they definitely want 

18          to fund that.  But as you may well know, 

19          Nassau is under the Nassau Interim Financial 

20          Authority, NIFA, and NIFA has refused that.  

21                 So we're trying now to get some way to 

22          get that additional money, because those 

23          riders who will be impacted are the most 

24          needy riders, and -- but it has to be done.  


                                                                  53

 1          The bus system operates on a cost-plus basis, 

 2          so it's not -- there's no fat in there.  

 3                 So any influence you have on that, 

 4          we'll see what the Governor's proposals and 

 5          our negotiations are.  But that's critical.  

 6                 The other thing was mentioned already, 

 7          and Chairman Gantt said it, the blue signs.  

 8          I've had a lot of people -- and I'm in 

 9          Long Island, but you see a lot of them on the 

10          Southern State Parkway, a lot of them out on 

11          the expressways, and I've seen them coming 

12          upstate.  I'm told that the USDOT has told 

13          you, told New York, stop putting them up; 

14          correct?  Stop putting any new ones up?  

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We agreed to 

16          hold any further sign installations while we 

17          work through this workgroup process that 

18          we've been engaged in.  And we are engaged, 

19          and they are engaged with us as well.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  And I know 

21          this comes from news reports, but is there a 

22          goal from the feds to say we'd like to get 

23          those removed because they were done without 

24          permission?


                                                                  54

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The Federal 

 2          Highway has not said to me, remove the signs.  

 3          They are working with us.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  But they were 

 5          done, as I understand, without the permission 

 6          which is required before you put up some 

 7          signs like that.  Am I correct on that?

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, their 

 9          concern with the signs is, as an example, the 

10          font size.  Or the web address.  Or 

11          lower-case lettering on the signs.  That is 

12          their concern with the signs.  The signs are 

13          erected in -- following all the state and 

14          federal DOT safety regulations with, you 

15          know, breakaway poles, if you will, supports.  

16          But their concerns are the font size, the web 

17          addresses, and lower-case lettering.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Okay.  Thank 

19          you very much for your time.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

21          sir.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Thank you, 

23          Chairman.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  


                                                                  55

 1                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

 2          Simon and Assemblyman Skoufis.

 3                 Senator?  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 5          Mr. Chairman.  

 6                 We've been joined by Senator Leroy 

 7          Comrie.

 8                 So, first of all, welcome.  We're so 

 9          happy to have you.  And I want to sincerely 

10          thank you and Regions 4, 5 and 6, which are 

11          in my Senate district, as you know, because 

12          they've always been so responsive and they do 

13          a great job.  And I just want to say that 

14          publicly.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So beginning, I 

17          want to put my upstate hat on for a second 

18          and I want to talk about state transit 

19          operating aid.  So as you know, in the 

20          Governor's budget proposal he recommends 

21          $5 billion in transit operating assistance, 

22          an increase of $30 million for the MTA.  And 

23          they would receive $4.5 billion, while 

24          downstate non-MTA providers would receive 


                                                                  56

 1          $303 million.  Upstate operators would 

 2          receive $199 million.  And that reflects an 

 3          increase that the Legislature put in last 

 4          year, but it's the same amount of the 

 5          operating funding as last year.

 6                 So my question is, do you believe that 

 7          there's a structural funding problem in 

 8          regards to upstate transit?

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  And if you 

11          believe that, what steps can be taken to 

12          ensure that the upstate transit operators, 

13          including Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and 

14          Albany have more reliable and predictable 

15          funding?  Because we need -- you know, the 

16          Legislature obviously is willing to try to 

17          address this problem, but we need partners.  

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Well, 

19          look, the stark reality is that the construct 

20          by which these organizations were built 

21          versus downstate is very different from many 

22          years ago.  And you and I have discussed 

23          this, as have others with me.  

24                 Where in the downstate they have 


                                                                  57

 1          dedicated revenue streams that are built off 

 2          of their tax base, upstate communities did 

 3          not do that, never did that.  And so now as, 

 4          you know, over the last 20 years there was an 

 5          exodus from upstate -- we all know the 

 6          story -- it's increasingly more difficult to 

 7          try to place an additional fee, if you will, 

 8          on existing tax structures.  So there is an 

 9          imbalance between downstate and upstate.  

10                 That is a function of the Legislature.  

11          I think it's a function as well of the State 

12          of New York working with local communities to 

13          identify where potentially additional 

14          revenues, locally and/or state, might be 

15          applied to mass transit in the upstate areas.  

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So as you point 

17          out, the Legislature did step up last year 

18          and put more money in the budget.  But as I 

19          said, we need partners.  So hopefully we can 

20          work together with you and the Governor to 

21          try to correct some of the imbalance that 

22          exists.  Because there are so many people -- 

23          as you know, upstate, transportation is a 

24          huge issue.  I mean, you look at my district 


                                                                  58

 1          that is so rural, it's a very, very 

 2          compelling issue.  So I just wanted to ask 

 3          you about that.

 4                 Switching gears a little bit, the 

 5          Governor proposes enhanced enforcement powers 

 6          for the Public Transportation Safety Board, 

 7          including withholding statewide mass transit 

 8          operating assistance and other state aid.  

 9          This operating assistance, as you know so 

10          well, is necessary for transit systems 

11          throughout the state to remain operational.  

12          And according to the bill copy in support of 

13          the proposal, it says "The Federal Transit 

14          Administration has determined that current 

15          state law does not provide the PTSB with 

16          sufficient enforcement power."  

17                 My question is, does the department 

18          have any written documentation or 

19          communication from the FTA which states that 

20          New York must have this authority to withhold 

21          the operating assistance in order to be in 

22          compliance?  Do we have --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We do.  We do.  

24          It's the FTA who's forcing this on us.  And 


                                                                  59

 1          yes, we do.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So when did this 

 3          come up or emerge?  Did it come up recently, 

 4          or -- I guess the Legislature would be, I 

 5          would be interested in seeing any 

 6          documentation or any kind of background 

 7          material on it as we go through the budget 

 8          process.  It would be very helpful, 

 9          Commissioner.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.  We'll 

11          be happy to provide that.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's wonderful.  

13          Thank you.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  This has come 

15          up in the last couple of years.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Has there 

17          been a proposal legislatively, though, to 

18          make this change?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Not that I'm 

20          aware of.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Not until now.

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  But we work 

23          closely with them on this as well.  I mean, 

24          obviously there's a lot of corridors in 


                                                                  60

 1          New York and throughout the Northeast.  So 

 2          we're engaged.  But I'm happy to provide that 

 3          information to you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's wonderful.  

 5          Thank you.

 6                 Another issue is the Lower Hudson 

 7          Transit Link program.  And in coordination 

 8          with the project to replace the Tappan Zee 

 9          Bridge, in late 2012 the Governor created a 

10          Mass Transit Task Force to recommend regional 

11          transit approvals.  And in 2014, the task 

12          force released its final report with 

13          recommended transit improvements between 

14          Rockland and Westchester counties across the 

15          Tappan Zee Bridge.  And now you, as the 

16          department, are overseeing the Lower Hudson 

17          Transit Link Program.

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  The first phase of 

20          the program began in 2015, and it's scheduled 

21          to be in operation in 2018, I believe.  Is 

22          that correct?  

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's 

24          correct.


                                                                  61

 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So the first 

 2          phase of it includes the I-287 corridor 

 3          between Suffern to the west, White Plains to 

 4          the east.  So we have some questions about 

 5          the time frame.  What's the time frame for 

 6          Phase 2 and subsequent phases of the Lower 

 7          Hudson Transit Link program?  Because we have 

 8          several members who are impacted by this.

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, that is 

10          subject to discussions with the 

11          municipalities.  But I think I could probably 

12          answer all of this for you to let you know we 

13          are on track to meet the October 2018 

14          service, which will open when the bridge 

15          opens.  We are in procurement for an operator 

16          now, so I can't really talk about that.  I'm 

17          sure you can appreciate that.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I understand.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  But we are 

20          seeking -- right.  We are seeking an operator 

21          now.  But we are on track to be open with BRT 

22          on -- in October, rather, of 2018.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

24                 Does that include a schedule for 


                                                                  62

 1          further bus improvements down the road?  I'm 

 2          sure people would --

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, for 

 4          what?  

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Will there be a 

 6          schedule for further bus improvements 

 7          established later on, do you think? 

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's going 

 9          to be a discussion, you know, in the future.  

10          I think there's a lot of desire to see that 

11          happen.  You know, we're really focused on 

12          getting this open, right?  And then as you 

13          learn and watch and grow and build out a 

14          system, that will be a conversation certainly 

15          between the Executive, the Legislature, and 

16          local communities.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

18                 Another issue that's popped up is 

19          related to divisible load permits.  And the 

20          Governor proposes to increase the statutory 

21          cap on divisible load permits, thereby 

22          raising $10.8 million in revenue over the 

23          next five years.  And as you know -- you know 

24          better than anybody else what a divisible 


                                                                  63

 1          load permit is.  It's required to operate a 

 2          vehicle or a combination of vehicles to haul 

 3          weights exceeding the limitations that are 

 4          established in the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

 5                 So I hear quite often from some of my 

 6          local governments and so on about the wear 

 7          and tear on the roads.  And I know that 

 8          you're very concerned about that also.  So 

 9          what is causing this need for more divisible 

10          load permits, given the increased potential 

11          highway traffic safety risk -- because people 

12          are concerned about that with the heavy 

13          trucks -- and additional wear and tear on the 

14          roads and bridges, especially in the context 

15          of no additional funding for maintenance of 

16          those very same roads and bridges?  

17                 So it looks like we're going to 

18          dramatically increase the number of divisible 

19          load permits, but there isn't any extra 

20          funding to address some of the road issues 

21          that may arise because of that.  So what's 

22          really spurring this?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, I think 

24          there's an uptick in the industry.  And 


                                                                  64

 1          certainly the industry has been active on 

 2          that.  That's a good sign, in the sense that 

 3          in that economy things are moving in the 

 4          right direction.

 5                 But we also -- and we're cognizant of 

 6          the fact that, you know, we want to 

 7          understand the weights of particular vehicles 

 8          that may be on a particular road.  And so, 

 9          you know, we also have to and need to issue a 

10          permit.  And so we can restrict certain loads 

11          to certain roadways.  So we make sure, to the 

12          extent possible, that we do so in a way that 

13          does not damage existing infrastructure and 

14          direct those traffic flows onto existing 

15          infrastructure that can handle those weights.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So I think 

17          it's another justification, though, if we go 

18          forward with this, to do -- as Senator Robach 

19          pointed out -- more local road and bridge 

20          funding, just to help the localities.

21                 I wanted to discuss briefly the work 

22          zone camera pilot program.  And in the State 

23          of the State, the Governor proposed a work 

24          zone camera pilot program which actually 


                                                                  65

 1          would place cameras in DOT work zones, and 

 2          signage alerting people to the cameras.  DOT 

 3          would use its data to compile statistics and 

 4          study how to better enforce the law and make 

 5          work zones safer.  

 6                 What is curious, however, is that 

 7          there is no funding for this in program that 

 8          we can identify in the Senate included in the 

 9          Governor's Executive Budget proposal.  So how 

10          does DOT expect to pay for this program, and 

11          how much would the program cost?

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, it's 

13          funded as part of the capital program.  But 

14          also we will be using it as part of our 

15          construction contracts as well.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It's funded as part 

17          of the capital program?  And how much would 

18          that cost?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't have 

20          that number off the top of my head.  I can 

21          get you that number.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be 

23          helpful to get that.  Thank you.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I do want to 


                                                                  66

 1          say, you know, work zone safety is extremely 

 2          important to us, for obvious reasons.  And 

 3          there's been some tragic incidents that 

 4          happened last year.  And it's something that 

 5          we're really focused on, and also working 

 6          with the new leadership at the Thruway on, 

 7          and the State Police, because we want to do 

 8          more to protect, you know, emergency workers, 

 9          state workers, folks who are working in these 

10          interstates and these roadways.  I don't 

11          think we can ever do enough.  So that's a big 

12          focus for us going forward as well.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  And we 

14          agree that we want our workers to be safe, 

15          there's no question about that.  And the 

16          Legislature in the past, as you know, has 

17          strengthened the laws in regards to work zone 

18          safety.  

19                 But how do you anticipate using the 

20          data that you would compile to change -- you 

21          know, you're talking about this is important 

22          to you, and I know that it is.  But how would 

23          you change enforcement and make the work 

24          zones safer based on this data?  


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I 

 2          really -- I think it boils down to education 

 3          and enforcement.  The best way to get people 

 4          to pay attention is to hit them in the 

 5          pocketbook, and that's really what it's going 

 6          to boil down to.  But the data will show us, 

 7          you know, more heavily traveled areas, maybe 

 8          areas that have significantly higher speeds 

 9          than perhaps others.  That helps us, that 

10          data helps us then work with the State 

11          Police, as an example, so that they can 

12          target particular areas.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So that's 

14          the role that the State Police would have, is 

15          that --

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, we don't 

17          do enforcement.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Right.  Right.  But 

19          you would be working closely, obviously, with 

20          them?

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  But I 

22          think that's the most effective way to get 

23          people to pay attention.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  And 


                                                                  68

 1          finally, I just have a quick question about 

 2          design-build, because you spoke about that 

 3          earlier.  But has the department accounted 

 4          for any savings associated with the 

 5          design-build?  Have you come up with any kind 

 6          of study or report on that as far as what 

 7          savings might be there for the taxpayers?

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, we have 

 9          data.  And savings isn't always in money, 

10          it's in time.  Because time is money.  But we 

11          do have documentation to that, and we can -- 

12          we can demonstrate where the acceleration of 

13          projects, because of design-build, has been 

14          more effective.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's great.  And, 

16          you know, we want those projects -- as 

17          Senator Robach said, we want them out the 

18          door, we want them done, we want them built, 

19          we want people put to work, we want a better 

20          transportation system.  So that's great if 

21          you have that data, and we would look forward 

22          to getting that.  So thank you, Commissioner.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  


                                                                  69

 1          Assemblyman -- Chairman -- Dinowitz.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Thank you.  

 3                 Good morning.  I appreciate your 

 4          advocacy, your support for design-build.  

 5          It's my understanding that New York City is 

 6          not included in design-build.  And I believe 

 7          that the de Blasio administration very much 

 8          wants to be, but they're not and there's no 

 9          immediate plans for that to happen.  Do you 

10          have any idea why that's the case?

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  What I know is 

12          the Executive is supportive of design-build 

13          for New York City.  I've heard that there's 

14          been legislative concerns.  That's the extent 

15          of what I know.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  So is the 

17          Governor in the budget doing anything that 

18          would make it so that New York would be 

19          covered with design-build?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I think that's 

21          a function of the negotiation between the 

22          Executive and the Legislature.  My 

23          understanding is he is supportive of it. 

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay, so we can 


                                                                  70

 1          take that to the bank, then.

 2                 On a different area, the last budget 

 3          included $5 million to study the feasibility 

 4          of a tunnel connecting Long Island with 

 5          either the Bronx, Westchester, or maybe even 

 6          Connecticut.  Did they start the study?  Was 

 7          the study completed?  What was the result of 

 8          the study?

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  It's been 

10          awarded.  It's been awarded, and that's 

11          starting soon, correct?  It's underway.  It's 

12          underway.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  So they 

14          actually have started the study?  

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  They've 

16          started, yes.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  On another 

18          issue, the budget proposal includes 

19          $200 million to build an interconnected 

20          multi-use trail, the Empire State Trail.  Is 

21          that done through DOT?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Some elements 

23          of that are done through DOT.  There's other 

24          agencies involved, like Parks, of course.  


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 1          Canal Corporation.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  So do you know 

 3          how much of that trail -- how much of the 

 4          funding would be going to upstate, the Albany 

 5          area, downstate, the City?  Is there any kind 

 6          of breakdown?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I'd say 

 8          the majority of it is upstate, north of the 

 9          Tappan Zee, if that's our marker.  The budget 

10          proposal is for $53 million to begin that 

11          work this year.  We are already actively 

12          engaged in working with Parks on that.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  Because 

14          some of us in the city, particularly in the 

15          Bronx, have been working for a number of 

16          years to try to gain river access along the 

17          Hudson River, which I have the entire Hudson 

18          River waterfront in the Bronx, such as it is.

19                 And presumably that could be used to 

20          help make that a reality.  Do you know if 

21          there's any discussion of that happening?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't know 

23          if there's been any discussion of that.  I 

24          think it's connecting to that, though, so 


                                                                  72

 1          that you could go from the Bronx to Canada, 

 2          you could go from New York City to Buffalo 

 3          when the project is complete.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Right.  But you 

 5          don't know if there's anything specific to 

 6          help make that a reality along the Bronx 

 7          portion of the Hudson River waterfront?

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I can't tell 

 9          you with specificity today, but I can get you 

10          that answer.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  I would 

12          appreciate it.

13                 Also the budget proposes $5.5 billion 

14          in the coming year for the DOT capital plan, 

15          but of that only about 3 percent, or 

16          $173 million, is allocated for alternative 

17          modes of transportation outside of the city, 

18          such as aviation, rail, non-MTA mass transit.  

19                 Considering that the Governor has set 

20          as a goal a 40 percent reduction of 

21          greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 levels 

22          by the year 2030, do you think that we're 

23          really doing enough in that respect 

24          considering the very tiny portion that's 


                                                                  73

 1          going in that direction?

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I think 

 3          when we work on DOT projects, we take all of 

 4          that into consideration, including air 

 5          quality emissions, impact on neighborhoods, 

 6          and the like.  And I think I can say to you 

 7          that I believe we are making good progress in 

 8          that area.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  In 

10          another area -- and we're going to discuss 

11          this with the MTA later -- but the budget 

12          cuts $65 million from the General Fund, money 

13          that would otherwise go to the MTA to replace 

14          money lost because of exclusions that were 

15          imposed with respect to the mobility tax.  So 

16          those funds, I guess they're kind of DOT 

17          funds.  Do you have an opinion about that?  

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, we're a 

19          pass-through.  And it's related to payroll 

20          taxes.  I don't want to speak for the MTA, 

21          you'll speak to them later.  But it's a cap 

22          that was placed because of the payroll taxes 

23          and the elimination of those downstate.  

24                 Actually, the MTA is receiving about 


                                                                  74

 1          $29 million more in cash in this budget.  

 2                 But again, I think those questions are 

 3          better suited for the MTA later today.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Yeah, we'll 

 5          discuss that later.  They're really not 

 6          getting more cash, but ...

 7                 Now, you had mentioned earlier the 

 8          Kew Gardens Interchange.  So that's the 

 9          Van Wyck Expressway project; correct?  

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  As part of that 

12          project, is there mass transit access to JFK 

13          as part of the revitalization of that area?  

14          Is part of it for mass transit?  

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right, so 

16          we'll add a fourth lane.  There will be no 

17          right-of-way impacts on private property.  

18          And there will be a managed lane as well.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay, thank you 

20          very much.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

23                 Senator?

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  


                                                                  75

 1                 Senator Martin Dilan, Transportation 

 2          ranker.

 3                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.  

 4                 Good morning, Commissioner.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

 6                 SENATOR DILAN:  I want to follow-up on 

 7          design-build.  I know it's been talked about, 

 8          but I just want to be clear as to why 

 9          New York City was excluded from the 

10          design-build proposal.  For example, in 

11          New York City, Brooklyn, we have the 

12          Kosciuszko Bridge, which is a design-build 

13          project.  However, you go down to the BQE, 

14          down the road a bit.  But you can't use 

15          design-build.  And you mentioned that the 

16          Governor is supportive, you're supportive.  

17          So why was it excluded?  And you mentioned 

18          that it's up to negotiations.  So that means 

19          that if we request it, it will happen?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, what I 

21          said was my understanding is the Executive is 

22          supportive of it, and that my understanding 

23          is that there were some legislative concerns.  

24          I know not what those are.  But again, this 


                                                                  76

 1          is the time where the legislative and the 

 2          Executive have these discussions in a 

 3          negotiation.  And this would be one of those 

 4          negotiations that you would take.

 5                 SENATOR DILAN:  But if it's good for 

 6          Kosciuszko Bridge, why isn't it good for BQE?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Why is the K 

 8          Bridge good for DOT with a design-build?

 9                 SENATOR DILAN:  Yeah.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Because we're 

11          delivering it faster.  And it's improving 

12          access, particularly for freight.

13                 SENATOR DILAN:  So basically what 

14          you're saying is that you would support it, 

15          design-build for New York City?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I think 

17          design-build is a good tool.  I don't think 

18          it should replace design-bid-build.  But I 

19          think it's a very good tool to have in your 

20          toolbox, and it's proven for the Department 

21          of Transportation to deliver larger projects 

22          more efficiently.  

23                 SENATOR DILAN:  So it's open to 

24          negotiation during this process, then.


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's 

 2          correct.

 3                 SENATOR DILAN:  All right, thank you.  

 4                 With respect to the Federal Highway 

 5          funds and the distribution of that money, 

 6          it's my understanding that New York City is 

 7          only getting 18 percent apportioned to it of 

 8          the entire federal allotment.  Can you 

 9          explain the disparity and the decrease in 

10          funding?  It's my understanding that it's a 

11          decrease of about 35 percent.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'd have to 

13          say, Senator, I'm not -- I don't -- I'm 

14          confused, because that's not the case.

15                 SENATOR DILAN:  Can you explain, then, 

16          the apportionment?  How much is New York City 

17          getting out of the entire allocation of 

18          federal money?  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Forty-seven 

20          percent.

21                 SENATOR DILAN:  Forty-seven percent is 

22          the correct number?  

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah.  That's 

24          not been decreased.


                                                                  78

 1                 SENATOR DILAN:  It has not been 

 2          decreased.

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.

 4                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay, my understanding 

 5          is different.  So if that number is correct 

 6          or incorrect, I guess we can follow up later.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

 8                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay, thank you.

 9                 Just one more question with respect to 

10          the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.  It's my 

11          understanding that the city is proposing some 

12          reconstruction, and they're proposing about 

13          the -- the cost will be about $1.7 billion 

14          over five years.  Is there any money being 

15          allocated to that project by the state with 

16          respect to the federal funding?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.  That is 

18          an unbuilt section of that highway, and it is 

19          maintained by the City of New York.

20                 SENATOR DILAN:  And there would be no 

21          contribution from the state?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.

23                 SENATOR DILAN:  At all?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.


                                                                  79

 1                 SENATOR DILAN:  And why not?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Because we 

 3          have equally large projects to do on state 

 4          systems across New York State.  And in the 

 5          City.

 6                 SENATOR DILAN:  I believe that that 

 7          portion of the expressway is a very important 

 8          road and the various bridges there are a big 

 9          asset for the State of New York.  So I think 

10          we really need to look into that.

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.

12                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

15                 We've been joined by Assemblywomen 

16          Tremaine Wright and Yuh-Line Niou.

17                 Mr. Oaks?

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, we've also 

19          been joined by Assemblyman Murray.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Next to question, 

21          Assemblyman Ra.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chairman.  

23                 Commissioner, I just wanted to get 

24          into -- Assemblyman McDonough had mentioned 


                                                                  80

 1          some of the highways, parkways on 

 2          Long Island.  But in recent years, going 

 3          through the district I represent, you know, I 

 4          have Jericho Turnpike, which a lot of work 

 5          has been done on, and then there's Hempstead 

 6          Turnpike, where there were -- there was a 

 7          major safety initiative a few years back, so 

 8          we now have some medians along different 

 9          strips, a few new traffic lights, a lot of 

10          new "No Turn on Red" signs, which has stopped 

11          traffic from moving too quickly -- which, 

12          depending on who you ask, is a good thing or 

13          a bad thing at times.  

14                 But now a lot of the focus has shifted 

15          on the actual condition of the roadway 

16          itself, and there are stretches of that that 

17          I hear about in my office on a regular basis.

18                 Any particular plans to do something 

19          more comprehensive along that stretch in 

20          terms of the condition of the roadway, like 

21          was done on Jericho Turnpike?  

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, and as 

23          you point out, we have done a lot of work in 

24          that particular area.  And again, we continue 


                                                                  81

 1          to assess conditions going forward.  We want 

 2          to build those into our capital plan.  We're 

 3          starting to develop the next capital plan, 

 4          although we're only in Year 2 here.  So 

 5          systems such as that are all looked at and 

 6          are measured to be included into the next 

 7          five-year capital plan.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay.  Because as you 

 9          may be familiar, you know, that's one of the 

10          main roads as you're coming in from the 

11          Queens-Nassau border in Elmont, coming into 

12          my hometown in Franklin Square and through 

13          West Hempstead.  And, you know, there's I 

14          think been a big push along that stretch to 

15          revitalize the business community, fill some 

16          of the empty storefronts.  And I think having 

17          a roadway that is in good condition is 

18          definitely an important part of that when 

19          people are looking for a location to come and 

20          open a business.

21                 So I appreciate a continuing dialogue 

22          on that topic, and it being, you know, 

23          hopefully a priority going forward.  

24                 Thank you.


                                                                  82

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you. 

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 3                 Senator?  

 4                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 5                 The next to testify is Senator Croci.

 6                 SENATOR CROCI:  Thank you very much, 

 7          Madam Ranking Member.  

 8                 Commissioner, thank you very much for 

 9          your testimony here today.  Also thank you 

10          for your service to the state, not only as 

11          commissioner but your willingness, after 

12          being the mayor of such a large city, to 

13          continue to serve.

14                 I had a question regarding some of 

15          your testimony.  The rest area/welcome center 

16          on the Long Island Expressway between Exit 51 

17          and 52, what was the total cost of that 

18          project?  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So DOT 

20          constructed the building, and it was 

21          $20.2 million.

22                 SENATOR CROCI:  Does that include all 

23          of the change orders?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't know.  


                                                                  83

 1          There was other funders, other agencies, ESD 

 2          and such.  The construction cost for the 

 3          building that we built was $20.2 million.

 4                 SENATOR CROCI:  That came from DOT?  

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah.

 6                 SENATOR CROCI:  Very good.  Has the 

 7          Comptroller audited that project, by any 

 8          chance?  Is there any information --  

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't know.

10                 SENATOR CROCI:  So it's my 

11          understanding that there was equipment that 

12          showed up to the site for the construction of 

13          that facility before the notice to proceed 

14          has been received or a contract signed, is 

15          that correct?  

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's true.

17                 SENATOR CROCI:  And why was that, sir?  

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I ordered it.

19                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That was the 

21          shrub clearing that took place.  And I take 

22          responsibility for that.  State-owned 

23          property, I went in, I cleared -- began to 

24          clear the property.  And I did that without 


                                                                  84

 1          really communicating fully to the local 

 2          community.

 3                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  How many 

 4          conversations did you have directly with 

 5          Governor Cuomo about this specific project?  

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Not that many.  

 7          I couldn't give you a number.

 8                 SENATOR CROCI:  But you did 

 9          communicate directly with him on the project?  

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

11                 SENATOR CROCI:  Was this a 

12          design-build, in your opinion?  Is this a 

13          design-build project?  

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  This wasn't a 

15          design-build, no.

16                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  Can you explain 

17          to me how it was done so quickly, the bidding 

18          process, the procurement process, then?  

19          Because this happened very rapidly.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, we also 

21          contracted to have them working double 

22          shifts.  So that's a distinction there.  

23                 But we worked with approvals through 

24          the Comptroller's office.  We worked with the 


                                                                  85

 1          contractor and the subs to escalate the work.

 2                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  And were all 

 3          the proper permits in place for all of the 

 4          work?  

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.  Yes, 

 6          absolutely.

 7                 SENATOR CROCI:  Where does the septic 

 8          go from the welcome center?  

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I think it 

10          goes to -- well, it goes to the county 

11          facility.

12                 SENATOR CROCI:  The county facility?  

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, did 

14          you say septic?

15                 SENATOR CROCI:  The septic.  The 

16          sewage.

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  There is not a 

18          septic system.  There is a main-line sewer 

19          system.

20                 SENATOR CROCI:  A forced main?

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Forced main.  

22          It's not a septic system.

23                 SENATOR CROCI:  And where does that 

24          go, sir?  


                                                                  86

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  It goes to the 

 2          plant.  I can't give you the specific plant 

 3          in Suffolk County.  They approved it.

 4                 SENATOR CROCI:  A county facility?  So 

 5          there was a --

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  They approved 

 7          it.

 8                 SENATOR CROCI:  -- there was an 

 9          authorized permit from the Department of 

10          Health in Suffolk County?  

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, sir.

12                 SENATOR CROCI:  And how much did the 

13          septic -- or the sewer line, the forced main, 

14          as you've said, how much did that cost?  

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'd have to 

16          double-check.  I don't know off the top of my 

17          head.  A couple million dollars.

18                 SENATOR CROCI:  But that's outside of 

19          the 20 you said, or 20-plus?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Correct.

21                 SENATOR CROCI:  So the cost of the 

22          project was actually much higher?  

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The cost of 

24          the building, to erect the building, was 


                                                                  87

 1          $20.2 million.

 2                 SENATOR CROCI:  Was this a change 

 3          order?

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.  We were 

 5          prepared, if we did not get the requisite 

 6          approvals from the Suffolk County Water 

 7          Authority, to do a different system.  But in 

 8          fact they did approve the project.

 9                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  Was there any 

10          digging done in the Towns of Huntington or 

11          Islip, streets dug up or -- was any of that 

12          work done in accordance with this forced 

13          main?

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I can't tell 

15          you specifically the very direction of which 

16          that pipe ran, so I don't know the answer to 

17          that.  But clearly we had to put a pipe in 

18          the ground, so there was digging somewhere.

19                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  And all the 

20          permits were obtained from the two townships?  

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

22                 SENATOR CROCI:  Yes.  Did a different 

23          contractor perform the sewer work than did 

24          the original construction work?


                                                                  88

 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I believe so.  

 2          I don't know specifically who.

 3                 SENATOR CROCI:  And how were they 

 4          selected so quickly?

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I wouldn't say 

 6          it was very quickly.  That's a -- the process 

 7          by which that installation occurred was not 

 8          out of the ordinary.

 9                 SENATOR CROCI:  Was it RFP'd or bid?  

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Bid.

11                 SENATOR CROCI:  It was bid.  And there 

12          was a sealed bid and it was opened --

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We're happy to 

14          get you all that information.

15                 SENATOR CROCI:  That would be very 

16          helpful.  Thank you.

17                 Can you explain why there was such a 

18          rush to complete this welcome center?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I -- how 

20          do you define rush?  I mean, you know, our 

21          goal was to get a welcome center up certainly 

22          during the summer months.  And as it turned 

23          out, it happened to be late fall.  That 

24          welcome center has been a huge success, even 


                                                                  89

 1          with some particular community members who 

 2          were opposed to it.

 3                 So all in all, we think it's been a 

 4          tremendous asset to that particular region.

 5                 SENATOR CROCI:  And you're saying that 

 6          the RFP, the procurement process, the bidding 

 7          process was done in accordance with normal 

 8          state processes?  It was not a design-build?

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We followed 

10          all procurement guidelines.

11                 SENATOR CROCI:  Procurement guidelines 

12          for normal state bidding processes?

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Procurement 

14          guidelines impact everything that we do or 

15          any other agency does when you go to let a 

16          bid.

17                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  Was a state of 

18          emergency ever implemented in this process?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  For what 

20          reason?

21                 SENATOR CROCI:  That's what I'm 

22          asking.  Was that used at any point?  

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.  There was 

24          no state of emergency.


                                                                  90

 1                 SENATOR CROCI:  All right.  So can I 

 2          ask you, was the article 3B, which you've 

 3          signed, I'm sure, as a mayor and I as a 

 4          supervisor signed, was that ever implemented 

 5          in the procurement or bidding process in this 

 6          specific project?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  If it was 

 8          required to be omitted -- or if it was 

 9          required to be submitted, it was.

10                 SENATOR CROCI:  So this was done 

11          pursuant to a disaster declaration?  

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  This was not 

13          done pursuant to a disaster declaration.  We 

14          did not follow the federal process.  We did 

15          not need to, since there was no federal 

16          funding involved.

17                 SENATOR CROCI:  But there was an 

18          emergency declaration used?  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Not that I'm 

20          aware of.

21                 SENATOR CROCI:  So you said there was 

22          some sort of a state of emergency or 

23          emergency --

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, no, no.  


                                                                  91

 1          You said that.  You asked me if there was a 

 2          state of emergency, and I replied "For what?"

 3                 SENATOR CROCI:  Was an emergency of 

 4          any kind used by an Executive agency in this 

 5          case to speed up the implementation of the 

 6          bidding or RFP process for this welcome 

 7          center?

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Not to my 

 9          knowledge.

10                 SENATOR CROCI:  Not to your knowledge.  

11          Okay, thank you.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

14                 Assemblywoman Hunter.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  Thank you, 

16          Mr. Chairman.  

17                 And thank you, Commissioner Driscoll.  

18          Always good to see you away from Syracuse.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Nice to see 

20          you as well.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  First, I must 

22          say -- I have to thank you for my travel here 

23          when I came Monday morning.  There was a huge 

24          snowstorm in Syracuse -- I don't know when 


                                                                  92

 1          was the last time you were back -- and the 

 2          Thruway was exceptional.  So giving you 

 3          credit where credit is due, it was awesome.  

 4          And --

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I'd like 

 6          to take that credit, but that's actually 

 7          Bill Finch.  But I will pass that along.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  Okay.  Well, 

 9          I'm hoping it's going to be just as awesome 

10          on the way home when I leave here this 

11          afternoon.

12                 Just a few questions for you.  As you 

13          know, there's this wonderful bridge gutting 

14          the City of Syracuse, and we are in the 

15          process now of trying to figure out what we 

16          want to do with this bridge.  And included in 

17          the Executive's Budget is money -- I think 

18          it's $2 million -- for a survey or a plan.  

19          And I wanted to know, how long is this plan 

20          going to take, knowing that we have been 

21          working on, you have been working on, many 

22          people have been working on plans and studies 

23          for several years?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.


                                                                  93

 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  So where are 

 2          we?

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Where are we.  

 4          So as you accurately point out, we have 

 5          retained an independent consultant, who is 

 6          doing an evaluation based on project criteria 

 7          that all other related projects to the I-81 

 8          corridor have gone through.  And they will do 

 9          the same with what was a request from some 

10          members of the state delegation to look at a 

11          tunnel option, a tunnel option with a 

12          community grid, a depressed highway, and a 

13          depressed highway with a community grid as 

14          well.

15                 That's really just started.  We 

16          anticipate it's going to take at least a 

17          minimum of six months.  But, you know, we'll 

18          hear more from the consultant as they move 

19          along.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  So wasn't some 

21          of that information already completed prior 

22          to another consultant?  It seems -- I know 

23          it's a new entity and they, you know, want to 

24          gather and compile their own.  But this -- 


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 1          not a combo option, but the tunnel option or 

 2          depressed highway option, was obviously 

 3          already considered and rejected previously, 

 4          from conversations obviously with my 

 5          colleagues relative to cost, wanting to get 

 6          actually what is the cost, and having heard 

 7          from many people around the surrounding towns 

 8          and villages relative to this.  

 9                 But I'm just trying to get a sense 

10          for -- and I know you and I had this 

11          conversation, it seems like forever ago, that 

12          we're still having more conversations about 

13          this.  So if we're talking about maybe six 

14          months for this plan to come from the 

15          consultant -- and then what's the next 

16          process after that?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, it's an 

18          analysis.  And they have received all of the 

19          documentation that DOT has and had received 

20          relative to the tunnel option.  They are 

21          doing that independently of the Department of 

22          Transportation engineers.  

23                 As I said, you know, we're hoping, of 

24          course, that that could be completed within 


                                                                  95

 1          six months, but we have not had any more 

 2          communication with them to date.  But we 

 3          certainly hope it will be six months.  

 4                 At that point a conversation will 

 5          ensue.  We'll see what the result is from 

 6          that analysis of the tunnel option.  And I'd 

 7          like to expand a little bit and clarify, 

 8          after the multiple revisions that we had gone 

 9          through on the numerous projects that DOT 

10          staff had evaluated, as you may know, we came 

11          down to two remaining projects, a viaduct 

12          replacement, simply building, rebuilding the 

13          viaduct in place -- although certainly wider, 

14          straighter -- and then a community grid 

15          option.  

16                 Those are in a current DEIS.  Those 

17          are currently with Federal Highway.  They are 

18          going through a review and will be providing 

19          those comments back to DOT, that's part of 

20          the normal process.  DOT will need to answer 

21          the questions and respond to the comments.  

22          They would go back to Federal Highway.  

23                 We would not move for a final record 

24          of decision on those two, because certainly 


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 1          we want to understand what the result is.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  So we're going 

 3          to get them all together, and not the two 

 4          DEIS studies we've been waiting for coming 

 5          forward until the consultant's plan is done, 

 6          and we'll receive it all together?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Right.  

 8          We wouldn't release those until we have the 

 9          completed work by the independent engineering 

10          firm.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  And obviously 

12          this was included in the Governor's State of 

13          the State, so is it indicative upon the 

14          Legislature passing the budget for the 

15          $2 million for the consultant to start 

16          working?  Or has he already started, or she? 

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.  Because 

18          we had $15 million in the budget last year 

19          for this work.  So it's coming out of DOT for 

20          that work, the $2 million.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  Okay.  So it's 

22          already been contracted and they're already 

23          working.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  They're 


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 1          already underway.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  Okay.  Relative 

 3          to URI monies, as you know, we were the 

 4          recipients in 2015 of the half a billion 

 5          dollars, and there were a couple of projects 

 6          included.  To date, I don't think any of that 

 7          money has been disbursed for any of those big 

 8          projects that were included in the URI.  

 9                 But there were a couple of projects in 

10          there -- agribusiness was one of them, and an 

11          inland port was another one -- which would 

12          enhance economic development, obviously, in 

13          the Central New York area.  But both of those 

14          projects would have huge impacts on highway 

15          travel.  

16                 And I wanted to know, are we including 

17          in URI monies or in your capital plan, when 

18          these awards are given, there's going to be 

19          included increased truck traffic?  So wanting 

20          to know who's going to pay for the corrosion, 

21          erosion, the roads and bridges, the new 

22          things that need to happen.  Is that part of 

23          the URI money, or is that supposed to be a 

24          separate pot with you relative to making 


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 1          enhancements for new truck traffic?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, we have 

 3          a maintenance budget in place now.  We've 

 4          always had one.  That will continue going 

 5          forward.  If -- you know, depending on site 

 6          location, if there's enhancements to a 

 7          particular section of highway that would need 

 8          to be done, DOT would be responsible for 

 9          that, in part and parcel with the URI funding 

10          of the inland port as an example.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  So it is 

12          separate, it's not going to be from URI 

13          money, it would be part of -- 

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Correct.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  And potentially 

16          you'd make amendments, I guess, to your 

17          capital plan -- if, say, we were on board 

18          with our inland port in saying, okay, now we 

19          need to create or renovate something, your 

20          plan would be amended based on all of these 

21          new activities?  And not just in any area, 

22          obviously, others would have the same --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, actually 

24          what my plan would be would be to work with 


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 1          the local Regional Council to see if I 

 2          couldn't get them to pay for those costs 

 3          first.  So that's what -- that would be my 

 4          approach, to work with the local folks, who 

 5          you know, to understand what the cost 

 6          implications may be relative to system 

 7          impacts that would coincide with the 

 8          development of, as you mentioned, an inland 

 9          port.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  Right.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HUNTER:  Thank you, 

13          Chairman.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  Oh, 

15          before that, we've been joined by Assemblyman 

16          Phil Steck.  

17                 Senator?  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

19          Mr. Chairman.  

20                 Our next speaker is Senator Todd 

21          Kaminsky.

22                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Thank you, 

23          Chairwoman.  

24                 Good morning, Commissioner.  How are 


                                                                  100

 1          you?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.  

 3          Great.

 4                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  You and I have 

 5          spoken both publicly and privately about 

 6          Nassau Expressway, New York Route 878 in my 

 7          district, as a perennially flooded and 

 8          congested roadway, the source of a tremendous 

 9          amount of complaints for decades, frankly.  

10          And I just want to follow up and see if you 

11          have a plan to tackle that.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, we do.  

13          And I'll say that your advocacy led to that 

14          being included in the five-year capital plan.  

15          And it is currently slated for 1920 {sic}.  

16          So it's in the plan.  

17                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Okay, that's great.  

18          Okay.  And are you able to say whether 

19          there's a multi-million-dollar commitment to 

20          serious overhaul of that roadway?  

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm here to 

22          say that we're committed to the extreme 

23          weather hardening program for that stretch of 

24          highway that you've advocated for, yes. 


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 1                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Do you know at what 

 2          point you will be in a position to announce 

 3          some of the specifics, whether it's raising 

 4          the road or sinking the lights, or whatever 

 5          it may be, along with the timeline involved 

 6          with that project?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, I 

 8          don't know now and I don't want to speculate.  

 9          I know that, you know, we have engineering 

10          staff, DOT staff, going through evaluations 

11          on that.

12                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Okay.  I would love 

13          to continue working with you on this and 

14          invite you down to the district, certainly 

15          whether it's the potholes now or the flooding 

16          in the spring, or the flooding that actually 

17          happens all the time.  I would love to 

18          continue talking with you about this.

19                 But this is really great news.  We've 

20          been waiting for, you know, a commitment in 

21          the capital plan for a long time.  And I 

22          think my constituents can be very happy.  

23          Obviously waiting to hear the details, but I 

24          am very much looking forward to the future 


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 1          progress on this.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Absolutely.

 3                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  While I have you 

 4          here, I just want to ask you about the Diesel 

 5          Emissions Reduction Act, and if you could 

 6          tell us where we are with respect to its 

 7          implementation.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, I 

 9          couldn't hear that. 

10                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  DERA, Diesel 

11          Emissions Reduction Act.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Diesel 

13          emissions, right.  Most of our fleet has been 

14          turned over to accomplish that goal.  So we 

15          have -- you know, we've really moved along 

16          reducing diesel emissions on DOT fleet.

17                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Okay.  And are 

18          we -- are we -- are you able to say what 

19          percentage of state vehicles are now in 

20          compliance with it?  

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm not, but I 

22          can get that for you.

23                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Or is it fair to 

24          say there's a dedicated effort toward getting 


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 1          that done?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I can tell you 

 3          that there is a dedicated effort on those 

 4          conversions, absolutely.

 5                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Okay.  Well, thanks 

 6          for your time today.  And just generally, in 

 7          Long Island we have a ton of road issues.  

 8          Your staff has, you know, been very 

 9          responsive, and I really appreciate that as 

10          we continue to move Long Island forward.  So 

11          thanks for your time today.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

14                 Assemblyman Skoufis.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Thank you, 

16          Chairman.  

17                 Good morning, Commissioner.

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Good to see you.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good to see 

21          you again.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  I say this every 

23          year, but it's worth repeating --

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Microphone.


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 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  It should be on.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  That's the one that 

 3          doesn't work.  Take one of the others.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Okay, we're on.  

 5                 Your Region 8 staff is exemplary.  

 6          It's always a pleasure working with them, and 

 7          so I thank you.

 8                 I also want to thank you personally 

 9          for your efforts in advancing the Exit 131 

10          project.  I've brought that up as well every 

11          year at these hearings.  We've personally 

12          spoken about that, and I know that's been a 

13          local very high priority for really almost 

14          20 years.  I come from the Woodbury Town 

15          Board, and that's been a priority there, and 

16          it's great to see that accelerated this year 

17          to November.

18                 I have a few questions.  Route 17, 

19          going through Orange County specifically, 

20          there's a significant amount of development 

21          that's slated for the coming years.  

22          Certainly we have the casino further up into 

23          Sullivan County.  We have possibly Legoland 

24          coming to Goshen in the district I represent.  


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 1          And already, any summer Friday or Sunday, 

 2          it's a parking lot on Route 17.  

 3                 There have been some discussions and I 

 4          believe a study funded with federal dollars 

 5          to explore how to increase capacity on 

 6          Route 17.  I believe the study called for a 

 7          widening to three lanes in each direction.  I 

 8          wanted to see if there's been any further 

 9          conversation on your end to that end, 

10          especially in light of the planned 

11          development.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  So we 

13          continue to evaluate that particular corridor 

14          because, as you point out, you've got the 

15          casino and then potentially Legoland.

16                 And you should know, and others should 

17          know, that we are working with the developer 

18          and the town on the potential of Legoland and 

19          looking at improvements that can be made to 

20          our system that will create a better flow of 

21          traffic should Legoland potentially arrive.  

22          Which, candidly, that's a nice problem to 

23          have, right?  

24                 So we're hopeful that that does 


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 1          happen.  We are a partner in those 

 2          discussions.  And the region is actively 

 3          engaged.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Thank you.  So 

 5          that happens to lead to my next question.  I 

 6          know that as part of these Legoland 

 7          conversations, they're developing an 

 8          environmental impact statement and a concept 

 9          that I've supported that most people seem to 

10          believe locally will help improve the traffic 

11          flow on local roads, is shifting Exit 125 and 

12          creating a flyover to the opposite side of 

13          Route 17 where Legoland is slated to be.  

14                 My understanding -- and I know there 

15          was a press release that went out from Merlin 

16          Entertainment last week.  My understanding is 

17          that those conversations are moving in a 

18          positive direction, I think it's fair to say.  

19          Can you shed any light on where exactly we 

20          are with a flyover, and how it impacts the 

21          conversion of 17 to an interstate, which has 

22          been long planned?  And importantly, who is 

23          paying for this flyover?  Legoland, Merlin 

24          Entertainment, has already been given 


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 1          $7.1 million in state taxpayer dollars 

 2          primarily from the REDC awards.  They are 

 3          probably going to get a very significant 

 4          PILOT, which I have deep concerns with and 

 5          have come out and publicly opposed.  I 

 6          hesitate to give any more public money to a 

 7          multi-multi-billion-dollar corporation to get 

 8          this park up and running.  

 9                 So if you can answer that question 

10          specifically and also touch on where exactly 

11          we are with the flyover.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I can 

13          tell you that most developers want somebody 

14          else to pay for things.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Sure.

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And that's the 

17          way it works.  

18                 We're in discussions with them.  They 

19          still need to provide us analysis with 

20          respect to the property, how they would build 

21          it out, the exits -- all of the components 

22          that would impact the mobility of the traffic 

23          flow going in and out.  

24                 A flyover has been discussed.  We're 


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 1          not there.  The town's not there.  So there's 

 2          still a lot of discussion that has to go 

 3          forward.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Okay.  What 

 5          other alternatives would there be to a 

 6          flyover in terms of improving flow there?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's going 

 8          to depend on the traffic analysis that they 

 9          provide, the continuum of information that we 

10          request from them relative to the traffic 

11          anticipation that they have, and as we factor 

12          in existing traffic flows.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Sure.  Have you 

14          had any conversations about who's paying for 

15          this?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  You have not, 

18          okay.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.  I have 

20          not been at that table yet.  I'm having -- 

21          the region is working with the town and the 

22          engineers on some of these evaluations.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  And lastly, 

24          changing gears, late last year the -- or the 


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 1          middle of last year, the Federal Highway 

 2          Administration came out and directed states, 

 3          or at least New York, to repurpose these old 

 4          congressional earmarks from 10-plus years ago 

 5          and actually use them or lose them.  Can you 

 6          explain to me how that process worked 

 7          vis-a-vis the municipalities and working with 

 8          them?  You know, I've got some concerns about 

 9          how this played out.  

10                 You know, one example, the Town of 

11          Blooming Grove had a $900,000 earmark from 

12          former Congresswoman Sue Kelly to make some 

13          significant improvements to a dangerous 

14          intersection.  The DOT -- and my 

15          understanding is this was coordinated through 

16          Albany, not through the regional offices -- 

17          the DOT came back and basically said, you 

18          know, this costs a lot more than $900,000, 

19          we're going to move this.  

20                 And it got moved not even just to 

21          somewhere else in the town or somewhere else 

22          in the county, it got moved to Rockland 

23          County -- which I also represent -- but to a 

24          totally different county.  And my 


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 1          understanding is that there wasn't any 

 2          accommodation or offer to use the award for 

 3          another project in that municipality, it was 

 4          sort of just totally shifted away once it was 

 5          determined that that project couldn't be met.  

 6                 So could you explain how that works 

 7          and what can be done in situations like that?  

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I can 

 9          explain it, but not in the time allotment 

10          that you have.  

11                 (Laughter.)

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  It's a very 

13          complicated process.  It's federally driven.  

14          So when you cite that the project was moved 

15          to Rockland, because the federal government 

16          said that the project would need to be 

17          shifted only within a 50-mile radius of the 

18          original project.

19                 Many of the projects across the board 

20          hadn't gotten local support or funding.  And 

21          so the federal requirements of the orphan 

22          earmarks were such that they could move to an 

23          adjacent congressional district, if that was 

24          a project that fit the criteria under their 


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 1          guidelines.

 2                 So there's been a lot of discussion 

 3          and, candidly, a lot of confusion.  I think 

 4          maybe people felt, and maybe rightfully so, 

 5          that DOT kind of drew up those rules, but in 

 6          fact we followed the federal process that's a 

 7          requirement.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Thank you.

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay?

10                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

11                 Senator?  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

13                 Our next speaker is Senator Kennedy.

14                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you, 

15          Commissioner.  Thank you for your service.  

16          Thank you for your testimony today.

17                 The second round of the Buffalo 

18          Billion set aside $5 million for the light 

19          rail expansion to Amherst, $20 million for 

20          the DL&W terminal redevelopment, both 

21          projects long overdue.  Very appreciative of 

22          that inclusion in this year's budget.  

23                 What's the time frame for the 

24          redevelopment of the DL&W project?


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, I 

 2          don't know it off the top of my head, to be 

 3          honest with you, Senator.  But I think we're 

 4          probably looking to do that in the next year 

 5          to two.  Lot of rail activity potentially in 

 6          the Buffalo/Western New York region.

 7                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And then in regard 

 8          to DL&W, how does the state envision 

 9          financing the actual construction of the 

10          light rail extension?  

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, 

12          again, that's a federal -- it's an FTA 

13          program.  So we'll look to our federal 

14          partners, which is where we get the bulk of 

15          our funding, of course, for rail 

16          improvements.  And we'll work with the 

17          partners on that.

18                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Okay.  And the 

19          Buffalo Billion funds are administered by 

20          ESD, as you're well aware.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

22                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  How much of a role 

23          will the DOT play in the project development?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I mean 


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 1          certainly we're available to ESD so they have 

 2          an understanding, from our perspective -- you 

 3          know, for rail or any project that might be 

 4          transportation-related, we'll work with ESD 

 5          on that.

 6                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  I want to switch 

 7          from the rail to the air.  You and I have 

 8          spoken countless times about the Buffalo 

 9          Niagara International Airport.  It is in my 

10          district in its entirety.  As you're aware, 

11          the airport's undergoing much-needed 

12          redevelopment.  It serves roughly 5 million 

13          passengers, 40 percent of which are from 

14          Canada.  The estimated economic impact is 

15          about a billion dollars a year, supporting 

16          15,000 jobs.  So it's a major economic driver 

17          in our community.  

18                 Is there any funding in the budget 

19          proposal that would support this -- Buffalo 

20          Niagara International Airport's planned 

21          expansion and renovation?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, outside 

23          of the regional upstate airport dollars that 

24          are still available -- and there's some -- I 


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 1          can't think of any off the top of my head.  

 2                 As we did discuss, though, I would 

 3          encourage you to also work with the new award 

 4          through the URI to see if that's 

 5          another avenue.  So I would chase all of 

 6          those.

 7                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  So I encourage your 

 8          department to find funding for the airport.  

 9          I know we're investing heavily in upstate 

10          airport redevelopment.  It's a major piece of 

11          this budget proposal.  We have to make sure 

12          we're investing in the Buffalo Niagara 

13          International Airport because of its economic 

14          impact on our community.  

15                 I want to switch gears again back to 

16          the STOA funding.  Now, I've heard and you've 

17          heard today from all across the state STOA 

18          funding has been a problem for years.  It 

19          seems like year after year we keep coming 

20          back to the same problem.  It was refreshing 

21          for me to hear you say today that you 

22          recognize that the formula is problematic, 

23          for upstate especially and for Long Island.  

24                 But, you know, in my community, the 


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 1          community that I represent, the City of 

 2          Buffalo, the Town of Cheektowaga, the city of 

 3          Lackawanna, there are many, many folks that 

 4          are dependent upon a robust transportation 

 5          system, a regional public transit system, the 

 6          NFTA.  And, you know, the NFTA has been 

 7          hamstrung because of the lack of STOA funds, 

 8          based upon a formula that you admitted today 

 9          is problematic.  

10                 So, you know, I guess it has been year 

11          after year of us coming back -- I'd like to 

12          know what you and your department will do 

13          differently.  And will you commit today to 

14          working with us to rectify this formula so 

15          that next year we don't have to be back here?  

16                 First of all, I'd like to rectify the 

17          budget to bring it up to speed so that we can 

18          make the NFTA whole -- to which, quite 

19          frankly, they're underfunded compared to the 

20          rest of the state by millions of dollars.  

21          There are routes that have been cut.  There 

22          are people in my district, particularly in 

23          the First Ward of Lackawanna, that have to 

24          walk over a mile to find the nearest bus -- 


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 1          if there's a bus running that day at all.  

 2          There is a contract dispute that's upwards of 

 3          eight years.  So this lack of funding is 

 4          really bottoming out the ability for the NFTA 

 5          to function at a level that it needs.  

 6                 And so this has become a major 

 7          problem.  So can you just talk about your 

 8          commitment to rectifying this, both in this 

 9          budget and over the next year so we don't 

10          have to be back here next year talking about 

11          the same thing?  

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So -- and I 

13          appreciate those remarks.  I certainly am 

14          aware of those challenges you cite, having 

15          experienced them as well.  

16                 You know, the funding issue, as I 

17          described earlier, there's just a structural 

18          difference in the balancing of how funds are 

19          utilized.  Upstate does not have the built-in 

20          mechanism for the tax structure to support 

21          upstate transit.  

22                 I committed to this group last year, 

23          and I'll do so again this year, that if you 

24          want to hold meetings so we have time to plan 


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 1          and work together, I will be at the table to 

 2          do that with you.  I myself cannot solve that 

 3          challenge.  That is also a discussion that is 

 4          between the Executive and the legislative.  

 5                 But the Department of Transportation 

 6          will be at the table to explore all ideas and 

 7          options on how we can not only sustain but 

 8          enhance certainly operating funds in upstate 

 9          New York.

10                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  The Governor's 

11          proposed budget greatly expands the 

12          design-build.  We've talked about it numerous 

13          times; I won't belabor the point.  In the 

14          past, there has been -- and there's been a 

15          lot of attention brought to this, which is I 

16          think why we are hearing about it so much 

17          from my colleagues here today.  

18                 In the past, the design-build -- that 

19          is now proposed to expand -- has utilized 

20          project labor agreements.  Is that something 

21          that you would revisit?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Typically the 

23          practice has been that on design-build, yes, 

24          we utilize a PLA.


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 1                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  You do, okay.  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah.  We 

 3          have.  But we have to quantify that, and 

 4          that's an important distinction.  So we do 

 5          have, you know, a study done to evaluate 

 6          whether or not there are savings.

 7                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And finally, just 

 8          back to the CHIPS program funding, the 

 9          funding that's proposed at a flat level for 

10          CHIPS.  You know, as a former mayor in 

11          upstate, how important this is to our aging 

12          infrastructure.  So how can we address the 

13          road improvements across the state, and what 

14          can we do with the CHIPS formula to make sure 

15          that it's reflective of these needs in the 

16          aging infrastructure, especially in the 

17          cities that feel the brunt of these harsh 

18          winters off Lake Ontario, off Lake Erie, like 

19          Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Right.  

21          Well, look, again, I mean, that is a function 

22          of the negotiation between the Senate, the 

23          Assembly, and the Executive.  

24                 You know, I do want to go back to the 


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 1          PAVE-NY program.  While it doesn't fix 

 2          certainly everything, it does give local 

 3          communities additional funding, that they 

 4          determine where those funds go to address 

 5          their local road issues.  And it does follow 

 6          the CHIPS formula.  

 7                 But it is a larger conversation, and 

 8          it's one that's done certainly during the 

 9          negotiation.

10                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you.  

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Time.  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Oaks.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, Commissioner, 

14          hi.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Hi.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Senator Kennedy was 

17          just talking about transit dollars.  And I 

18          know you haven't been able to give us a lot 

19          of specifics on the ride-sharing proposal, 

20          but in there there is a surcharge that would 

21          go 5.5 percent.  And a portion of that, 

22          27-plus percent, would go to local transit 

23          authorities.  

24                 Do we have any sense on dollars that 


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 1          that might generate at this point?

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't.  I do 

 3          not.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And the only other 

 5          question was, do we know if those dollars -- 

 6          I know DOT is going to have a role in that.  

 7          Are they going to go straight to the transit, 

 8          you know, authority or you?  

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I think 

10          that's certainly -- that's part of the 

11          negotiation, I would imagine.  I don't know 

12          that answer either, how the structure would 

13          be built out.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  We'll hope that 

15          those -- that might be a way to provide some 

16          resources.

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Also you've had a 

19          number of questions on the signage.  Just a 

20          couple of things.  

21                 You mentioned the number of signs you 

22          put up.  Do we know the -- and I can't 

23          remember it, but you said it as part of your 

24          testimony.  Do we know the total cost of that 


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 1          as well?

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right, I do.  

 3          So we -- DOT installed 374 signs.  So the 

 4          materials, the signs, the materials 

 5          fabrication was $3.1 million.  The 

 6          installation was $2.3 million.  So a total of 

 7          $5.4 million.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And I was going to 

 9          Buffalo -- not to see Senator Kennedy -- but 

10          as I was traveling there the other day, I 

11          noticed that these signs -- some of those 

12          signs toward Buffalo -- I haven't seen it 

13          other places -- were bent.  Whether it was 

14          from, you know, heavy winds or whatever.  

15          Have there been -- those were on the Thruway, 

16          so it's their problem, I guess.  

17                 Have you seen problems with the 

18          materials that you had for those?  I just saw 

19          the posts, not the signs themselves, were 

20          bent.  And maybe Buffalo just has tougher 

21          winds than other places, I don't know.

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, I don't 

23          know.  I had heard, but I don't know the 

24          answer to that.  We've had no wind damage or 


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 1          damage to the signs that DOT has installed.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And then just 

 3          finally, the PAVE-NY program.  I know you've 

 4          talked about it and the formula of that 

 5          following CHIPS.  But it's not the exact 

 6          formula of CHIPS, I think.  And as we look at 

 7          that, I'm just saying -- you mentioned part 

 8          of the negotiations.  But I guess I would say 

 9          it follows it percentagewise, but it doesn't 

10          drive the total pot quite that way.  And so 

11          just if we might look at that to maybe more 

12          closely follow CHIPS.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We had looked 

14          at that in terms of the ratio on the formula.  

15          But we'll go back and take a look at that.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you very 

17          much.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

19                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

20          Hyndman.

21                 Senator?  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

23          Mr. Chairman.  And our next speaker is 

24          Senator Savino.


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 1                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

 2          Young.  

 3                 Good morning -- is it still morning?  

 4          Yes.  Good morning, Commissioner.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I just want to -- I 

 7          actually have one question, but I also just 

 8          want to reiterate some of the concerns that 

 9          some of my other colleagues have about 

10          design-build.  

11                 It just bears repeating that extending 

12          it to all the agencies and SUNY and CUNY 

13          permanently, I have some concerns about -- 

14          we've discussed this in the past, 

15          particularly because of the fact that there 

16          is no language that extends PLAs in these 

17          projects, there's no protection for public 

18          employees in the current Article VII 

19          language.  So that's an issue of great 

20          concern to myself and I know others.  

21                 And particularly in the past, 

22          design-build has always been subject to the 

23          purview of the Legislature.  So it's the 

24          extension of it permanently that I think kind 


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 1          of rankles some of us up here.  

 2                 But I do understand the value of 

 3          design-build, and I think we all do.  So I 

 4          think it just bears some more discussion 

 5          going forward.  

 6                 But I want to talk about something 

 7          that the Governor has in his budget that is 

 8          a -- it's a pilot about these work zone 

 9          safety cameras.  You may be aware that for 

10          the past several years the Senate has passed 

11          a bill that I carried, the Work Zone Safety 

12          Act, which would increase the penalties for 

13          and create the crimes of vehicular homicide, 

14          intentionally intruding into a work zone.  

15                 Several years ago, when the 

16          Legislature enacted increased penalties for 

17          intrusion into a work zone with increased 

18          fines, we hoped to see some changes in 

19          behavior on the roadways, and unfortunately 

20          that has not changed.  So we're trying to 

21          create an actual crime of intentional 

22          intrusion into the work zone.  The Senate has 

23          passed the bill several times; the Assembly 

24          has not quite gotten there yet.  


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 1                 But what I would hope is that if we go 

 2          forward with this pilot project, the data 

 3          that you capture, that you could share with 

 4          us, so we could convince people that what's 

 5          happening in our work zones is in fact 

 6          dangerous behavior by drivers who are not 

 7          affected at all by the increased penalties.  

 8          You know, we've not seen any change in their 

 9          behavior -- the intrusion into work zones, 

10          endangering workers every day, the number of 

11          incidents, the number of workers who are hit 

12          and killed.  Recently, on the Verrazano 

13          Bridge, we had two workers who were knocked 

14          off on the other side of the bridge.  Thank 

15          God, they survived.  

16                 But this is happening across many of 

17          these projects.  And as you know, with all of 

18          the work and infrastructure work that we're 

19          doing here in New York State, our workers are 

20          in tremendous risk every day.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  And I 

22          want to thank the legislature for your strong 

23          focus on this.  Certainly from the DOT's 

24          perspective, but for emergency personnel 


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 1          workers -- I'm sure Bill Finch will say the 

 2          same for the Thruways -- for everybody who's 

 3          working out there, it's important.  Because 

 4          people, let's face it, aren't paying 

 5          attention to, you know, driving through work 

 6          zones.  

 7                 Work zone safety is very important to 

 8          us.  We discussed this a little earlier.  

 9          Enforcement I believe is a big part of this.  

10          We need to have strong enforcement and hit 

11          people where it counts, in their wallet or 

12          their pocketbook, so that from an education 

13          perspective people are going to recognize 

14          they need to slow down when they go these 

15          work zone areas.  

16                 And so --and I'm actually -- Bill 

17          Finch and I have been talking a little bit 

18          about how we might able to enhance that from 

19          our ends as well, in addition to the good 

20          work that the Legislature has done and 

21          provided us.  

22                 The data will be used, I hope, in a 

23          more efficient way so that we're able to 

24          pinpoint where those higher-density areas 


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 1          are, where the higher speed volumes are.  

 2          That way we can be more site-specific, right, 

 3          with where we ask our State Police and other 

 4          law enforcement agencies to be so that they 

 5          can do the proper enforcement.

 6                 But it's a great program -- frankly, 

 7          there's probably not much more important than 

 8          that to protect the health and safety of our 

 9          folks that are working on everybody's behalf 

10          on the roadways.

11                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you for the 

12          efforts.  And I hope that whatever data is 

13          collected can be shared back with us so we 

14          can continue to make the case that --

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  -- just increasing 

17          the fine or issuing tickets is not enough.  

18          We really need to make this a crime.  We need 

19          to change people's behavior in the work 

20          zones.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So I want to thank 

23          you for your support on our efforts, and I 

24          look forward to working with you on this.  


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 1          Thank you.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

 3          Senator.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 6                 Assemblywoman Simon.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

 8                 Thank you, Commissioner.

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  I have a couple 

11          of questions with regard to the BQE triple 

12          cantilever, which as you may know is an 

13          extraordinarily critical link in the 

14          interstate highway system through Brooklyn -- 

15          an extension of the BQE, the Gowanus 

16          Expressway, and leads up to this wonderful 

17          Kosciuszko Bridge that we're very pleased 

18          with the way it's coming along.  

19                 But as you testified earlier, it's 

20          part of the unbuilt system.  I would like to 

21          better understand where the -- how that is -- 

22          elements of the roadway are characterized as 

23          built and unbuilt and why that, in your view, 

24          precludes the state contributing to what is a 


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 1          massive project that needs desperate help.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So the unbuilt 

 3          portions are the portions that the city owns.  

 4          And when the city builds up to state 

 5          standards, State DOT standards, that section 

 6          of roadway and it becomes built, we then take 

 7          ownership of it.  Which means we then 

 8          maintain it going forward, forever.  But the 

 9          process is for unbuilt sections, that's the 

10          local responsibility.  

11                 Yes, it's a big project, no question 

12          about it.  We have many big projects across 

13          the state.  You know, we support the city in 

14          a variety of ways.  The K Bridge has been 

15          mentioned a couple of times today.  That's 

16          just one example, you know, of the work that 

17          we do throughout the city that supports the 

18          city.

19                 So you know, frankly, the resources 

20          are not there for that triple cantilever 

21          project that I've spoken to the commissioner 

22          about, which is why I do say that I think 

23          design-build -- and she has said to me -- 

24          would go a long way in helping address that.  


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 1          For the city.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Yes, and I 

 3          support the design-build for the BQE.  I know 

 4          that there's --

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  But I think my 

 6          point is is that goes a long way into 

 7          addressing the financial portion of that for 

 8          the city as well.  They believe that that 

 9          will help them significantly.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  So I guess is 

11          one concern I have is when that was built, 

12          why wasn't it built to state standards at 

13          that time?  I mean, I don't understand how 

14          that didn't end up in the state system when 

15          it was done in the first place.  Because I 

16          don't think it was done in the first place 

17          not to state standards.  I mean, the --

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I -- 

19          honestly, I can't answer that.  It was built 

20          probably 75 years ago.  

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  The Gowanus, I 

22          understand how that happened.  But I don't 

23          understand how this happened.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We've taken 


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 1          over many sections of various roadways 

 2          through the city.  Once they've come to state 

 3          standards, we take them, we own them.  And 

 4          then remember, we own them going forward 

 5          forever on the maintenance end.  So it really 

 6          does relieve the city of that burden.  

 7                 I can't speak to why it was never, you 

 8          know, built that way initially.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  And what about 

10          the application of the BRIDGE NY program?  I 

11          understand that it's there to help support 

12          the bridges and roadways.  Is there some 

13          reason why that money, any money from there 

14          can't be used towards something like the BQE 

15          cantilever?  

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, again, 

17          it's a balance of needs.  And it's bridges 

18          and culverts only, not roadways.  So it's 

19          bridges and culverts.

20                 It's a needs issue.  You know, we 

21          have -- there are needs all across the State 

22          of New York, from Buffalo to Lake Placid to 

23          Long Island.  And so $200 million, while it's 

24          a lot of money to you and I, there's a lot of 


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 1          need out there.  And so we need to use those 

 2          funds to address local issues as well in 

 3          other parts of the state.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Well, I want to 

 5          express very clearly just how concerned I am 

 6          about the triple cantilever.  It is -- it 

 7          does ring the third-largest commercial 

 8          business district -- the third-largest 

 9          business district in New York City, which is 

10          probably the fourth-largest business district 

11          in the state.  And it is in perilous 

12          condition.  And it's not clear how it was 

13          even built, to some extent.  

14                 And if something goes awry, this will 

15          have a devastating economic effect, really 

16          for the region.  So I want to encourage the 

17          state to find a way to help with that.

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  Our 

22          next speaker is Senator Tedisco.

23                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Thank you, 

24          Commissioner.  And thank you for being here 


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 1          and giving us your testimony, and your 

 2          service, coming from mayor here to the 

 3          commissioner of DOT.  And as a local elected 

 4          official at one time, you know what a lot of 

 5          our elected officials are going through as it 

 6          relates to our infrastructure.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

 8                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  And I know you 

 9          alluded to a short conversation we had before 

10          your testimony, and we talked a little bit 

11          about a holistic aspect of our 

12          infrastructure.  And we all know how 

13          important our roads and our bridges are -- 

14          it's about public safety, getting our kids to 

15          school, getting to the doctor's, getting to 

16          our jobs.  And most importantly, it's about 

17          economic development.  Who's going to want to 

18          expand or put a business in New York State if 

19          we're not maintaining our infrastructure?

20                 But it also goes beyond the roads and 

21          bridges.  We need to put money into those 

22          roads and bridges and maintain them.  We need 

23          a continuum.

24                 But as we talked, we talked about a 


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 1          lurking monster which is another part of our 

 2          infrastructure.  And you remember the show 

 3          The Honeymooners, with Jackie Gleason?

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I do.  Sure.

 5                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Remember a guy named 

 6          Ed Norton?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah.

 8                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  He's too young to 

 9          know that, Kaminsky; I've got socks that are 

10          older than him.  He thought Ed Norton was 

11          that young guy that is a good actor now.

12                 (Laughter.)

13                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  But you can't cut a 

14          ribbon on a road or -- or you can cut a 

15          ribbon on roads and bridges, but only Ed 

16          Norton could cut a ribbon on a sewer line, 

17          because he worked in the sewers back in The 

18          Honeymooners.  

19                 And the reason why I mention that is 

20          myself and the good Assemblyman Phil Steck 

21          down there, and several of our colleagues in 

22          the Senate and the Assembly, understand that 

23          fully here in the Capital Region.  We've seen 

24          what's happened in Rensselaer.  An SUV went 


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 1          into a sinkhole in Albany.  In Montgomery 

 2          County, they still have sewer going into the 

 3          Mohawk because of our sublevel.

 4                 And you and I talked about it, our 

 5          sewer lines, our water lines, our sanitary 

 6          lines, our gas lines.  That is the lurking 

 7          monster.  And you mentioned -- and I know 

 8          about this, because when I was a city 

 9          councilman, I put together a program to 

10          actually purchase TV cameras, put them 

11          through the entire sewer system of the City 

12          of Schenectady, and start a maintenance 

13          system on the most dilapidated sublevel 

14          sewer, water and gas lines, so we wouldn't 

15          have the breaks that bring down those roads 

16          and bridges, which cost two to three to four 

17          to five times as much as if you put a system 

18          in -- and they have a technology now to 

19          actually seal those systems in many ways.

20                 Many of those are a hundred years old.  

21          They date back to the Civil War.  And believe 

22          it or not, like you said, in Syracuse there 

23          was some wooden sewer lines.  We had wooden 

24          lines and we'd still today have wooden sewer 


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 1          lines in the City of Schenectady, part of the 

 2          49th Senatorial District.  And I think you 

 3          can go to any county and take a look at 

 4          those.

 5                 My colleagues in this region, 

 6          supervisors, highway superintendents -- in 

 7          fact, the Association of Towns has put on 

 8          their number-one level a program that 

 9          Assemblyman Steck and I are the sponsors of, 

10          and have several others, called SWIAP, Safe 

11          Water Infrastructure Action Program.  What it 

12          deals with is a sister program to CHIPS.

13                 What's happening now, anecdotally from 

14          some of my highway superintendents, they love 

15          that CHIPS money.  We've got to continue to 

16          support it.  It was $445 million, I think, 

17          last year, and I think it's in the budget 

18          this year.  They're putting down beautiful 

19          roads.  You know what's happening?  They're 

20          collapsing with their weight with the 

21          sublevel that's so deteriorated.  So we're 

22          putting good money after bad.

23                 We need a sister program, and we think 

24          we have an idea to put that forth, called 


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 1          Safe Water Infrastructure Action Plan.  It's 

 2          not a Hunger Games.  It wouldn't be 

 3          competition.  It would be based on a formula 

 4          just like CHIPS. 

 5                 I was wondering if you would support a 

 6          concept like that if we could maybe negotiate 

 7          that into the New York State budget, so 

 8          supervisors, mayors, villages, towns know -- 

 9          not going to solve all the problems, but they 

10          can start looking at the sublevel, that 

11          lurking monster, before they put beautiful 

12          roads down, and they collapse, and it's twice 

13          as much money, throwing good money after bad.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  I 

15          think it's a good idea.  I mean, you're -- 

16          but the budget before you, you know, has a 

17          $2 billion proposal for the clean 

18          water/drinking water program.  

19                 But I agree, you and I talked offline 

20          a little before this, and I mentioned 

21          previously what I had done.  And I will say 

22          to all of you, you know, New York is blessed 

23          in the sense that we have a group of 

24          individuals and organizations, the 


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 1          Environmental Facilities Corporation, who are 

 2          very sophisticated in assisting communities 

 3          both in terms of grants and loans, 

 4          low-interest loans, now as low as zero 

 5          percent, to address their infrastructure 

 6          needs -- clean water, drinking water.

 7                 But I think your point is well-taken.  

 8          And I've always encouraged, since my arrival 

 9          here at New York State, when I speak to local 

10          officials, when they look at or are going to 

11          undertake a local road reconstruction 

12          program, or they're going to fix some sewer 

13          runs or replace a water line, to look at it 

14          more holistically -- so that they fully 

15          understand, below grade, the challenges, but 

16          that they also leverage additional programs 

17          like what the EFC offers with other programs 

18          in New York State where they might be able to 

19          reinvent their local community -- Main Street 

20          programs, where you're not just going to 

21          replace a sewer line and then put the road 

22          back over it; maybe you look at how you green 

23          it up, you add green infrastructure, you add 

24          elements that enhance the beauty of the 


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 1          community.  And that is proven to attract and 

 2          further economic development.

 3                 So I think you're right, I think that 

 4          certainly as we look at these types of 

 5          challenges more holistically, and in a 

 6          smarter way, I think all communities will be 

 7          served.  

 8                 But one thing is for sure, that 

 9          New York State is a very old state.  The 

10          Northeast is a very old place.  And so 

11          therefore our infrastructure is definitely 

12          very old.  But I do know, from my past 

13          experience and what I'm doing now, that, you 

14          know, we are -- and the Governor is putting 

15          his best foot forward trying to tackle this 

16          very large issue.  

17                 So I think that sounds like a very 

18          good idea to me, and it's something that I 

19          would encourage you to work forward on.

20                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  I know my time is 

21          up, but just to close I'd say we appreciate 

22          those grants, and they appreciate those 

23          loans, but they're strapped for money.  And 

24          the longer we delay with that sublevel, the 


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 1          more problems we're going to have on all 

 2          levels.  Because those roads and bridges will 

 3          collapse with their weight under that 

 4          deteriorated sublevel infrastructure.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Just to add to 

 6          that, I think one benefit has been that in 

 7          large part much of the median household 

 8          income has been lowered, that threshold, so 

 9          more communities are qualifying for zero 

10          percent loans, as an example.  So while you 

11          may take a loan, you certainly still have to 

12          pay it back, but it's zero percent.  There's 

13          grant dollars that go with that.  They've 

14          done a terrific job continuing the momentum 

15          of that program, and it continues to grow.  

16          They're a great resource.  

17                 And I just remind all of the members 

18          here today that that's another tool in the 

19          belt when you work with your local 

20          constituencies.

21                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Thank you, and thank 

22          you for the great job you do.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

24          sir.


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 1                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 4                 Senator Liz Krueger.

 5                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

 6          Commissioner.  So many questions have already 

 7          been asked.

 8                 In the Governor's briefing on your 

 9          agency, it included a statement that there's 

10          $1.2 billion in additional support for JFK 

11          access and Woodbury Commons, et cetera, but 

12          then there only appears to be about 

13          $749 million in additional DOT 

14          appropriations.  So where's the other money 

15          coming from to get us to $1.2 billion?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That will be 

17          developed as we work forward next year.  

18          There's $564 million towards the Kew 

19          Interchange, part of the JFK access.  And the 

20          other pot is the $600 million in encumbrance 

21          relief for federal funds that we'll use to 

22          accelerate like the Woodbury Commons project.

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But then is there 

24          $1.2 billion for Kennedy?


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  There is 

 2          $564 million for Kennedy this year.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And then the other 

 4          $600 million --

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  For the Kew 

 6          Gardens Interchange.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  -- federal 

 8          acceleration for Woodbury.

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Is that how it 

11          breaks out?

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Among others, 

13          yes.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay, among others.  

15          There were a few other projects listed, okay.

16                 How much of your budget currently 

17          comes from revenue from gasoline taxes?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, I 

19          don't know that answer, to be honest with 

20          you.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Do you have a 

22          percentage, approximately?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't know 

24          that answer.  I can get it.


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 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  The reason I ask is 

 2          because a few years ago a gallon of oil was 

 3          $120, and now it's $50.  So by definition, 

 4          since the price of gas continues to go 

 5          down -- even though we all want to get us off 

 6          a gas-driven economy -- your revenues have to 

 7          be going down.  

 8                 So I'm curious, how is that impacting 

 9          revenue for your projects, and what's your 

10          projections going forward?

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, it would 

12          not -- it would -- if it's volume-based, it 

13          wouldn't go down.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I thought our gas 

15          taxes were driven in a formula related to 

16          price.

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, but that 

18          doesn't mean people aren't still buying the 

19          same amount.

20                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Is it cents per 

21          gallon, not percentage of the total value?  

22          Is that how it works, all of them?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah --

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Yes?


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

 2                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I don't 

 4          know the number.  I can get it.  But I don't 

 5          know it off the top of my head.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  The energy and 

 7          environmental side of state government is 

 8          actually pushing a big effort towards 

 9          electric cars, vehicles.  And we had lots of 

10          back and forth on that during the EnCon 

11          hearing Monday.  How does that impact DOT, 

12          and how are you planning for being able to 

13          participate in ensuring we have a state that 

14          is up to meeting the needs to move from 

15          gas-driven vehicles to electric vehicles?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So we are 

17          looking -- from a DOT perspective, we're 

18          looking at how we can add charging stations, 

19          including here on our main campus at Wolf 

20          Road, and the purchase of electric vehicles 

21          that we would use fleetwide.  

22                 There's some challenges with that, you 

23          know.  As an example, electric cars work 

24          better in warm weather, so when we're in the 


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 1          middle of winter, like now, they don't work 

 2          as well.  But that's really a development of 

 3          the research and technology.  They don't work 

 4          as well on steep grades, they work better in 

 5          flat areas, of course.  But DOT is committed 

 6          to that.

 7                 We also just initiated some solar 

 8          installations in our Region 5 Buffalo area so 

 9          that we can reduce the cost of our footprint 

10          there -- not only our footprint, but the cost 

11          to us to run our facilities.  And we're also 

12          developing a broader statewide program for 

13          that as well.  

14                 So we're very committed to 

15          environmental issues in the State of 

16          New York.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So I know that, 

18          through discussions, that we have a little 

19          problem with the federal government trying to 

20          put electric car filling stations -- I'm 

21          using the wrong terminology, but the plugs 

22          for the electric cars -- into the Thruway 

23          sites because of federal law.  There's some 

24          rules around whether we can actually put 


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 1          electric car chargers -- chargers was the 

 2          word that was escaping my brain -- in the 

 3          Thruway stops.

 4                 But are we planning to put electric 

 5          car chargers in the state roads or the state 

 6          pull-overs and rest stops?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, we are 

 8          working on a plan to do that.  But we also 

 9          want to make smart decisions on where we 

10          locate those.  Right?  So we want to use data 

11          to the extent that we can to determine what 

12          the best locations will be in doing so.

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  What kind of data 

14          will you use, the basis of how many cars are 

15          being sold in certain areas?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, you 

17          know, maybe working with the Automobile 

18          Association to understand, you know, where 

19          registrations are, as an example, for 

20          electric cars, trying to get a better handle 

21          on where those sites are.

22                 But I think in the long term, to your 

23          point, it's incumbent upon the state to make 

24          sure that we have a system that's built to 


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 1          address that growing community.  And that's 

 2          exactly what is happening.  I don't want to 

 3          speak for the Thruway; I know that they have 

 4          a number of installations planned.

 5                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Right.  And I know 

 6          that the Thruway is a separate issue and you 

 7          walk into some federal problems.

 8                 Changing topics, so as part of the 

 9          Governor's budget proposal, he announced his 

10          plan to have light shows on various state 

11          bridges and highways.  I forget the name he 

12          used to announce the light shows, and I think 

13          there's even a reference to music to go along 

14          with the light shows.

15                 So at risk of being a real downer, in 

16          New York City we actually have a lot of 

17          concern about light and noise pollution at 

18          night, and there's even a law that was passed 

19          here at the state level, and other laws at 

20          the city level, to prevent light and noise 

21          pollution.

22                 And I'm curious how the proposal 

23          stacks up against many people's concerns 

24          about not actually wanting to have a light 


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 1          show coming in through their bedroom window 

 2          every night.

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  

 4          Understood.  No, I understand that.  And I 

 5          think as it continues to move forward, people 

 6          will have a better understanding on how it 

 7          would work.

 8                 As an example, LED technology would be 

 9          utilized, and it would be directional.  In 

10          other words, it wouldn't be shining into 

11          somebody's bedroom window.  In theory, you 

12          would direct that LED so it could be skyward.  

13          There's ways that you can lamppost, if you 

14          will, lights.

15                 But this is done all over the world.  

16          And, you know, the idea behind it is to 

17          showcase the spectacular New York bridges and 

18          so forth.  New York gets 50-plus million 

19          visitors a year.  The tourism industry is 

20          huge in New York.  But balancing it, 

21          obviously, between people who live there and 

22          people who visit there, but also to be able 

23          to utilize it in, you know, days of 

24          significance -- the Fourth of July, as an 


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 1          example, how you celebrate our national 

 2          holiday.  The Empire State Building does it 

 3          now.  I'm not certain that there's a lot of 

 4          complaints generated from that.

 5                 But it would be coordinated, so there 

 6          would be kind of a central command, if you 

 7          will, that would coordinate how these lights 

 8          may work.  And I have to tell you, I don't 

 9          know all those details.  But I do know that 

10          you can utilize lighting, in particular LED, 

11          in different ways to minimize those impacts.  

12          And I'm certain that all of that will be 

13          considered.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And that will all be 

15          under your authority at DOT?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, it's 

17          largely the MTA.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Largely it will be 

19          in the MTA.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Now, on the -- 

21          I'll call it the K Bridge, because sometimes 

22          I mangle it.  The K Bridge, we are looking at 

23          adding -- we have always had lighting as part 

24          of that, that's what the community wanted.  


                                                                  150

 1          So when we were doing the work on the 

 2          development of the K Bridge, one of the 

 3          things the community wanted was also how they 

 4          celebrate that new bridge.  So the K Bridge 

 5          would also be lit in a similar fashion.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

10                 We have Mr. Steck, for one question, 

11          to close on our side.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So I am one of the 

13          people who does have a substantially electric 

14          vehicle.  And I just wanted to note, I spent 

15          some time in Syracuse on business recently, 

16          and they have a lot of parking places where 

17          you can charge.  The problem is, it's 

18          completely ineffectual, because in order to 

19          charge an electric vehicle, you need to sit 

20          there, at 240 volts, for about four hours.  

21          If you're limited to two hours of parking, 

22          that doesn't help you very much.  

23                 So I certainly, you know, would -- I 

24          think in your testimony you did identify the 


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 1          fact that it's probably not going to be 

 2          something you can do at classic gasoline 

 3          filling stations, or even on the Thruway.  No 

 4          one's going to want to sit there.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Agreed.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So I just wanted 

 7          to point that out.  I can see that you're 

 8          aware of that.  And sometimes the best of 

 9          intentions --

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, right.  

11          And I -- just to say, because I was there, 

12          some of those installations took place back 

13          in 2002 and 2003.  And that was the 

14          technology at that point.

15                 In this field, you know, that 

16          technology changes almost daily.  And so, you 

17          know, the advancement of research and 

18          development in that area -- battery systems, 

19          which is a big growing industry, and is 

20          significant in the Binghamton area, those are 

21          the types of research and development that 

22          you need to utilize, and then the data on 

23          where best to put the most modern, if you 

24          will, stations.


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 1                 I agree with you, who could sit there 

 2          for four hours, unless it's an overnight?

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  Yes.  And we 

 4          certainly appreciate everything you've been 

 5          able to accomplish in the 110th Assembly 

 6          District.  And thank you very much, 

 7          Commissioner.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

10                 Senator Comrie.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  To close?

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  To close.

13                 SENATOR COMRIE:  To close?  All right.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You're the closer.

15                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you, 

16          Commissioner, for your service.  

17                 Can you -- I want to just echo my 

18          colleagues' comments on design-build, and 

19          hopefully that is negotiated without a 

20          problem in the budget so that the city can 

21          have it also.  

22                 I represent Queens, so I just wanted 

23          to ask you about the Kew Gardens Interchange.  

24          You said there's another $564 million to be 


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 1          invested in the Kew Gardens Interchange.  Can 

 2          you tell me if that will finally resolve the 

 3          problem of the water that is continuing to 

 4          still pond when you go northbound on the Van 

 5          Wyck towards the Grand Central?

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We think it's 

 7          going to make a significant impact.  As I 

 8          mentioned, there will be an additional lane 

 9          in either direction, managed lane, which will 

10          help.  It's proven to work elsewhere.

11                 But in combination, you know, with 

12          way-finding signs and the work that's being 

13          done at the airport as well -- there's a 

14          traffic plan which we're not involved in, you 

15          know, for the airport proper -- all of those 

16          things should help the flows.

17                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Well, I meant there's 

18          still a water flow problem from the high 

19          water table in that area, and there's still 

20          water that actually stays on the roadway.  

21          And can you tell me --

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, well 

23          that -- and I -- I apologize.

24                 SENATOR COMRIE:  -- if that water is 


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 1          being discharged?  Have they figured it out 

 2          yet?

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.  

 4          Drainage is all part of the program as well, 

 5          and I neglected to mention that.  Drainage is 

 6          part of the project with the road 

 7          reconstruction, adding the lanes.

 8                 There's another benefit that I didn't 

 9          mention that I want to.  You know, we believe 

10          that, as you know now, some of the 

11          neighborhoods that are close to the highway, 

12          if you will, are severely impacted with 

13          traffic that goes right by their front door.

14                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Right.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So in terms 

16          of, you know, air quality, emissions, kind of 

17          a healthier environment for people, we 

18          believe this is really going to help get 

19          people back on that roadway where they should 

20          be out of the -- away from people's front 

21          doors and back on the highway.

22                 But drainage is a big part of that 

23          too, and of course that will help with some 

24          of the ponding issues that I know are 


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 1          experienced with some of the neighbors also.

 2                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay.  Well, there's 

 3          ponding issues on the streets.  And I 

 4          appreciate the beautification that's being 

 5          done, especially along the Queens Boulevard 

 6          area, with creating a more open setting, and 

 7          hopefully they'll be putting a lot of trees 

 8          up there also.

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Mm-hmm.

10                 SENATOR COMRIE:  But there's still 

11          ponding on the actual Van Wyck roadway 

12          itself.  I know it's been a difficult 

13          problem, it's been there for decades.  I hope 

14          that that discharge, that they can figure it 

15          out, because it seems to be a real difficult 

16          problem with the water that's there from 

17          Flushing Meadow Park, and trying to figure 

18          out how that ponding -- how that problem will 

19          be significantly eradicated.  I would hope 

20          that the money is -- that we're not spending 

21          all that money and we still have that ponding 

22          at the end of the day. 

23                 So the Kew Gardens Interchange, and 

24          also the access to the airport.  Did you 


                                                                  156

 1          mention, or did I miss it in your statement 

 2          that there was a feasibility study to see if 

 3          there will be another opportunity to develop 

 4          a one ride to the airport from Midtown 

 5          Manhattan?

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I believe 

 7          that's with the Port Authority.  The Port 

 8          Authority.  That would not be DOT.

 9                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Will DOT have a role 

10          in that at all?

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No.

12                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay.  And then also 

13          I wanted to ask you about the pavement, the 

14          quality of the pavement.  Because it seems 

15          like every year that the roadway has to get 

16          repaired, the Long Island Expressway and the 

17          Van Wyck.  I know it's two of the heaviest 

18          roadways in the country as far as usage is 

19          concerned, but it seems like every six months 

20          it just falls apart right after the winter 

21          season, or sometimes even during the season.  

22                 Has there been any materials that have 

23          been developed that could make a better 

24          pavement surface?


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, we have 

 2          a laboratory -- we're mandated to have a 

 3          laboratory by the federal government, and 

 4          they're constantly looking for ways, short of 

 5          concrete, how we can have a better mix that 

 6          will hold up better, if you will.

 7                 The challenges simply are, you know, 

 8          you come from hot weather, you go to cold 

 9          weather, the freezing, thawing -- and then 

10          the reality is there's just an enormous 

11          amount of traffic that's almost 24/7 on those 

12          roadways.

13                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Right.  Right.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And it's a 

15          constant battle, there's no doubt about it.

16                 But yeah, the labs are always looking 

17          at how we can improve, you know, kind of the 

18          strength, if you will, of our asphalt mixes.  

19          And other materials.

20                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay.  But nothing's 

21          been developed yet that you could say it's 

22          going to be tested or brought into that area?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Not to my 

24          knowledge.  


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 1                 One of the things that we're looking 

 2          at that I wouldn't recommend there, though, 

 3          would be kind of porous pavements.  Those are 

 4          utilized better in different areas where we 

 5          can utilize the roadway to remove water away 

 6          from identified water bodies, so we're doing 

 7          that type of work.  I wouldn't recommend it 

 8          there just by simply the volumes.  

 9                 But no, is the honest answer.  At this 

10          point those are the materials that we're 

11          using.  But we're constantly looking to build 

12          a better mousetrap.

13                 SENATOR COMRIE:  And you mentioned 

14          earlier also that Diesel Emissions Reduction 

15          Act.  Are we fully ready to implement that 

16          full plan, or will there need to be another 

17          delay?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  See-mac?

19                 SENATOR COMRIE:  No, the Diesel 

20          Emissions Reduction act.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Oh.  Not at 

22          this time, but we are making great progress 

23          in changing over our fleet.  But I wouldn't 

24          commit here today that, you know, we were 


                                                                  159

 1          ready completely to be done with that.

 2                 SENATOR COMRIE:  What about the 

 3          requirements that contractors and other 

 4          people that are working on state projects 

 5          also had their fleet upgraded?  Where are we 

 6          with that process?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We continue to 

 8          work with the GCA, a number of different 

 9          construction industry professionals across 

10          the board, for that as well.

11                 SENATOR COMRIE:  All right.  Thank 

12          you, Commissioner.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I will 

14          also follow up on the water issue for you, 

15          and we'll get back to you.

16                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Yes, I'll follow up 

17          on that, because that is part of my district 

18          and I do get a lot of concerns.  I've had two 

19          residents in the last month that actually 

20          spun out in that intersection, so --

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.  I'm 

22          happy to do that.

23                 SENATOR COMRIE:  All right.  Thank 

24          you.  Thank you, Chairwoman.  


                                                                  160

 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.  

 2                 Senator Kennedy wants to ask one quick 

 3          question.

 4                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Yeah, Commissioner, 

 5          just going back to the reconstruction of the 

 6          198 that you had brought up during your 

 7          testimony here today.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yup.

 9                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  First of all, thank 

10          you for your intervention and your office's 

11          work on this.

12                 The Scajaquada Creek has been one of 

13          the most polluted waterways in the state.  

14          The state is addressing this issue.  There's 

15          another issue regarding, with the 

16          reconstruction of the 198, pedestrian access 

17          to Scajaquada Creek that's being addressed.

18                 Is the environmental impact of the 

19          reconstruction also being addressed as the 

20          new redevelopment of the 198 moves forward, 

21          the environmental impact on Scajaquada Creek 

22          as this remediation is taking place?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, it is.  

24          And, you know, I think that also is -- you 


                                                                  161

 1          know, there's the impacts to the park as 

 2          well.  As you know, there's great debate in 

 3          Buffalo over the Scajaquada and, you know, 

 4          what's going to happen.  You know, that 

 5          debate's gone on for 15 years -- for too 

 6          long, from my perspective.  Which is why, you 

 7          know, when I came here I stepped in to say 

 8          we're going to get this done.

 9                 But we do analyze and evaluate all the 

10          environmental impacts as well.  So obviously 

11          when you slow traffic down, you have air 

12          quality -- or you could potentially have air 

13          quality impacts also.  But all of those are 

14          analyzed, they are part of our process that 

15          we go through.  And so that's been a very 

16          challenging project, as you know.

17                 But yes, the environmental concerns 

18          are all part of it as well.

19                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you, 

20          Commissioner.  Air quality, water quality 

21          with the Scajaquada Creek, we would certainly 

22          appreciate your continued efforts in that 

23          regard to maintain and protect that.  Thank 

24          you.


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 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

 2          Senator.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  Thank 

 4          you, Commissioner.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for all 

 6          that you do for the citizens of New York.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Have a good rest of 

 9          the day.

10                 Assemblyman Buchwald, Assemblyman 

11          Perry, and Assemblyman Otis have joined us.

12                 Next we go to the 10:30 person, 

13          Theresa Egan, executive deputy commissioner, 

14          New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.  

15                 Good afternoon.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Welcome.

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Good 

18          afternoon.  

19                 Thank you, Chairperson Young, 

20          Chairperson Farrell, Chairperson Robach, and 

21          other members of the Legislature for inviting 

22          me here today.  I'm Terri Egan, the executive 

23          deputy commissioner for the Department of 

24          Motor Vehicles.


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 1                 Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget plan 

 2          allows DMV to continue to build upon the 

 3          innovations and efficiencies achieved over 

 4          the past few years.  The budget provides 

 5          $342 million for DMV to support its main 

 6          office in Albany, 27 state-operated offices, 

 7          and 102 county-operated offices, and will 

 8          enable us to continue our efforts to improve 

 9          overall customer service, promote traffic 

10          safety, and protect consumers.  DMV will use 

11          a $16 million increase over our prior year's 

12          funding and 107 new FTEs to accommodate 

13          additional in-office customers as a result of 

14          increasing license renewal volumes, to ensure 

15          that New York State is compliant with the 

16          REAL ID Act, and to oversee the safe 

17          expansion of ride-sharing services to upstate 

18          New York.  

19                 Our average wait times in the state 

20          offices remain under 30 minutes, and these 

21          additional funds and FTEs will allow us to, 

22          at minimum, maintain this critical level of 

23          customer service.  

24                 No later than October 1, 2020, 


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 1          domestic air travelers will need a REAL 

 2          ID-compliant document or other acceptable 

 3          form of federal identification in order to 

 4          avoid secondary screening.  It's estimated 

 5          that approximately 11 million New Yorkers 

 6          would seek a Real ID-compliant driver license 

 7          or non-driver ID, which can only be obtained 

 8          in an in-office visit.  Due to the law's 

 9          increased identity verification and 

10          documentation requirements, issuing a Real 

11          ID-compliant document is a more 

12          time-consuming transaction, requiring that 

13          our employees be well-trained so that they 

14          can adequately perform the necessary review. 

15          The $5.00 additional fee that's proposed 

16          would cover the additional DMV personnel and 

17          IT resources needed to serve customers 

18          seeking these documents beginning in the fall 

19          of this year.  

20                 In the fall, we enter into a peak 

21          license renewal volume period, and we want to 

22          leverage this period so that New Yorkers are 

23          prepared when the act is fully implemented in 

24          2020.  Any delay in implementation will 


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 1          necessitate customers to make repeat visits 

 2          to our offices, resulting in inconvenience to 

 3          our customers and in increased costs to the 

 4          state.  

 5                 With continued enhancements to our 

 6          website, DMV constantly seeks to improve the 

 7          services we offer to our customers.  DMV's 

 8          new, modern, dynamic, and easy-to-use website 

 9          is optimized for use on mobile devices.  Our 

10          website now receives more than 35 million 

11          visits per year and offers more than 50 

12          online transactions and services.  In 2016, 

13          customers performed more than 7.3 million 

14          internet transactions, totaling nearly 

15          $500 million.  Millions more accessed our 

16          website to gather information or check the 

17          status of their title or license, among other 

18          free services.  

19                 In addition, last year more than 

20          600,000 New Yorkers registered to vote 

21          through the DMV website.  

22                 Along with the expanded use of the 

23          website, we're fully embracing new 

24          technologies such as electronic notifications 


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 1          that allow us to reduce our environmental 

 2          footprint and decrease printing and mailing 

 3          costs.  Currently more than 3.5 million 

 4          New Yorkers are enrolled in our electronic 

 5          registration renewal and inspection reminders 

 6          program, saving the state more than $500,000 

 7          annually.  

 8                 In total, these improvements have 

 9          helped us to move closer to achieving our 

10          long-term goal of 50 percent of transactions 

11          being completed using an alternative service 

12          channel, including the web, mail and kiosks. 

13          Currently, more than 47 percent of our 

14          transactions are completed through an 

15          alternative service channel.  

16                 The 2017-'18 Executive Budget also 

17          looks to provide ride-sharing outside of 

18          New York City by establishing a uniform 

19          statewide regulatory framework that will be 

20          overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

21          By expanding ride-sharing outside of New York 

22          City, we will be able to provide economic 

23          opportunity to more people as well as to 

24          provide a cost-effective transportation 


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 1          alternative.  DMV will provide licensing and 

 2          oversight of ride-share companies, including 

 3          broad auditing powers to ensure uniformity in 

 4          access for all New Yorkers and compliance 

 5          with all laws, rules, and regulations.  

 6                 DMV is not only focused on improving 

 7          service to our customers, we also continue to 

 8          expand partnerships with other agencies to 

 9          create efficiencies and increase compliance.  

10          In 2016, DMV investigators conducted sweeps 

11          that resulted in the seizure of 

12          862 fraudulent licenses and the arrest of 

13          over 800 individuals for underage drinking, 

14          both single-year records.  

15                 Through the year-round Operation 

16          Prevent initiative, DMV investigators work 

17          with the State Liquor Authority, state and 

18          local law enforcement agencies, to conduct 

19          underage drinking and fake ID sweeps at bars, 

20          restaurants, and concert venues across 

21          New York.  

22                 Partnering with 14 state agencies 

23          through the Governor's Traffic Safety 

24          Committee, DMV will continue its outstanding 


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 1          work that has made New York's roadways among 

 2          the safest in the nation.  GTSC distributes 

 3          in excess of $30 million in federal funding 

 4          annually to support traffic safety 

 5          initiatives, including enforcement efforts by 

 6          state and local law enforcement agencies to 

 7          combat impaired driving and distracted 

 8          driving as well as other dangerous driving 

 9          behaviors.  

10                 In 2016, seat-belt usage remained at 

11          an all-time high of 92 percent.  And New York 

12          State has become a national leader in an 

13          innovative program aimed at detecting drugged 

14          driving by training and certifying Drug 

15          Recognition Experts across the state.  

16                 As a result of these efforts and many 

17          others, fatality rates continue to drop.  

18          Preliminary statistics show a decrease in 

19          fatalities from 2015 to 2016 of approximately 

20          7 percent, while the national trend this year 

21          shows a significant increase.  

22                 To support our ongoing traffic safety 

23          efforts, this year's budget includes 

24          proposals to clarify the definition of a 


                                                                  169

 1          drug, expand the scope of the written test 

 2          for purposes of bicycle and pedestrian 

 3          safety, require the revocation of a license 

 4          for driving while impaired by drugs, increase 

 5          license sanctions for refusing to submit to a 

 6          chemical test, prohibit the use of mobile 

 7          phones and portable electronic devices when a 

 8          vehicle is not in motion and by persons under 

 9          18, and also to require all passengers in a 

10          motor vehicle to wear a seat belt.  

11                 All of these measures will result in 

12          safer roads for traveling New Yorkers and 

13          serve to prevent injury and loss of life.  

14                 Looking forward, DMV will continue its 

15          commitment to improve traffic safety, protect 

16          consumers, innovate and improve our 

17          procedures, maintain a high level of customer 

18          service, and provide convenient options for 

19          our customers to complete transactions.  We 

20          remain strongly committed to our core mission 

21          to serve the citizens of New York.  

22                 Once again, thank you for this 

23          opportunity to speak with you today.  I 

24          welcome any questions you might have about 


                                                                  170

 1          DMV and our plans for serving the people of 

 2          New York.  Thank you.  

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 4                 First to question, Chairman Perry.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  Thank you, 

 6          Mr. Chairman.  

 7                 Good afternoon.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It is 

 9          afternoon.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  Thank you for 

11          taking the time to talk with us today and the 

12          opportunity to ask a few questions.  So I 

13          want to ask about your driver's license 

14          reciprocity program.

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  And currently, 

17          driver's licenses from all states offer 

18          reciprocal programs where you can exchange 

19          your license for a New York license, right?  

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 

21          correct.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  New York is a 

23          major tourist destination.  It's also a state 

24          that has a very large immigration population 


                                                                  171

 1          that increases every day.  You have a 

 2          continuous flow of immigrants from all over 

 3          the world, with a significant amount coming 

 4          from the Caribbean Basin area, which is in 

 5          the backyard of the United States.  

 6                 I understand that New York -- my 

 7          constituents have complained that if they 

 8          have a driver's license and have driven for 

 9          years in their former homeland, they can't 

10          exchange their driver's license for a 

11          New York license.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 

13          correct.  At this time we do not have a 

14          reciprocity agreement with countries outside 

15          of the state.  There is provisions for them 

16          to be able to drive temporarily within the 

17          state, but then they would need to meet our 

18          identification requirements here in the state 

19          to obtain a New York State driving license.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  Identification -- 

21          well, someone who had met the identification 

22          requirement still cannot exchange their 

23          license for a New York license.  Is that so?

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Once they 


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 1          meet their identification requirements, we 

 2          would issue them the New York State license 

 3          if they could meet the New York State 

 4          identification requirements.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  I understand that 

 6          they have to go through the whole process and 

 7          do a driving test.  Why is that necessary?  

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, if 

 9          they are coming from a foreign country -- and 

10          maybe I'm not understanding your question, 

11          sir.  If they're coming from a country not 

12          one of our United States, they would need to 

13          come in and they would need to be proved to 

14          meet our identification requirements in order 

15          to get a driver's permit, and then they would 

16          need to take the five-hour course as well as 

17          pass the actual written test.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  Is that really 

19          necessary, someone who has been a driver for 

20          years, isn't that an unnecessary burden on a 

21          new immigrant or someone who has -- who is 

22          already established living here?  You have to 

23          go through a driving course, take a driver's 

24          test?  That seems to be an unnecessary burden 


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 1          on immigrants.  And New York State should be 

 2          doing something about it, don't you think so?  

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I 

 4          understand, and we can certainly consider it.  

 5          Again, we are in a position where we want to 

 6          be able to make sure that while somebody may 

 7          have been driving in different places, that 

 8          they are able to meet our standards here in 

 9          the state so that we can ensure the safety of 

10          all the travelers here on the state's 

11          highways.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  Well, it must be 

13          unnecessary because next door in New Jersey, 

14          you can change your license if you came from 

15          one of the Caribbean countries.  I know if 

16          you came from Jamaica, like I did, if I lived 

17          in New Jersey, I could just change my license 

18          for a driver's license in New Jersey.  And 

19          then if I have a New Jersey license and I 

20          came to New York, I could change it for a 

21          New York license.

22                 So isn't this really an unnecessary 

23          burden on immigrants that should be -- you 

24          should visit that and fix it?


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 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Well, we 

 2          can certainly take a look at it.  Again, we 

 3          really try to uniformly apply our 

 4          identification requirements across the board.  

 5          But we understand -- 

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  But this is not an 

 7          identification issue.  Because I assume that 

 8          to get a driver's license in New Jersey, that 

 9          they have similar requirements, or acceptable 

10          requirements.  So I would think that you 

11          would -- it's not really an issue of 

12          identification.  The question is not about 

13          meeting the identification requirements, it's 

14          the policy or the unnecessary burden of 

15          requiring a person who has driven for years, 

16          and has a valid driver's license, to go 

17          through the whole process of a driving test 

18          to get the license exchanged in New York.  

19          When the neighboring state finds it a simple 

20          matter to do, it seems unnecessary.  I 

21          suggest that we revisit that and look at it.

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

23          Understood, Assemblyman.  We will talk with 

24          New Jersey and consider.  Thank you.


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 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN PERRY:  Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 4          Chairman.  

 5                 Senator Robach.

 6                 SENATOR ROBACH:  (Inaudible.)

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Mic.

 8                 SENATOR ROBACH:  -- a big job, as you 

 9          know.  Just first, just for clarification, 

10          you talked a little bit about the $5 REAL ID.  

11          But off of the merits of that -- I think my 

12          colleague Tom Croci will probably talk about 

13          that more.  But what are the other, if any, 

14          fees that the Governor has proposed, any 

15          increases or anything else in the DMV budget, 

16          and what would they be in the aggregate?  

17                 And I only say that because it seems 

18          like every year, and I really try to read 

19          this stuff, there's always some constituent 

20          contact later who's identified something we 

21          didn't know about that gets put on him.  

22          Oftentimes, it seems like it's in DMV.

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  So 

24          just so I understand the question, it's what 


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 1          other fees are being proposed outside of REAL 

 2          ID?

 3                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Any increases over 

 4          last year.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Okay.  We 

 6          have -- I think the one that's the most 

 7          significant is the increased fee on having a 

 8          title issued.  That one is -- currently the 

 9          fee is $50.  The proposal is to increase that 

10          for originals to $75.  For duplicates, the 

11          current is $20, and the proposal is to 

12          increase that to $40.  

13                 These fees have not been changed since 

14          2005.  And as you may know, titles are 

15          printed on secured paper.  We've had 

16          increasing costs with the document stock as 

17          well as with mailing and printing and ITS 

18          costs.  So the proposal is to increase those 

19          in those increments, which would net out -- 

20          the projection is about $81 million for the 

21          Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund.

22                 In addition to that, there's a very 

23          small increase proposed for those people 

24          coming in from out of state looking to have 


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 1          their license -- once they reapply and have 

 2          their license issued to them again, here in 

 3          New York, in order to do that, it's a 

 4          $100 fee to receive your license -- you know, 

 5          to reapply after a revocation period.  Those 

 6          coming from out of state currently, as it is, 

 7          only have to pay $25.  So the proposal is to 

 8          make it the same.  

 9                 So we would increase that fee for 

10          out-of-state people applying for their 

11          license from $25 to $75.  And I believe 

12          that's a modest increase of about $220,000, I 

13          believe is projected.  And I believe that's 

14          for the General Fund.

15                 And I think that was -- and then we 

16          just have the general increase to the budget 

17          to subsidize the full -- the additional FTE.  

18          But no additional fees per se other than the 

19          REAL ID item that we will speak to.

20                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Thank you.  

21                 Shifting gears real quick, we've 

22          passed a bill now on TNCs and ride-sharing in 

23          the Senate twice, and it looks like the 

24          consensus very well may be that the task of 


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 1          deciding what the criteria will be on 

 2          checking and vetting those drivers will fall 

 3          on to -- well, not you, but you in the 

 4          department.  You know, I feel very strongly 

 5          that we should be using the fullest measures, 

 6          I will tip my hand.  

 7                 I was wondering what your thoughts 

 8          are, what you think those recommendations 

 9          might be to best protect people and vet all 

10          drivers as well as maybe level the playing 

11          field, since we make one section of drivers 

12          already go through established criteria.  I 

13          was wondering if you think those would be the 

14          same, or what you would be recommending or 

15          think would be likely to happen.

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure, 

17          Senator.  I mean, and absolutely, we share 

18          the concern.  We want to make this a very 

19          safe endeavor, certainly, as it rolls out.  

20                 As you may know, at least with the 

21          Executive proposal, the department would have 

22          30 days from the time of passage to prepare 

23          regs that would set forth what that would be, 

24          and that the -- we're being -- the method by 


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 1          which is something that's going to have to be 

 2          developed over that time.  Sitting here 

 3          today, I'm not sure what that's going to be.  

 4          We are engaging in conversation and doing 

 5          some research as to what may be the best way 

 6          to do that.  

 7                 And certainly as we go through that, 

 8          again, it will be done through regulation.  

 9          It will be done very quickly after hopefully 

10          passage of some legislation in this regard.

11                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Could I ask you, is 

12          the current methodology used at least, you 

13          know, in New York City -- would you be 

14          entertaining that for the rest of the state, 

15          a fingerprint check?

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, we 

17          would be looking at that as well as any other 

18          identification.  As you know, there's several 

19          authorities throughout the state that deal 

20          with taxi services, and we certainly have 

21          experiences across the country that have been 

22          dealing with ride-sharing companies.  So we 

23          would endeavor to take all that in and make a 

24          recommendation through the regulation as to 


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 1          how best to ensure that these drivers -- the 

 2          best way that the TNC companies can vet those 

 3          drivers to make sure we have safe 

 4          transportation alternatives.

 5                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Thank you.  Well, let 

 6          me make the request that I hope -- because 

 7          what we're trying to vet, obviously, is 

 8          anything bad or criminal happening.  So I 

 9          hope that even your Motor Vehicles, if you 

10          get that job, you will really listen to the 

11          folks in law enforcement as to what's the 

12          best way --

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

14          Absolutely.

15                 SENATOR ROBACH:  -- not some of the 

16          other anecdotal information that's out there.  

17          Because -- now I'm wearing my father's hat, 

18          not my Senator's hat, and I think it's very, 

19          very important that we do the highest 

20          protection.  This is New York, and we sort of 

21          already have a track record of what we've 

22          established as to what is the best vetting.  

23          I hope that will continue.

24                 Just real quickly, too -- and I don't 


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 1          even know if you'll have a role.  I would 

 2          also love to see if there's some way for the 

 3          department to be involved as well as the 

 4          Legislature.  I hope, if we go to 

 5          ride-sharing, and I think we are going down 

 6          that road, I was hoping there could be 

 7          something included to incentivize 

 8          transporting people with wheelchairs and 

 9          handicapped people as well.  And that could 

10          go even above and beyond just ride-sharing 

11          companies, but everybody.  

12                 I've met with countless 

13          constituencies, individual people, families 

14          of loved ones -- I mean, there really is a 

15          need there, not only in my community but 

16          across this whole state.  So I'm hopeful 

17          we'll take full advantage of this 

18          opportunity.

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

20          Absolutely.  And again, I think that the 

21          creation of the task force to research and 

22          evaluate the handicapped accessibility is 

23          certainly a necessary component of this 

24          legislation.  As you said, there's a need.  


                                                                  182

 1                 We sitting here certainly don't know 

 2          what that need is, and I think upstate may be 

 3          different than downstate needs.  And I think 

 4          we need to take that time and use the task 

 5          force to explore, with the advocates, with 

 6          people, experts in this area, as well as our 

 7          other state agencies, to be able to review 

 8          that data and then come up with 

 9          recommendations for that so that we can make 

10          sure that all aspects of our communities are 

11          being serviced.

12                 SENATOR ROBACH:  Thank you.  Thank you 

13          for being here today and the job you do every 

14          day.

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank 

16          you, Senator.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  Thank 

18          me.

19                 Assemblyman Murray.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN MURRAY:  Thank you, 

21          Mr. Chairman.  

22                 And thank you for being here, Deputy 

23          Commissioner.  

24                 I wanted to know, is the DMV still 


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 1          engaging in the practice of selling personal 

 2          information of its clients, such as driving 

 3          records, addresses, makes of vehicles 

 4          registered, dates of birth, et cetera.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Let me be 

 6          clear with that, Assemblyman.  The department 

 7          does not sell any license information in 

 8          bulk.  We never sell a Social Security 

 9          number.  

10                 The sales of data that goes on, 

11          there's particular VTL sections that 

12          authorize that.  And I will presume for a 

13          moment you're talking about the bulk data 

14          sales, because we do periodically hear about 

15          that in the press.  

16                 That is specifically authorized in VTL 

17          Section 202.  It's done by contract, and the 

18          purchasers have to comply with the DPPA.  And 

19          again, that is for license and registration 

20          data -- I'm sorry, it is registration and 

21          title data, not license data.  And it never 

22          contains a Social Security number.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN MURRAY:  Not a Social 

24          Security, but it does include things like 


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 1          driver's records, addresses, what types of 

 2          vehicles are sold and registered, things of 

 3          that nature?  And who is that information 

 4          sold to?  

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It does.  

 6          But it is not personal information.  There's 

 7          an actual legal definition of what's personal 

 8          information, and that type of stuff is not.

 9                 And who purchases it.  We have -- it's 

10          an IFB process that we go through.  Right now 

11          it's an every-two-year process.  We have two 

12          contracts in place right now of purchasers of 

13          that bulk data of the reg and title file.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN MURRAY:  And how much do 

15          you generally make or make on this on an 

16          annual basis?  The number I heard last was 

17          about 60 million.

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah, 

19          that's a little convoluted.  Overall, for all 

20          the data we sell, is about 60 million.  

21          However, the contract data that I think 

22          causes the most concern and certainly the 

23          most press interest is about $2.2 million out 

24          of the 60.  The balance is done on 


                                                                  185

 1          over-the-counter sales, and that's about 

 2          $3 million.  And then really the bulk of the 

 3          sales is really a pay per search, and that's 

 4          done through an account with the Department 

 5          of Motor Vehicles and it's done by mostly 

 6          insurance companies that are checking, again, 

 7          driving records, employers that need to check 

 8          driving records before employment and things 

 9          like that.  But that's where the bulk -- the 

10          data sales, the bulk data sales that creates 

11          the most concern really is about a $2 million 

12          piece.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN MURRAY:  Being in 

14          marketing myself in the private sector, I 

15          get, you know, why and how this is going 

16          about.  But the concern is this.  When a 

17          story was run on Long Island, News 12 went 

18          out on the street, they started interviewing 

19          people and asked them, Are you aware of this 

20          practice even happening?  I'd say 

21          99.9 percent of the people had absolutely no 

22          idea this was happening and were a little bit 

23          upset about it.  

24                 Is there a process for which they can 


                                                                  186

 1          opt out?  And how do we let the consumers 

 2          know that this practice is being engaged in 

 3          in the first place?  

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  

 5          Again, when this legislation was initially 

 6          passed, there was an opt-in, opt-out 

 7          provision.  At the agency, we actually opted 

 8          everybody out, because we assumed most people 

 9          would not want their information sold.  So we 

10          do an opt-out.  

11                 The information that's actually being 

12          sold pursuant to this section is done 

13          pursuant to the statutory section.  So we 

14          try, as those articles come out, to let 

15          people know we are not doing anything 

16          different than what, you know, VTL and the 

17          legislation tells us to do in regard to 

18          selling the registration and the title 

19          information.  And there's a specific purpose 

20          set forth in the contract.  It has to do -- I 

21          don't have the VTL section directly in front 

22          of me, but some of it is for research 

23          purposes, it is for recall information, and 

24          things like that.  It is not just general 


                                                                  187

 1          marketing sales.  And it's set forth pursuant 

 2          to the statute.  

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN MURRAY:  Where does the 

 4          money that you get from this, where does that 

 5          go?  

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I do not 

 7          know.  The answer to that is not to DMV.  I 

 8          would guess the General Fund, but I can check 

 9          and we can get back to you on that.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN MURRAY:  Okay, very good.  

11          Thank you.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

14                 We've been joined by Senator Elaine 

15          Phillips.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've been joined 

17          by Assemblyman Mosley.  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

19                 And our next speaker is Senator Croci, 

20          who is chair of the Homeland Security 

21          Committee.

22                 SENATOR CROCI:  Deputy Commissioner, 

23          thank you for joining us today.

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Hi, 


                                                                  188

 1          Senator, how are you?

 2                 SENATOR CROCI:  I'm doing very well.

 3                 I read your testimony with regard to 

 4          REAL ID.  So when this was passed in 2005 and 

 5          signed into law by the president, it was a 

 6          recommendation based on the 9/11 Commission 

 7          recognizing that New York suffered 

 8          disproportionately in the attacks of 9/11.  

 9          One would think that New York would have been 

10          the leader in implementation of this very 

11          important program designed to prevent 

12          individuals who come to this country to do us 

13          harm from conducting attacks on us.

14                 So after over 12 years of this being 

15          law -- Governor Cuomo has been governor for 

16          seven years -- I would like to know why this 

17          is the first budget we are seeing this in and 

18          why, since the federal government gave us 

19          money and all the states money for 

20          compliance, why there's a need to pass on 

21          this cost to residents when the money has 

22          already been given for compliance.  

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  

24          Certainly, Senator.


                                                                  189

 1                 Again, as you pointed out, the federal 

 2          legislation was passed in 2005.  And I would 

 3          say over the last several years the direction 

 4          that the states have received from the 

 5          federal government in regard to the REAL ID 

 6          Act has not been necessarily real clear.  

 7          Deadlines really weren't deadlines.  It is 

 8          fairly recently, within the last year and a 

 9          half or two years, that in fact there has 

10          been a very clear timeline set forth by the 

11          federal Department of Homeland Security.  

12                 During that whole period of time we've 

13          been engaged in conversation with the federal 

14          DHS trying to ascertain what the most 

15          cost-effective way was to meet the 

16          requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.  We 

17          have -- as you aptly pointed out, there had 

18          been REAL ID grants that have been provided 

19          over time, and we took advantage of those and 

20          in fact updated our systems in various parts 

21          of that that were needed to be able to meet 

22          the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.

23                 SENATOR CROCI:  That took 10 years?  

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  And those 


                                                                  190

 1          have -- those have happened, and we continue 

 2          to work through this.

 3                 But as I pointed out, in addition to 

 4          improving our systems, which is an IT system, 

 5          and some proofing and processes there, 

 6          there's also the FTE, the in-office expense, 

 7          which is not something that's reimbursed by 

 8          the federal government.  And based on our 

 9          projections -- and as you see, now that we 

10          are prepared to put out a proposal as to how 

11          we would roll this out, really the expense 

12          now is for people in our offices.  Because it 

13          does require individuals to come into an 

14          office for an in-office visit in order to 

15          secure a REAL ID-compliant document.  

16                 The expense really on that is to be 

17          able to staff our offices in such a way that 

18          we can manage what we believe is the 

19          projected volume of people coming in, and at 

20          the same time be able to maintain our service 

21          levels.  Because I didn't want to have to be 

22          here next year telling you why our lines are 

23          back to three or four hours, so --

24                 SENATOR CROCI:  So you're saying it 


                                                                  191

 1          was because DHS in Washington didn't produce 

 2          clear guidelines that New York wasn't 

 3          compliant.  But 49 -- until 2015, when 

 4          New York finally requested a waiver, we were 

 5          one of three jurisdictions and one of one 

 6          state who had not been compliant.  All of the 

 7          other states seemed to have been getting 

 8          clear enough guidance from the federal 

 9          government in order to implement this.  We 

10          were one of three:  New York State, Guam and 

11          American Samoa.  

12                 Now, I can understand why there may 

13          not a sense of urgency for those two 

14          jurisdictions.  But for the Empire State, the 

15          site of the 9/11 attacks, why were we not 

16          able to decipher the same clear guidance that 

17          49 other states did?

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, 

19          it's a little bit complicated, Senator.  But 

20          I would say that some of those states that 

21          were on the extension or even the compliant 

22          list ironically had statutes on the books 

23          that kept them from being compliant.  So it 

24          was a little odd how that listing actually 


                                                                  192

 1          was --

 2                 SENATOR CROCI:  Which ones are we 

 3          referring to?

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I can get 

 5          you that list --

 6                 SENATOR CROCI:  Florida or Georgia?  

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I'm not 

 8          sure which ones were.  But there were some 

 9          states that had received either compliant or 

10          were in the extension bucket that really we 

11          were much further ahead, when you look at our 

12          overall license processes and how stringent 

13          we are as to how we do that.

14                 So we understand certainly the 

15          concern.  And, you know, as soon as we asked 

16          for the waiver -- or the extension, really -- 

17          it was granted.  I think the federal 

18          government is certainly aware and 

19          acknowledges the very strict guidelines that 

20          we go through on a regular basis here in 

21          New York.  We do have one of the strictest 

22          license processes in the country.  

23                 But it is -- the REAL ID Act is also a 

24          very technical, complicated series of things 


                                                                  193

 1          that we have to go through, and we have been 

 2          working through that and have provided a plan 

 3          to them that has allowed us to be on 

 4          extension now and waiting for full 

 5          compliance.  

 6                 SENATOR CROCI:  Thank you.  So the 

 7          money that we received from the federal 

 8          government for compliance, what was that used 

 9          for?  

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It was 

11          used for various things in order to be able 

12          to have our process deemed compliant.  Some 

13          of it had to do with the way we display 

14          addresses, how we display names on the 

15          licenses.  It was for IT changes.

16                 SENATOR CROCI:  How much did we 

17          receive?

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I can get 

19          that to you.  I think it was the realm of 

20          $7 million over several years.

21                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  So what the 

22          Governor is proposing now is a three-tiered 

23          system, correct?  

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 


                                                                  194

 1          correct.

 2                 SENATOR CROCI:  What's the difference 

 3          between the documentation required and the 

 4          verification between a standard license and a 

 5          REAL ID license, just so everybody 

 6          understands?  

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I will 

 8          try to do that, will try to do it as simply 

 9          as possible.

10                 We are proposing three documents.  The 

11          EDL, which many of you are familiar with and 

12          has been actually REAL ID-compliant since 

13          2008, we will continue to offer that as a 

14          document.  Again, that has -- besides being 

15          REAL ID-compliant, it also allows you the 

16          ability to get back and forth across the 

17          border with Canada, for example, so it has an 

18          additional functionality.  

19                 We will be offering the REAL 

20          ID-compliant document which will be in many 

21          ways our -- what we call our default 

22          document, and that will enable anyone to get 

23          in and out of federal facilities, it will 

24          enable one to fly.  


                                                                  195

 1                 And then the third document will be 

 2          marked "Not for Federal Purpose" document, 

 3          and that will be provided to -- you know, as 

 4          I said, I have family members who said, Hey, 

 5          we're 78, we don't want to have to go into an 

 6          office and get one of these fancy new 

 7          licenses.  Those people can opt for a "not 

 8          for Federal Purpose" document.  Someone that 

 9          cannot necessarily meet the standards for the 

10          REAL ID or the EDL would also be eligible for 

11          the "Not for Federal" document.  And we 

12          wanted to make sure that we offered a 

13          document that would enable everyone to be 

14          able to continue to drive that would be 

15          otherwise eligible to drive.

16                 SENATOR CROCI:  You mentioned Canada.  

17          So in awarding some of the contracts to 

18          produce the new driver's license, the 

19          Governor awarded CBN Secure Technologies, a 

20          Canadian company, a contract for 

21          $88.5 million to produce licenses made of 

22          polycarbonate.  This was deemed by the 

23          Comptroller to be 40 percent above the lowest 

24          bidder.  Can you explain why it was awarded?  


                                                                  196

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure, a 

 2          couple of things with that.  Actually, it's a 

 3          Virginia company.  And they do produce the 

 4          licenses here in the State of New York.  We 

 5          did not have any New York companies bidding 

 6          on the contract.  And again, as a result of 

 7          our requirements to have a very strict, 

 8          fraudulent-free document, we felt the 

 9          additional security features that CBN was 

10          able to provide to us made the value that we 

11          were paying worth it.

12                 SENATOR CROCI:  Okay.  And with regard 

13          to these three classes of licenses, why would 

14          DMV need to continue to offer just a standard 

15          driver's license?  And what populations 

16          wouldn't be able to obtain a REAL ID?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  A 

18          couple of things.  We want to make sure that 

19          everyone has an ability to drive if they 

20          otherwise can meet our identification and our 

21          testing requirements.  

22                 To be eligible for the EDL, you have 

23          to be a U.S. citizen.  For the REAL ID, you 

24          have to be a citizen or legally present.  


                                                                  197

 1          There is a small body of people that are 

 2          otherwise eligible, currently, for the 

 3          New York State license that in addition to 

 4          making sure we wanted to be able to offer 

 5          others, if they didn't want to pay the 

 6          additional $5 --

 7                 SENATOR CROCI:  Well, why should they 

 8          have to pay the additional $5 if New York has 

 9          been dragging its feet with compliance?  I 

10          don't see why that fee should be passed on to 

11          our residents.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Well, the 

13          "Not for Federal Purpose" ID will not carry 

14          the additional $5, it will only be the REAL 

15          ID-compliant documents that will carry the 

16          additional 5.  

17                 And as we've gone through the budget 

18          process, we had hoped to be able to absorb 

19          that cost into our budget, but as budget 

20          discussions proceeded this year, it became 

21          apparent that we could not.  And we thought 

22          that a $5 cost over an eight-year license was 

23          a modest cost to allow us to be able to make 

24          sure we were compliant and make sure that our 


                                                                  198

 1          citizens here in New York could get into 

 2          federal facilities and fly.

 3                 SENATOR CROCI:  So the $5 cost being 

 4          passed on to our residents to be compliant 

 5          with federal law is because we're doing it 

 6          this year and because for the past seven 

 7          budget cycles we sought not to address it.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I don't 

 9          think that's the case, sir.  Because I think 

10          the situation would still be, again, the 

11          significant portion of this budget is a 

12          result of the FTEs that we have to have in 

13          our offices to be able to process all the 

14          individuals coming in.  So I don't believe it 

15          is a result of just the timing on this.

16                 SENATOR CROCI:  But for seven years, 

17          we could have been issuing renewed licenses 

18          that were compliant.  And now we're going to 

19          a three-tiered system, which many other 

20          states have found a way to comply with a 

21          single license.  Which I think you will agree 

22          was the spirit of the law when passed by 

23          Congress, when recommended by the 9/11 

24          Commission, was that there would be a single 


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 1          system in which an individual given that kind 

 2          of a government ID could be assured, as could 

 3          authorities, that there was verification of 

 4          every document that went into issuing that 

 5          license.  

 6                 So what you're telling me is in our 

 7          new three-tiered system that's being proposed 

 8          in this budget, there will be individuals who 

 9          will be getting a driver's license that will 

10          not be REAL ID-compliant, and we will have no 

11          way of verifying if the documents they 

12          provided to get that license are true.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  No, I 

14          disagree with that.  All of the documents 

15          that are even being provided for the third 

16          document, the "Not for Federal ID Purpose," 

17          still are going to meet our stringent 

18          identification requirements that we have 

19          today.

20                 SENATOR CROCI:  Well, what does that 

21          mean, ma'am?  Because that means if it's a 

22          birth certificate, you have to go back to the 

23          issuing clerk who issued that birth 

24          certificate to verify it was issued in that 


                                                                  200

 1          jurisdiction.  You're saying that's going to 

 2          occur even for the third class?

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, 

 4          for the "Not for Federal Purpose," that 

 5          license -- you will get a license as you get 

 6          that today as long as you can meet those 

 7          requirements.  

 8                 And again, the difference is that "Not 

 9          for Federal Purpose" document, because it 

10          does not have the additional residency 

11          requirements and some of the other 

12          verifications that the REAL ID document 

13          requires, as deemed by the federal law, those 

14          people with a "Not for Federal Purpose" 

15          document, unless they have a passport, for 

16          example, the difference that they will have 

17          as they go into an airport or a federal 

18          building, they will have to go through 

19          secondary screening.  

20                 But from a confidence perspective from 

21          New York State, those people that are getting 

22          the "Not for Federal Purpose" document will 

23          be vetted as we vet people today, which is a 

24          very stringent identification process.  


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 1                 SENATOR CROCI:  Again, ma'am, my -- 

 2          and I'm out of time.  My frustration is 

 3          certainly not with you or the commissioner, 

 4          but with the fact that this could have been 

 5          addressed in seven other budget cycles, and 

 6          now it seems to me this cost is going to be 

 7          passed on to the residents of this state who, 

 8          through no fault of their own, are going 

 9          about their business and getting their 

10          license, not recognizing that it's not 

11          federal compliant, and they're going to get 

12          on an airplane -- our local paper, Newsday, 

13          and the reporter who covers this did an 

14          excellent job of covering what this would 

15          mean.  And if you go into any of the 

16          airports, you see the signs that say "You're 

17          not going to be able to board with your ID."

18                 I'm very frustrated that this is still 

19          ongoing and we're still not compliant, and I 

20          hope that we can expeditiously clean this up, 

21          because it's been a mess.

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

23          Understood, Senator.  And just so we're 

24          clear, though, as long as we -- in our 


                                                                  202

 1          current status, between now and the time of 

 2          being fully compliant, all of New York 

 3          licenses will still get you on a plane 

 4          through October of 2020.  So I just want to 

 5          make sure -- I know there's been a lot of 

 6          confusion out there --

 7                 SENATOR CROCI:  Provided that federal 

 8          waiver remains in place.

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 

10          correct.  But I have no reason to believe 

11          that that will be anything other than 

12          extended or us receiving a full compliance 

13          determination shortly.

14                 SENATOR CROCI:  Well, I very much 

15          appreciate your testimony here today.  Thank 

16          you, ma'am.

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank 

18          you.  

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

20                 Assemblyman Cusick.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Thank you, 

22          Mr. Chairman.  

23                 Commissioner, thank you.  Thank you 

24          for coming here today.  


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 1                 I just have a quick question.  I'm 

 2          going to put on my Election Law chairman hat 

 3          here.  I see in your testimony you tout that 

 4          last year there were over 600,000 people who 

 5          registered to vote on the DMV website.  Is 

 6          that an increase from -- do you see more 

 7          people using it to register to vote?  

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes, the 

 9          short answer.  Yes.  And we had such a large 

10          volume, in fact, during the primary year this 

11          year, in addition to the myDMV site, we were 

12          able to work with ITS and create an equally 

13          secure but basically stand-alone enrollment 

14          site to be able to accept applications that 

15          were forwarded on to the boards of election.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Well, that's -- 

17          you're segueing nicely into my next question.  

18                 Could you go through how it actually 

19          works, without getting into the real 

20          technicalities?  Because I know that in the 

21          budget proposal there's some language on 

22          doing similar things with other agencies.  I 

23          know that our house and the Senate have been 

24          looking at ideas to make it easier for people 


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 1          to register.  And it is easier for folks now 

 2          to go on a website and register to vote.  So 

 3          right now DMV is the only agency that does 

 4          this, so DMV is used as an example.  

 5                 So just quickly, I know -- I'm not 

 6          going to ask for technicalities, but for 

 7          folks that are listening, how would this 

 8          work?  

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  

10          I'm glad it's not the technical part, because 

11          I'd have to defer to someone else.

12                 And it used to be where you had to 

13          create a myDMV account, which there's various 

14          levels of information that we ask for so that 

15          we can validate your identity.  We basically 

16          took that and just mirrored it in a 

17          stand-alone web service.  So there's certain 

18          information that an applicant would go to 

19          fill in that we ping against our DMV database 

20          so that we can verify the person actually 

21          trying to sign up is the person they say that 

22          they are.  

23                 They would fill out the application, 

24          and then that electronic application -- and I 


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 1          want to again emphasize it's an application, 

 2          which what we do is send it on to the boards 

 3          of election, and then it's the boards of 

 4          election that would actually register the 

 5          voters.

 6                 That's in essence what it is.  And 

 7          it's a pretty quick fill-in-the-box, there's 

 8          a ping in the background to make sure that 

 9          you are who you say.  And once we can do that 

10          and you check the box that says I am who I 

11          am, with some other validations and 

12          authorizations, it goes off electronically to 

13          the boards of election.

14                 In regard to the proposal, you 

15          mentioned the Governor's proposal, we are 

16          working through that and we will be working 

17          with the Board of Elections, and then I would 

18          guess other agencies where this may be rolled 

19          out to, depending on how the legislation 

20          comes through.  But we certainly stand ready, 

21          willing and able to implement anything that's 

22          passed.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  That's great.  

24          And we had a hearing at the end of last year 


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 1          on the Election Law with cybersecurity when 

 2          it comes to -- and the question I have for 

 3          you, were there any indications that people 

 4          were trying to corrupt the DMV website or 

 5          anything like that?  Because specifically 

 6          with now using it for registering to vote, 

 7          we're looking at possible voter fraud or 

 8          registering, like you said, people who are 

 9          not the person they are making themselves out 

10          to be, trying to register to vote.  Were 

11          there any indications of anybody trying to 

12          corrupt the website?

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  A very 

14          timely question.  And no, there is none.  I 

15          would certainly defer to ITS when it comes to 

16          the cybersecurity piece, because they're the 

17          ones that actually take care of that from the 

18          site.  But no, we had no indication that 

19          there was any problem with hacking or 

20          cybersecurity.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay.  Thank you, 

22          Commissioner.  

23                 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.


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 1                 Senator?  

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 3          much.  Welcome.  We're so happy to have you 

 4          here today.  And thank you for your 

 5          service to the people of New York.  And 

 6          obviously the DMV is a very vital agency 

 7          that people sometimes are very happy with 

 8          and sometimes get very frustrated with.  

 9          So thank you for everything you do.

10                 But I did want to follow up on the 

11          questions regarding the REAL ID program, 

12          because didn't the DMV say that it would 

13          issue REAL ID documents at the same cost as 

14          regular licenses?

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That was 

16          a bit ago when we submitted our proposal to 

17          DHS and we announced what we intended our 

18          program to be.

19                 We had hoped that we would be able to 

20          absorb it within our budget.  And as we went 

21          through discussions, through the fall and 

22          into -- before the Executive Budget was 

23          proposed, it became apparent that we could 

24          not.  


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 1                 And trying to balance all things being 

 2          considered, we had hoped that the Legislature 

 3          will agree that a $5 fee -- and that's a $5 

 4          additional fee for an eight-year license, so 

 5          it's really less than a dollar a year that 

 6          would be imposed for this -- would be 

 7          something that would be able to be supported 

 8          so that we could get this program implemented 

 9          starting October of '17.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

11                 I do think that a lot of people in 

12          this state feel like they're taxed and fee'd 

13          to death already.  And I do have the press 

14          release when you made the announcement that 

15          said that there would not be an additional 

16          cost.  You've kind of referenced it, but you 

17          haven't really, and I just wanted to ask 

18          directly.  Has the federal government 

19          approved New York's plan to adopt the REAL ID 

20          licenses?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It has 

22          put us on extension.  So the easy answer is 

23          no, it's not a full compliance determination.  

24                 And the way they handle this is right 


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 1          now, actually if you go to their website, 

 2          there's states that are compliant, there's 

 3          states that are on extension, there's states 

 4          that are on limited extension, and there's 

 5          states that are noncompliant.  We are in the 

 6          bucket that are on extension.  That extension 

 7          extends through October of '17.  What DHS has 

 8          said to not only us but to all the other 

 9          states -- my understanding is all the other 

10          states that are in the extension budget -- as 

11          long as you continue to move towards full 

12          compliance, we will continue to keep you on 

13          extension.  And there has been no indication 

14          with our conversations on how we've been 

15          moving forward with this that they would do 

16          anything other than keep us on extension or 

17          deem us compliant.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And when do you 

19          think that full compliance will occur?  

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  We would 

21          hope when we issue our first document.  I 

22          think that DHS has taken the approach so far 

23          that they want to see a document actually 

24          produced, and then they will make a 


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 1          determination.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And when will that 

 3          be?  

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  If 

 5          everything goes well and this budget is 

 6          supported and passed, we hope it would be 

 7          fall, and hopefully early October.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 9                 Obviously this has an impact on our 

10          local county clerks, who do a great job.  You 

11          said you've been in discussions with them.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  With the 

13          county clerks?  The county clerks are 

14          certainly aware of this program.  It is a 

15          situation -- and again, I'm sure many of you 

16          know that our relationship with the county 

17          clerks is that we have a revenue-sharing 

18          agreement with them in regard to transactions 

19          that are done in their offices.  

20                 As a result of -- you know, in the 

21          event that this budget is passed, in addition 

22          to what we are seeing as just the 

23          natural-occurring license renewal volumes 

24          returning next year, the revenue-sharing 


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 1          piece for the county clerks, which was about 

 2          $44 million or $45 million this year, will 

 3          actually extend to $55 million next year in 

 4          the event that this budget is actually 

 5          passed.

 6                 Their sharing piece, just if we were 

 7          to consider the increased license renewal 

 8          volumes alone, will go to almost $50 million 

 9          next year, just with that piece.  But with 

10          the additional legislative increases that are 

11          in the budget now, that piece would go to 

12          almost $55 million.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I think there's a 

14          bit of concern out there regarding being 

15          overwhelmed by people wanting to renew their 

16          licenses and possibly having extensive 

17          delays.  What would you recommend to do to 

18          address those types of situations?

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  In 

20          general, or with the county clerks?

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  With the clerks.

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  With the 

23          clerks, sure.  I mean -- and again, while 

24          they are our agents, we certainly do not tell 


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 1          them how to manage their offices.  As with 

 2          our offices and with budget situations, 

 3          sometimes we staff up and sometimes we staff 

 4          down, depending on where we are.  And that's 

 5          something that we go through certainly on a 

 6          four-to-eight-year cycle because of what we 

 7          know about the license renewal volumes.  

 8                 We certainly will continue to speak 

 9          with them.  But again, I just want to be 

10          clear that the revenue that they will be 

11          receiving will be a significant increase 

12          during this time period also.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Do you think people 

14          will be able to make reservations at the 

15          local offices, at least some of them?

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, we 

17          don't control what the county clerks do in 

18          regard to reservations.  Certainly at our 

19          state-operated offices we do have reservation 

20          systems available.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

22                 Switching gears a little bit, although 

23          the Legislature and the Governor have not 

24          negotiated a final ride-sharing bill, could 


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 1          you give me what DMV's vision would be of a 

 2          statewide ride-sharing program?

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  It 

 4          is my understanding, as the Executive has 

 5          envisioned it, that we would be the point 

 6          agency for this.  We would be in charge of 

 7          providing the application that was necessary 

 8          for the ride-sharing companies to apply for 

 9          approval to operate in the area outside of 

10          New York City.  We would review that.  

11                 In the next -- in the 30 days 

12          immediately subsequent to the passing of the 

13          legislation, we would be preparing 

14          regulations to advise the companies on the 

15          method by which they would need to vet their 

16          drivers, and then provide us information that 

17          they had vetted those drivers.  

18                 In addition to that, it would be the 

19          agency's role and responsibility to audit as 

20          necessary and also to field complaints on 

21          that.  

22                 And as you can see, I believe the 

23          proposal is for an additional five FTE for 

24          the budget for DMV, so that we can secure the 


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 1          additional resources to make sure that we can 

 2          roll this out in the most efficient way we 

 3          can.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 5                 So as you point out, there's -- so the 

 6          Executive Budget provides $34.24 million for 

 7          DMV, which includes a $15.8 million or 

 8          4.8 percent increase over this past fiscal 

 9          year.  Is that strictly for REAL ID, or is it 

10          for other tasks?  

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  No, it's 

12          for everything.  The $16 million really -- 

13          very quickly, high level, about $11 million 

14          of that is for the additional 107 FTE.  Then 

15          it breaks down to about -- there's another 

16          3 million or so for REAL ID and the increased 

17          license renewal volume having to do with 

18          documents, photocopying, IT costs and 

19          postage.  And then there's about $520,000 for 

20          contract increases, about $950,000 for 

21          kiosks, additional kiosks.  And I believe 

22          there was another $500,000 for something 

23          that's escaping me.  But that's at high 

24          level.


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 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.  

 2                 Chairman?  

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 4                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

 5          Helene Weinstein.  

 6                 And next, Assemblyman Buchwald.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  Thank you, 

 8          Mr. Chairman.  

 9                 And thank you, Deputy Commissioner, 

10          for your time this afternoon --

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Mic.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  Thank you, 

13          Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Deputy 

14          Commissioner --

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I could 

16          hear you fine.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  I appreciate 

18          that, thank you.  But good for the folks at 

19          home too.  

20                 Railroad crossings continue to be a 

21          significant concern for many New Yorkers.  

22          The Governor has rightly prioritized trying 

23          to eliminate at-grade railroad crossings 

24          around the state.  But there's one area 


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 1          that's very specifically under your 

 2          department's purview, which is the points 

 3          assigned for violations at railroad 

 4          crossings.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Correct.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  Right now 

 7          3 points are assigned, which is the same 

 8          level of infraction as speeding from one to 

 9          10 miles per hour over the speed limit.  

10                 It's my understanding, if you were to 

11          talk with some of your colleagues in 

12          government who deal with transportation -- 

13          for example, the MTA -- they would like to 

14          see an increase in that point value.  I 

15          certainly would like to see it, as someone 

16          who represents a district that contains many 

17          railroad grade crossings.  

18                 And my sense of things is that given 

19          that the state, both through its 

20          infrastructure investments and through its 

21          educational campaigns done, say, through the 

22          MTA, are trying to convey to members of the 

23          public how serious traffic infractions can be 

24          when they're at railroad crossings.  I would 


                                                                  217

 1          be very interested in hearing your thoughts 

 2          on whether the DMV is considering increasing 

 3          that point threshold.

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I think 

 5          the good news is you are omniscient, and we 

 6          did that in August of last year.  That's 

 7          what I want to check to see.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  I'm going to 

 9          appreciate that, especially since it stands 

10          in contrast to the department's response to 

11          my request about a year prior.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  In August 

13          of 2016, we amended our regs to increase the 

14          number of points from 3 to 5.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  That's 

16          fantastic.  I would then ask humbly if you 

17          could update your website to also reflect 

18          that.

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  You 

20          absolutely can.  It will be done before I get 

21          back, I'm guessing.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  But also I 

23          think some sort of public notification, 

24          because I do think this is something that -- 


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 1          it's not as much about punishing misdeeds as 

 2          it is trying to prevent those infractions in 

 3          the first place.

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

 5          Absolutely.  And one of the hats that I very 

 6          happily wear is being the current chair of 

 7          the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.  So 

 8          as visual as the Department of Motor Vehicles 

 9          is, I think saving lives certainly is my main 

10          priority.  And through the Governor's Traffic 

11          Safety Committee, we work with Operation 

12          Lifesaver and various others to try to do 

13          grants for education.  Because again, it's 

14          very difficult to change behavior.  I think 

15          Commissioner Driscoll pointed that out 

16          several times when they were talking about 

17          the work zone safety cameras.  And it really 

18          is a combination of engineering, education, 

19          and enforcement that actually gets us to 

20          change those behaviors.

21                 So we are absolutely with you on that, 

22          Assemblyman, and we will continue to fund 

23          those efforts to the extent we can through 

24          grants.  And we'll very quickly update our 


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 1          website to reflect what we did back in 

 2          August.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  Thank you very 

 4          much.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank 

 6          you.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD:  And obviously 

 8          there are lots of other questions related to 

 9          the budget, but I'll let my colleagues get on 

10          to those.  So thank you.

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank you 

12          so much.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

15                 Senator Dilan.

16                 SENATOR DILAN:  Good afternoon.

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Good 

18          afternoon, Senator.

19                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.  

20                 In your testimony you mention your 

21          enforcement efforts.  Can you tell us, have 

22          these enforcement efforts generated any 

23          revenues, and how were they used?

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  The 


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 1          Operation Prevent ones with the underage 

 2          drinking?  Is that the ones you're talking 

 3          about?  

 4                 SENATOR DILAN:  Yes.  And the sweeps 

 5          and fraudulent licenses.  

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah, 

 7          sure.  We work very closely with the State 

 8          Liquor Authority as well as state and local 

 9          law enforcement to identify areas that are 

10          concerns.  And often this time of year it 

11          tends to be around college campuses.  So they 

12          do go and, as we do those sweeps, there are 

13          administrative procedures that we take in 

14          regard to suspending licenses.  

15                 And then depending on who actually 

16          issues the tickets, there is some revenue.  I 

17          can track that down for you.  I'm not exactly 

18          sure what bucket that goes into.

19                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay.  Thank you.

20                 And sticking with enforcement, I don't 

21          know how you may be involved with Leandra's 

22          Law.  Can you give us any update on that?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Leandra's 

24          Law?


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 1                 SENATOR DILAN:  Yes.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

 3          Certainly.  We continue -- again, this is 

 4          another one through the Governor's Traffic 

 5          Safety Committee.  We work with all of our 

 6          safety partners throughout the state on that, 

 7          in trying to find ways to continue to use 

 8          that law and enforce it in a way that starts 

 9          to make a meaningful difference.  So we 

10          continue to work with the interlock program.  

11          We work very closely with DCJS, Department of 

12          Probation, in regard to ensuring as high a 

13          compliance as we can get with the interlock 

14          piece.

15                 Certainly the legislation that was 

16          passed in regard to more significant 

17          penalties, the courts are continuing to 

18          process and certainly prosecute those.  

19                 And what we are finding -- and again, 

20          it's hard to do a definite correlation 

21          between Leandra's Law and where we are.  What 

22          we are finding, though, in regard to our 

23          crash fatality statistics, alcohol is 

24          becoming less of a factor and drug-impaired 


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 1          is becoming a larger factor.  

 2                 So we are starting to affect I think 

 3          in a positive way the alcohol piece and I 

 4          think also, as I pointed out in our 

 5          testimony, to try to address the 

 6          drug-impaired piece.  We have got a very 

 7          active drug recognition expert training 

 8          program here in the state that really is a 

 9          model nationally on how we are doing that to 

10          again try to combat that impaired piece also.

11                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.

12                 With respect to the REAL ID -- 

13          hopefully a quick answer -- one, how are we 

14          out of compliance with what the federal 

15          government is expecting?  And technically, 

16          isn't our enhanced driver's license then 

17          replacing or -- what's the comparison between 

18          the REAL ID and the current enhanced, and how 

19          are we out of compliance.

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

21          Certainly.  The proposal right now is not to 

22          replace the EDL.  We would continue to 

23          provide that.  Again, we do -- there's 

24          probably about 800,000 people that have 


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 1          purchased the EDL.  And again, the added 

 2          functionality is it can be used at the 

 3          borders, to be able to cross the borders.  So 

 4          we do not have a plan currently to replace 

 5          that.  

 6                 And in regard to how we are out of 

 7          compliance now, it's very technical.  We can 

 8          continue to have a conversation offline on 

 9          it.  But we believe we have a plan with ITS, 

10          as well as what we've proposed to the federal 

11          government, that will have us fully 

12          compliant.

13                 SENATOR DILAN:  But you can't explain 

14          how we are out of compliance.  Or you'll give 

15          us that information?  

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It has to 

17          do with -- really with a lot of security 

18          things that I'd rather not have a public 

19          conversation about.

20                 SENATOR DILAN:  With respect then to 

21          ride-share, I understand that you're getting 

22          107 new FTEs.  Five of them will be for the 

23          ride-share component.  Exactly what will 

24          these five people be doing?  And is five 


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 1          sufficient to really operate that operation?  

 2                 And also, how long will it take you to 

 3          put together your regulations?  And let me 

 4          just add another part to that, is I agree 

 5          with Senator Robach with respect to the ADA 

 6          compliance.  So with your regulations 

 7          hopefully something can be written at the 

 8          very beginning with respect to that, safety 

 9          issues, and insurance.  

10                 So if you could discuss that.  Thank 

11          you.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  

13          Great questions.  

14                 Again, ride-sharing in upstate is a 

15          new program.  We believe the five FTEs that 

16          are being allocated in this particular budget 

17          will be there to help draft, review the 

18          applications themselves, as well as to be 

19          there to field complaints that will start, as 

20          well as the audit procedure.  

21                 We at DMV, we have a very robust 

22          investigative group, our Division of Field 

23          Investigation, so we believe we will be able 

24          to absorb the other complaint investigation 


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 1          audit piece within what we have in connection 

 2          with the five that we are given.  

 3                 In regard to time frame, I believe the 

 4          legislation, at least in the Executive 

 5          proposal, requires us within the first 30 

 6          days after the legislation is imposed to have 

 7          at least the background regulations done.  So 

 8          we certainly will comply with that.  And then 

 9          I believe it's a 90-day, I think, for the 

10          rest of the regs.  

11                 So we will certainly -- we're ready, 

12          willing and able to meet those legislative 

13          requirements.

14                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

16                 Chairman?

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, it's back to 

19          us.  So Senator Savino.

20                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

21          Young.  

22                 Thank you, Commissioner.  I just have 

23          a question.  I want to talk a bit about the 

24          expansion of ride-sharing upstate.  I know 


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 1          you've covered a lot of it.  

 2                 So the DMV would be responsible for, 

 3          tasked with determining the method in which 

 4          background checks are conducted.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Correct.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But it would be the 

 7          transportation networks that would do the 

 8          background checks?

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 

10          correct.

11                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Is there any reason 

12          why the DMV wouldn't do them?  

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Quite 

14          frankly, we have no idea what we'd be doing 

15          with the background check.  It really 

16          could -- this is really more of a law 

17          enforcement group.  We certainly intended, 

18          when we saw this legislation, part of what we 

19          would be doing in the first 30 days 

20          after this was passed would be consulting 

21          very strongly and regularly with the Division 

22          of Criminal Justice Services, who are -- who 

23          is the group that's familiar with background 

24          checks.  


                                                                  227

 1                 So -- and I do believe that in several 

 2          other states there is a methodology set up 

 3          within those states where it is not the 

 4          particular state agency that's overseeing it 

 5          that's done it, but there is requirements set 

 6          forth to the companies on how to do it, and 

 7          then they have to meet those certifications 

 8          and just certify to us that it's been 

 9          completed.

10                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Because I believe in 

11          the Article VII language it says that the DMV 

12          will approve -- let me see.  The method must 

13          be approved by the Department of Motor 

14          Vehicles.  So under what criteria would you 

15          determine that it's approved?

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That's a 

17          good question.  And I think that's what we're 

18          going to have to be, you know, dealing with 

19          as we create the regulations within the first 

20          30 days of the legislation being passed.  

21                 I believe it would be we would set the 

22          methodology as to what needed to be done, and 

23          then we will have to work through on the regs 

24          what proof we will be asking for from the 


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 1          companies to give us a level of comfort that 

 2          that methodology was met.

 3                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I know there's also 

 4          been some question about whether or not 

 5          fingerprinting should be a requirement.  As 

 6          you know, in the City of New York the 

 7          ride-sharing programs are regulated by the 

 8          TLC, and so fingerprinting is done through 

 9          them, as it's a requirement of operation in 

10          the City of New York.  

11                 Is there any reason why we should 

12          expect that it wouldn't be part of any of the 

13          TNCs that you -- and the background checks 

14          that you would approve?  

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah, I 

16          think right now it's just a little premature.  

17          I don't know that we can say we're going to 

18          follow that exact same model.  

19                 Again, I think that model was 

20          determined after negotiation and some MOUs 

21          and some legal proceedings that are down 

22          there.

23                 I certainly know that other 

24          ride-sharing companies operating in other 


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 1          states do not necessarily operate that same 

 2          way.  I'm not saying we won't, I'm just 

 3          saying at this point I think it's just a 

 4          little premature, that we will be looking 

 5          into all of that when we determine, you know, 

 6          within that first 30 days what that 

 7          methodology will be.  And it will be 

 8          certainly in conjunction with our sister 

 9          agencies that have experience in this area.

10                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I just think it's 

11          important that -- you know, by the way, other 

12          states do things differently than New York --

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

14          Absolutely.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  -- but we like to 

16          consider ourselves a leader in many areas.  

17          And I think it's important that there be 

18          consistency across the industry.  You know, I 

19          understand the importance of ride-sharing.  I 

20          understand how there are parts of upstate 

21          that are transportation deserts, and we do 

22          need to find a way to expand ride-sharing 

23          upstate.  

24                 But I also, you know, have said this 


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 1          many times, a taxi is a taxi.  If you pick 

 2          people up and drive them around and you 

 3          charge them money, you're a taxi.  And I 

 4          think we should be concerned about having 

 5          this hodgepodge of an approach towards, you 

 6          know, what is essentially the transportation 

 7          industry.  We don't want to have a scenario 

 8          where we have a highly regulated taxi 

 9          industry of black cars and base cars and 

10          yellow cars or whatever they happen to be in 

11          upstate New York, and then you have another 

12          one that has some special status that 

13          doesn't seem to -- they don't seem to jibe.  

14                 And most importantly, we want to make 

15          sure that the people that are picked up, 

16          driven around, and charged money are 

17          protected at every step of the process.

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

19          Absolutely.  

20                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So I would hope that 

21          that be part of the discussion and that we 

22          make sure that whoever is in those cars 

23          driving those people around are vetted, and 

24          we know who they are, and that they are in 


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 1          fact safe to pick people up and drive them 

 2          around.  

 3                 (Applause from the audience.)

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I 

 5          absolutely agree with you, Senator.  

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thanks.

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 9                 Senator?  

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

11                 Our next speaker is Senator Liz 

12          Krueger.

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Good afternoon.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  How are 

15          you?

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Fine, thank you.

17                 So when Senator Croci was asking you 

18          questions about the airports and the REAL ID, 

19          he said that there were posters up that 

20          apparently were providing incorrect 

21          information, based on your answer that 

22          because of the waiver, we are okay through 

23          2020?  

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.  I 


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 1          think what the posters -- and I actually 

 2          haven't been able to fly to see one.  I think 

 3          the posters say starting on January 1st of 

 4          2018, REAL ID will be starting to be enforced 

 5          here at the airport, and your state either 

 6          needs to be on extension or compliant if we 

 7          are going to honor your state driver license.

 8                 So in our particular case, we are 

 9          good.  Our state driver license will continue 

10          to be honored at airports and in federal 

11          buildings until October of 2020.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So are these FAA 

13          federal posters that are going up?

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah, 

15          it's -- I believe it's TSA is doing it.  

16          Because again, they are trying to start their 

17          education efforts about REAL ID.  You know, 

18          as the Senator pointed out, this has been a 

19          program that's been long coming with a lot of 

20          fits and starts.  And I think they're trying 

21          to underscore we are really doing it this 

22          time.

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So it's been 

24          confusing enough recently at airports for 


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 1          people.  Is there a way for the State of 

 2          New York to put up its own posters right next 

 3          door to those posters saying "And we're okay 

 4          here in New York State till 2020, thank you."

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  We can 

 6          ask, but my guess would be that there's 

 7          different authorities that run, you know, the 

 8          airport, and I don't know whether the TSA 

 9          people would want us to be confused.

10                 But we certainly will be engaging in 

11          educational efforts through the department as 

12          soon as we hopefully get approval for this 

13          legislation that will hopefully start to 

14          diffuse some of that confusion.  And we will 

15          certainly be as creative as we can to make 

16          sure that New Yorkers are assured that we're 

17          doing the best we can to make it as least 

18          disruptive for them.

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

20                 So DMV's primary role is making sure 

21          that we have, you know, safe drivers and do 

22          whatever we can to keep safe and decrease 

23          accidents on our roads.  In your testimony 

24          you talk about our having very good 


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 1          statistics, or statistics getting better.  

 2          But I was looking up that nationally, 2015 

 3          was the worst year in a decade for traffic 

 4          fatalities and traffic accidents.  Are we out 

 5          of the curve, we're just doing better?  

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  We are.  

 7          We are on the good side of that curve, I'm 

 8          happy to announce.  Yes, we're -- nationally, 

 9          they are forecasting anywheres -- I've seen 

10          numbers from 6 to 10 percent, depending on 

11          where you are and what type of crash you're 

12          involved with.  But here in New York, our 

13          preliminary numbers are not final yet, but it 

14          looks like we're going to be between 6 and 7 

15          percent down.  

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  That's terrific for 

17          New York.

18                 EX. DEP COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah.  

19          We're really pleased with that.  A lot of 

20          hard work has gone into that with all of our 

21          partners.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  There's also a study 

23          that was released, I think possibly today, by 

24          the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  And 


                                                                  235

 1          the big finding of their study was that 

 2          millennials -- they define that as 19 to 24.  

 3          I'm so far from that age I never know what 

 4          the definition is, but they are saying 19 to 

 5          24 -- that a full 88 percent of motorists 

 6          aged 19 to 24 have committed one of the 

 7          primary road sins in the last month:  

 8          violating the speed limit, blowing through 

 9          red lights, texting.  

10                 And perhaps most disturbing is that 

11          90 percent of these young drivers think that 

12          it's okay.  So it's both that they're doing 

13          it and they think it's fine.

14                 So what can we be doing to better 

15          educate our millennial and young drivers 

16          about the importance of road safety and that, 

17          you know, it's great to be a disrupter -- 

18          that's a term everybody likes to use these 

19          days -- but not actually if you're going to 

20          end up killing yourself or others?  

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Agreed.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I'm curious what you 

23          have found to be effective or what more we 

24          can be doing.


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 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah, 

 2          agreed.  And actually I have those 

 3          millennials at home that I fight with all the 

 4          time about being able to put the phone down 

 5          and no, you cannot multitask.  

 6                 But it's a battle.  And certainly one 

 7          of the things that we're trying to do, and 

 8          it's -- as I said before, and when it comes 

 9          to traffic safety and changing behavior, it's 

10          not any one thing, it really is a combination 

11          of engineering, education and enforcement.  

12                 But one of the pieces in our traffic 

13          safety bill is really to totally disallow the 

14          use of the mobile phone for anybody in a 

15          vehicle that's under the age of 18.  Those 

16          are our most vulnerable drivers.  They have 

17          the least experience out there.  And as you 

18          aptly pointed out, I think they're the ones 

19          that think they can do it all anyways.

20                 So that's a piece of it.  And we work 

21          with all of our traffic safety partners, not 

22          only state agencies but law enforcement, as 

23          well as some of our not-for-profit groups out 

24          there, to try to come up with new and 


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 1          innovative ways to address these people.  

 2                 So our communications group at the 

 3          Department of Motor Vehicles has gotten very 

 4          active, I would say, with Facebook and 

 5          Twitter.  But I just did a multigenerational 

 6          meeting, you know, last week that said that's 

 7          even passe.  So I'm not even sure what the 

 8          new one is yet, but our communications group 

 9          is there trying to figure out how we tap into 

10          that.  

11                 So it's a good question.  We continue 

12          to explore it.  We keep trying programs that 

13          are going to address it, and we'll try to be 

14          as vigilant as we can.  But we certainly 

15          understand the issue.

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So a few years ago 

17          there was back and forth about how you were 

18          implementing driver's tests.  I can't even 

19          remember which year it was and which proposal 

20          it was, but -- and there was some question 

21          about changing the protocols for new-driver 

22          training programs.  

23                 And I'm wondering whether the 

24          department is taking a look at the new 


                                                                  238

 1          research coming out that how you teach 

 2          millennials is actually very different than 

 3          how you taught people above the age of 50, 

 4          and that there's actually an entire different 

 5          model of what works in education for 

 6          millennials versus older people.  

 7                 So I guess the question is, can you 

 8          explore whether there's better models or more 

 9          effective models for educating the next 

10          generations of drivers coming up to know what 

11          the laws are?  

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

13          Absolutely.  I think it's a great point and, 

14          as I said, very timely for us because we just 

15          had this -- we had a very large management 

16          meeting where we had someone come in to speak 

17          to us about what is the difference between 

18          these generational groups and really what -- 

19          as you point out, they learn differently, 

20          they react differently, they expect different 

21          levels of appreciation, you know, certain 

22          things mean -- so yes, we are engaging -- 

23          very timely, we are engaging that and 

24          hopefully we'll be making those changes.


                                                                  239

 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 3                 We've been joined by Senator Brad 

 4          Hoylman, who would like to speak.

 5                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  Nice to 

 6          see you this afternoon.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Hi, 

 8          Senator.

 9                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  In my district there 

10          have been a number of high-profile cases over 

11          the last five years in Manhattan -- and I 

12          represent Times Square, Greenwich Village, 

13          over to the East side -- involving 

14          double-decker sightseeing tourist buses, a 

15          number of high-profile crashes.  A 

16          constituent I recently met with nearly lost 

17          his leg after being hit and dragged by a tour 

18          bus in Greenwich Village.  

19                 And I looked into the issue about 

20          double-decker sightseeing bus safety and 

21          found a troubling loophole that I wanted to 

22          share with you in state law that exempts 

23          double-decker sightseeing buses in New York 

24          City from the safety requirements in both the 


                                                                  240

 1          Vehicle and Traffic Law, Article 109A, and 

 2          Transportation Law, Article 7.  I was working 

 3          wondering if you had any awareness of that 

 4          loophole.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I do not, 

 6          senator.  And I was going to say my first 

 7          inkling was this is really probably something 

 8          in the DOT province, because of the bus 

 9          aspect.  But we'll certainly take it back and 

10          we will consult with DOT, investigate it, and 

11          certainly get back to you.

12                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Sure.  And just to 

13          follow up, the definition of "bus," for the 

14          purposes of the special licensing 

15          requirements for bus drivers in 19A of the 

16          law is drafted in such a way that it doesn't 

17          apply to New York City double-decker 

18          sightseeing buses due to their exemption from 

19          Article 7 of the Transportation Law.

20                 So Article 19A requirements don't 

21          apply to sightseeing bus operators or the 

22          drivers, and that results in a host of 

23          troubling implications, including things like 

24          securing drivers' employment records, 


                                                                  241

 1          requiring drivers to get biennial medical 

 2          examinations, and other aspects.

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yeah, our 

 4          normal 19A requirements, sure.

 5                 We will certainly talk to DOT, we'll 

 6          take a look at it, and circle back with you.

 7                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Great.  I'd love to 

 8          work with you on this issue on how we can 

 9          close the loophole.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Great.

11                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  You're 

13          welcome.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

16          much.

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank you 

18          all.  Have a good afternoon.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Appreciate you 

20          being here.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Veronica {sic} 

22          Hakim, interim executive director, 

23          Metropolitan Transportation Authority; 

24          Robert Foran, chief financial officer; 


                                                                  242

 1          Craig Stewart, senior director, capital 

 2          programs.  

 3                 Good afternoon.

 4                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Good 

 5          afternoon.

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Welcome.  I messed 

 7          up your name a little there, I think.

 8                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I knew 

 9          you were calling me.

10                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  I was close.

11                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Shall I 

12          begin?

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, go ahead.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes, you can begin.

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

16          you.  

17                 Good afternoon, Senator Young, 

18          Assemblyman Farrell, and other members of the 

19          Senate and the Assembly.  Thank you for your 

20          interest in the MTA's finances and for being 

21          here today.  I am Veronique Hakim.  I am the 

22          interim executive director of the 

23          Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  And 

24          since this is Day 15 of my tenure as such, 


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 1          I've asked Bob Foran, our CFO, and Craig 

 2          Stewart, our senior director of capital 

 3          programs, to join me in answering questions.  

 4                 First, I'm gratified to note that the 

 5          Governor's Executive Budget again proposes a 

 6          year-over-year increase in state assistance, 

 7          providing nearly $4.5 billion.  In the past 

 8          five Executive Budgets, state operating aid 

 9          to the MTA has increased by a total of 

10          $450 million.  The budget also continues to 

11          reflect the enacted commitment of 

12          $8.3 billion in state resources for the MTA's 

13          2015-'19 capital program, with a new 

14          $1.5 billion appropriation.  

15                 I expect that the coming year will be 

16          both a challenging and an exciting one for 

17          the MTA.  Challenging because we are dealing 

18          with the heaviest ridership we have 

19          experienced since just after World War 2.  

20          Exciting because we have plans to continue 

21          successful efforts in four areas -- first, to 

22          do everything necessary to assure safety as 

23          our first priority; second, to keep our 

24          operating costs down; third, to improve the 


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 1          daily experience of our 8.5 million daily 

 2          customers; and fourth, to renew, enhance and 

 3          expand the system through our capital 

 4          program.  

 5                 In the past seven years, we have cut 

 6          $1.6 billion out of our recurring annual 

 7          operating costs.  We will continue that 

 8          effort and by next year increase those annual 

 9          savings to $1.8 billion.  Like any business, 

10          some elements of our budget will grow.  But 

11          this cost-cutting rigor has enabled us to 

12          keep increases in our fares and tolls to a 

13          minimum.  The 2 percent per year increases 

14          that will take effect in March are the 

15          smallest in the past eight years, and less 

16          than the projected rate of inflation.  

17                 And I also believe this cost 

18          management, and our financial transparency, 

19          are essential to the MTA's credibility among 

20          its farepayers, taxpayers, and public 

21          policymakers like yourselves.  Our customers 

22          are your constituents, and the service we 

23          provide is absolutely essential.  So we aim 

24          to be the best stewards of public and 


                                                                  245

 1          farepayer funds that we can possibly be.  

 2                 Surely the MTA's biggest news of 2016 

 3          came when we opened service on the Second 

 4          Avenue Subway.  New Second Avenue riders 

 5          frequently tell us that the line has changed 

 6          their lives.  And in ways both large and 

 7          small, and oftentimes invisible to riders, we 

 8          will be working toward changing more riders' 

 9          lives in the coming year, and we'll do so in 

10          several ways:  By advancing important 

11          projects, including those funded by the 

12          2015-'19 capital program;  by improving the 

13          quality of our service; by continuing to 

14          improve our business practices; and by 

15          tackling the everyday work of keeping our 

16          infrastructure, including those 100-year-old 

17          portions of our subway system, in a state of 

18          good repair so as to ensure safe and reliable 

19          service.  

20                 I'd like to take a minute to list some 

21          select major projects because they're 

22          important and because we're making rapid 

23          progress on them.  

24                 In the area of safety, we recently 


                                                                  246

 1          launched the nation's first sleep apnea 

 2          screening program for our employees upon whom 

 3          the safety of our customers depends.  This 

 4          will include 20,000 of them -- our subway and 

 5          railroad operators, conductors, bus drivers 

 6          and others.  Those diagnosed will be required 

 7          to undergo and verify that they are receiving 

 8          treatment.  This is in the best interest of 

 9          our riders and our employees, because sleep 

10          apnea can affect quality of their lives.  

11                 The Long Island Railroad and 

12          Metro-North Railroad had record ridership 

13          last year.  We no longer refer to these 

14          systems as "commuter railroads" -- they have 

15          become too integral to their service areas, 

16          with new employment centers emerging and new 

17          travel patterns both for work and leisure. 

18          Instead, we are expanding and evolving their 

19          services to meet growing needs.  

20                 For example, Metro-North and Long 

21          Island riders now have a new e-TIX mobile 

22          ticketing app that has taken us from 

23          dependence on a ticket machine to a 

24          user-friendly, anywhere/anytime way to 


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 1          purchase tickets.  Already, more than 280,000 

 2          e-TIX accounts have been opened.  

 3                 Another user-friendly initiative is 

 4          our accelerated effort to install cashless 

 5          tolling at the MTA's bridges and tunnels.  In 

 6          little more than a year, we will have gone 

 7          from one open road tolling pilot project to 

 8          cashless tolling at all nine of our 

 9          facilities to be completed this fall. 

10          Meanwhile, new, more aggressive enforcement 

11          is identifying violators, and penalties are 

12          discouraging drivers from trying to avoid 

13          paying tolls.  

14                 Just weeks ago, we opened a new Staten 

15          Island Railway station at Arthur Kill.  That 

16          was the first new station to be opened on 

17          that system in more than 20 years.  

18                 Modernizing the Long Island Railroad 

19          facilities at Penn Station, Metro-North 

20          access to Penn Station, with four new 

21          stations in the Bronx, the complete 

22          renovation of dozens of stations across the 

23          subway and railroad systems, and many more 

24          projects -- even the next phase of Second 


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 1          Avenue -- are moving forward.  So too is the 

 2          introduction of a fare payment system to 

 3          replace the MetroCard beginning next year, 

 4          two years ahead of schedule.  And finally, 

 5          the Second Avenue line will continue to 

 6          reduce crowding and delays on the Lexington 

 7          Avenue line, very important.  

 8                 All of these initiatives and their 

 9          timetables reflect the change that 

10          Governor Cuomo has advocated in how the MTA 

11          does business.  And they also reflect the 

12          support you have given us in our capital 

13          programs.  So I thank you for that support 

14          and for your attention this afternoon, and 

15          we're happy to answer your questions.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

17          much.  

18                 Assemblyman Dinowitz, chair.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay, thank 

20          you.  Good afternoon.

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Good 

22          afternoon.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Good to see you 

24          again.


                                                                  249

 1           I have a whole bunch of questions, so I'll try 

 2  to make them short.  

 3                 You mentioned Penn Station access, and 

 4          I think that is very exciting.  It's 

 5          certainly going to be transformative for 

 6          parts of the Bronx, with the Co-Op City, 

 7          Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point 

 8          stations.  One of the concerns I have is 

 9          maybe a little longer term, and that is Penn 

10          Station access for the Hudson Line, which 

11          includes a station in Riverdale plus 

12          Westchester County.  Do you see that being on 

13          the horizon?

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I think 

15          the first thing that's on our horizon is the 

16          scope of the Penn Station Access Project as 

17          we've currently defined it in the Bronx.  In 

18          terms of other capacity improvements and 

19          other enhancements, that is a function of 

20          what our capital program funding would be 

21          able to provide.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  As you know, 

23          the Governor is proposing to cut $65 million 

24          from the annual General Fund transfer that is 


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 1          used to make up for the loss caused by 

 2          exemptions from the mobility tax.  And 

 3          although I'm sure one could say, well, there 

 4          might be other sources of revenue that may go 

 5          up this year, sometimes they can also go 

 6          down.  Any way you slice it, we're losing 

 7          $65 million, at least as proposed by 

 8          Governor Cuomo.

 9                 Would you anticipate that this loss of 

10          $65 million would result in any service cuts?

11                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  No, I 

12          would not.  The overall operating assistance 

13          has actually increased by $30 million.  Our 

14          financial plan, upon which the modest toll 

15          and fare increase that I referred to was 

16          based on, is certainly able to maintain 

17          itself, based on this budget, without any 

18          further service cuts or fare or toll 

19          increases.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Well, that's 

21          great.  But that would also mean, then, that 

22          if we actually got the $65 million, we would 

23          get service enhancements.  No?

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We do 


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 1          everything that we can to provide the level 

 2          of service that's required to meet the demand 

 3          of our riders, to also -- and this is key -- 

 4          to keep those operating costs down and be as 

 5          efficient as possible.  So as I mentioned, 

 6          we've taken out $1.6 billion and look to 

 7          increase those efficiencies up to 1.8 over 

 8          the next two years.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  It's my 

10          understanding that the November financial 

11          plan includes over a half a billion dollars 

12          in unidentified savings over the plan period.  

13          How is that going to be achieved?

14                 MTA CFO FORAN:  That is over the plan 

15          period.  We have a very strategic approach in 

16          place.  It's consolidations of procurement, 

17          it's a consolidation of IT, it's 

18          consolidation of treasury functions.  That 

19          we're trying to take five disparate groups, 

20          five silos from the past that each had their 

21          own departments, and bring them together to 

22          try to operate more efficiently.  

23                 So that is savings that you have over 

24          the four-year period.  However, if we achieve 


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 1          the savings targets for next year, that 

 2          reduces those costs for the next four years.  

 3          If we achieve the target for the second year, 

 4          that achieves savings for the next three 

 5          years.  So it really isn't that large of an 

 6          amount. 

 7                 The target that we will have going out 

 8          into 2020 is still well over $200 million, 

 9          but that is roughly just a little over 

10          1 percent of our budget expected at that 

11          time.  And so I think it's manageable, and I 

12          think we can approach it and do it in an 

13          efficient way.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Almost like a 

15          rounding error, huh?

16                 Now, the MTA was able to find 

17          $566 million in debt service savings.  Is 

18          that savings going to be available to 

19          partially restore the $2.5 billion cut in the 

20          original five-year plan?  Because the 

21          original five-year plan was -- hopefully 

22          would have been greater than it turned out to 

23          be.

24                 MTA CFO FORAN:  What we did is when we 


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 1          went through and saw debt service savings, we 

 2          decided to bank them, because we weren't sure 

 3          what the future capital programs would be.  

 4          So as of this point in time, we have 

 5          identified $566 million that we are saying is 

 6          committed to capital during the plan period, 

 7          and it will still be up to the board to make 

 8          a decision on how to utilize those funds for 

 9          the best of the region.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  When does the 

11          MTA expect to submit a capital plan amendment 

12          based on that to the CPRB so that all this 

13          money could be spent properly?

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So we 

15          have a process that I'm sure you're familiar 

16          with in terms of working at submitting 

17          amendments on our capital program.  It's 

18          something that we've done already four times 

19          in this plan period -- I think in the last 

20          plan period, excuse me.

21                 But the process requires us to first 

22          make some recommendations to our board, the 

23          board would review and approve them, and then 

24          we would be back to submit that proposed 


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 1          amendment to the CPRB.  Timing for that has 

 2          not been finalized.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  One of the 

 4          issues you had mentioned was the open 

 5          tolling.  The bridge that's in my 

 6          neighborhood, the Henry Hudson Bridge, 

 7          already has that.  I happen to think it's 

 8          good.  Not everybody loves it, but I guess 

 9          there are enforcement issues.  

10                 Do you have any idea of how much 

11          revenue has been lost by people who haven't 

12          paid -- you know, if they don't have an 

13          E-ZPass, they get a bill mailed to them.  Is 

14          there any record or indication as to how much 

15          revenue has been lost by -- as a result of 

16          that?

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So the 

18          Henry Hudson, as you're noting, is the one 

19          crossing that we've had the most experience 

20          with, because it's been open cashless tolling 

21          almost for a year.  

22                 We actually haven't lost any revenue 

23          there.  The E-ZPass rate of people who travel 

24          using E-ZPass is very high, and that's true 


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 1          systemwide.  And between the sending out a 

 2          violation notice and receiving the violation 

 3          together with an applicable fine, we've 

 4          covered all of our costs.  So that has turned 

 5          out to be an indicator of what we hope will 

 6          be very promising going forward.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  I know that 

 8          you're going to be attempting to try to take 

 9          measures to increase enforcement of the 

10          tolls.  

11                 I should note that in my own 

12          community, we've seen not only on the road, 

13          but in the local streets, troopers and TBTA 

14          police, whose cars look very much like the 

15          state troopers'.  Would you know if their 

16          extraordinary presence in the neighborhood is 

17          related to that?  Because I must tell you 

18          that people are very put off by it.  You 

19          know, if people think they're getting more 

20          police presence in order to reduce crime, 

21          they're happy.  But if they think it's 

22          because they're going to get a ticket for a 

23          broken taillight, not so happy.

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The law 


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 1          enforcement that we have in place, whether 

 2          it's working with State Police or Bridges and 

 3          Tunnels officers, they're at what, well, I'll 

 4          continue to refer to as toll plazas.  And 

 5          that's where the enforcement takes place.

 6                 If you've seen a greater presence in 

 7          local streets, that's probably them coming 

 8          and going.  They're not there to do any kind 

 9          of enforcement in the local jurisdictions 

10          themselves.

11                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I mean, 

12          it just seemed odd that they were -- they've 

13          been seen all over the place, not just 

14          immediate -- in close proximity to the 

15          highway, but in the neighborhood.  And 

16          it's -- it's something which hasn't happened 

17          in the past.

18                 Now, recently there was a big story in 

19          the Times regarding deterioration in service.  

20          And you've claimed, and I would imagine it's 

21          largely true, that overcrowding is the main 

22          driver of subway delays.  There's been an 

23          extreme increase in the number of trips 

24          taken.  Why have the delays, though, in your 


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 1          opinion, increased by so much in the past 

 2          couple of years?  Because it would seem to 

 3          outstrip the increase in ridership.

 4                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So the 

 5          issue of improving service is a challenging 

 6          one.  You know, we have 6 million riders in 

 7          the subway system a day; we make 8,000 trips 

 8          every day; we travel through 472 stations.  

 9          It is a very large system, and it is a very 

10          old system in many parts.

11                 Delays come about for two basic 

12          categories of things, either because of 

13          specific incident -- a signal malfunction, a 

14          sick customer, a water main break -- or an 

15          operational constraint or an operational 

16          disruption.  Those are the things that we 

17          have to really try to manage as effectively 

18          as possible.  

19                 What can we do about that?  We can 

20          look at how we can make people move 

21          effectively on a platform, on and off a 

22          train.  If you've been on the subway system, 

23          you know that the amount of time a subway car 

24          spends at a platform impacts the ability for 


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 1          it to move quickly and efficiently up and 

 2          down the line.  So we've installed a new type 

 3          of customer service person; we refer to them 

 4          as platform controllers.  Currently we use 

 5          them in certain key locations in the a.m., in 

 6          the morning rush hour.  We're increasing the 

 7          number of those agents, and we're increasing 

 8          including them in the afternoon rush hours as 

 9          well.  We want to add more people to help 

10          effectively manage the platforms.  That's 

11          step one.

12                 Step two, there are at Grand Central, 

13          as an example, "Don't Block the Box" boxes on 

14          the platforms.  They're there for a purpose, 

15          to signal to people where the doors are that 

16          are going to be opening, and to encourage our 

17          customers to allow people to step aside, let 

18          people come out, and then come in.

19                 We also have to look at the 

20          right-of-way and what we can do to increase 

21          inspections.  So we're increasing inspections 

22          on our right-of-ways so that we can catch 

23          conditions before they become a problem.  

24          We've seen about an 8 percent reduction in 


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 1          incidents because of that, the fact that we 

 2          are actually aggressively managing the 

 3          right-of-way.  We're using our track geometry 

 4          car technology every single day to make sure 

 5          that our tracks are as safe and in as good 

 6          repair as possible.

 7                 We have also dispatched crews to known 

 8          problem locations so that we have people on 

 9          standby who can quickly try to fix a problem, 

10          whether it's a signal or a power issue, to 

11          try to address that as fast as possible.

12                 And in addition, we want to watch what 

13          our customers experience is.  So our on-time 

14          performance -- and by the way, the news 

15          that's reporting the numbers?  Those are our 

16          numbers.  We're very transparent with what 

17          our service levels are.  Every month we 

18          measure ourselves and we publish those 

19          numbers for the public.

20                 You know, I'll take one example of the 

21          No. 5 Line, which has been noted as one of 

22          our worst performing lines, and it's true.  

23          It's 25 miles long, it travels from Dyre 

24          Avenue in the Bronx all the way down to 


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 1          Flatbush in Brooklyn.  The travel time, end 

 2          to end, is 95 minutes.  Now, if we miss that 

 3          by five minutes, we ding ourselves as not 

 4          having met our on-time performance objective 

 5          there.  

 6                 But the majority of our riders don't 

 7          ride the 5 from the Bronx all the way to 

 8          Flatbush in Brooklyn.  The majority of our 

 9          riders ride the 5 for five-mile segments.  So 

10          what we really want to do is measure the 

11          customer's experience on the platform, and 

12          that measurement we call wait assessment, 

13          which measures the reliability of a train 

14          coming when we said it was going to come.

15                 So on the 5, at Grand Central, in 

16          the a.m. rush hour, we're supposed to provide 

17          27 trains per hour running through there.  On 

18          average, we provide a little over 25 trains 

19          per hour.  So from a customer's perspective, 

20          when they hit the platform, they have an 

21          expectation that a train is going to arrive, 

22          and it generally does arrive.

23                 So again, we need to improve our 

24          service, but there are other things that we 


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 1          also need to improve.  How we communicate 

 2          with our customers about their expectations:  

 3          Rolling out more countdown clocks, a huge 

 4          success on the numbered lines -- we need to 

 5          finish rolling them out on the lettered 

 6          lines -- and communicating using devices, the 

 7          wifi technology that we've just rolled out 

 8          systemwide.  All of this will contribute to 

 9          giving our customers more information about 

10          the level of service they can expect.

11                 But I appreciate the question, and am 

12          fully committed to working on improving our 

13          customer service.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Good.  I know 

15          my time is kind of up, but I banked a few 

16          minutes from this morning.  So I have two 

17          very quick questions regarding bus service, 

18          which as you know is very important to the 

19          non-Manhattan boroughs.

20                 One, transit signal priority can help 

21          buses move more quickly by turning the light 

22          green when the bus approaches.  DOT, City 

23          DOT, says that they've installed the 

24          necessary equipment but that the buses aren't 


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 1          ready.  Do you have any idea how quickly we 

 2          might expect that to happen?

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Traffic 

 4          signal prioritization, and you point out 

 5          correctly, is something we do in conjunction 

 6          with the City, with DOT.  

 7                 We are ready, willing and able to 

 8          further advance traffic signal 

 9          prioritization.  We think that it is 

10          important.  I don't have a time frame for 

11          that, sir, but we'll get back to you on that.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  And 

13          really very last, all-door boarding of 

14          buses, is that something that we can -- I 

15          think there's some technological issues 

16          involved, but is that something we can expect 

17          in the near future to expedite bus stops?

18                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Where we 

19          currently have deployed all-door boarding is 

20          on the SBS lines, where we're providing 

21          select bus service on 13 routes.  And we have 

22          just announced plans to expand that to two 

23          more routes.

24                 The issue of rear-door boarding on a 


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 1          regular local bus presents some concerns 

 2          around fare evasion, so we would have to take 

 3          a look at that.

 4                 On the SBS routes, we have the benefit 

 5          of having an Eagle Team who enforce fare 

 6          collection for us.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay, thank you 

 8          very much.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

10          you.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

12                 Senator?

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

14          Director, for taking on this new challenge, 

15          and I wish you well.

16                 I will be asking some questions, but 

17          I'll defer at this time to my colleague 

18          Senator Elaine Phillips, who has some 

19          questions.

20                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  Thank you, Senator.

21                 And thank you for being here today, 

22          you and your team.

23                 So as you know, I represent the 

24          7th Senate District, the Main Line, which 


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 1          carries 40 percent of Long Island Railroad's 

 2          daily commuters.  It runs right through the 

 3          heart of my district.  I represent virtually 

 4          every one of those communities that will be 

 5          impacted by the third track.  Without a 

 6          doubt, this project promises to be one of the 

 7          most ambitious, costly, and potentially 

 8          disruptive to the affected communities in the 

 9          MTA's history, probably since the line was 

10          originally laid.

11                 Unlike other large-scale construction 

12          projects -- the Tappan Zee Bridge comes to 

13          mind -- this construction is not taking place 

14          over- or underwater, it truly is taking place 

15          in the backyards of many of the residents on 

16          Long Island.  Years of disruption right in 

17          the core of central business districts are 

18          deeply concerning to me.  And we still don't 

19          know what we don't know about unanticipated 

20          costs to local communities, construction 

21          delays, impacts on businesses and the 

22          environment, and so much more.

23                 The residents of these communities, as 

24          you know, deserve to have their questions 


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 1          answered and their concerns addressed.  I 

 2          want to compliment the efforts that the MTA 

 3          has made to engage the affected communities.  

 4          I know that your agency has conducted 

 5          countless meetings to gather input and 

 6          explain the project, in particular to 

 7          residents and to the village officials along 

 8          the Main Line corridor.  

 9                 But the work isn't done.  There remain 

10          many questions to be answered, and it is my 

11          job as the representative of these 

12          communities, to make sure that their concerns 

13          are addressed.  So I have numerous questions.

14                 First, on funding.  I understand that 

15          the MTA plans to pay for this project through 

16          its capital fund.  But are there any funds in 

17          the Executive's budget or in the MTA's 

18          operating budget that are to be expended on 

19          the project, such as for preliminary work?

20                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The 

21          existing MTA capital program, that '15 to '19 

22          program, got us started on third track.  And 

23          so it was the vehicle by which we were able 

24          to start the environmental review process, 


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 1          put preliminary design-build documents 

 2          together, and as you noted, really begin a 

 3          very intensive community outreach and 

 4          interaction process.

 5                 In order to fully fund the third track 

 6          program, that will be the subject of a future 

 7          capital program amendment, and we'll be back.  

 8          We're in the midst of a procurement right now 

 9          for that design-build team, whoever that 

10          design-build team will be.  And in working 

11          through the negotiations with that team, and 

12          their approach to how they're going to do the 

13          work and their approach to how they're going 

14          to meet all of the commitments that we're 

15          making about minimizing community impacts, 

16          not taking any residential properties, 

17          continuing that level of community outreach 

18          and support, making sure that vehicles are 

19          not interfering with the community's 

20          transportation network -- those are all going 

21          to be part of this contracting process.  

22                 And I will say that as we get further 

23          down this path and we have more information 

24          about how the project will be built, we're 


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 1          fully committed to maintaining the level of 

 2          community information and outreach that we've 

 3          done up till now.  So we will be out there, 

 4          we will be answering your questions and your 

 5          constituents' questions, absolutely.

 6                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  We're at a budget 

 7          hearing, so let me get to the obvious 

 8          question.  What is the projected cost of the 

 9          project?  I'm concerned, because as it was 

10          originally proposed, it was estimated to cost 

11          $1 billion in a very short period of time.  

12          That estimate has doubled to $2 billion.  

13          Some of that added cost, I understand, can be 

14          attributed to the added amenities, like 

15          station improvements and the like, in the 

16          latest DEIS.  But that's still a significant 

17          increase before shovels are really even in 

18          the ground. 

19                 We've also seen how unanticipated 

20          problems and delays can lead to ballooning 

21          costs.  Is there a detailed accounting of the 

22          costs, as well as future costs for ongoing 

23          maintenance of the new infrastructure?  Also, 

24          what can you tell us about the MTA's effort 


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 1          to identify federal funding?

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So the -- 

 3          you noted correctly the overall current 

 4          budget is about $2 billion.  There are very 

 5          detailed estimates that build up to that 

 6          number.  Because we are currently in the 

 7          procurement of what will be a very large 

 8          design-build contract, I hesitate to go 

 9          farther in terms of the details of what the 

10          project estimates are, except to say that it 

11          will be part and will be required to be part 

12          of a further capital program amendment.

13                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  And federal 

14          funding?

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I don't 

16          think that we're using federal funds in this 

17          project.

18                 MTA CFO FORAN:  No.  No, we're not.  

19          We're not using federal dollars for this 

20          project.

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

22          you.

23                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  And what about the 

24          costs that are incurred by local governments, 


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 1          such as traffic mitigation, fire, police, 

 2          et cetera?  Is the MTA making provisions for 

 3          these costs to the local communities?  And 

 4          has there been consideration or will there be 

 5          consideration about bonding to protect the 

 6          properties of residents and local 

 7          governments?

 8                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The first 

 9          part of your question, in terms of supporting 

10          costs associated with what I will call 

11          directly related to the project, whether you 

12          need additional policing or some additional 

13          law enforcement, that's something that on a 

14          project-by-project basis we take a look at.

15                 In terms of the second part, bonding 

16          -- I'm sorry, I missed the second part of the 

17          question.

18                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  Inevitably, we've 

19          all been through projects where property 

20          values can be impacted negatively in some 

21          way.  I guess the communities are asking, 

22          what happens when we have to put police out 

23          there?  You know, it's the Nassau County 

24          police force.  Or what happens when a road 


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 1          has to be closed down because a major piece 

 2          of construction is coming in?  What happens 

 3          if something falls onto one of my trees in my 

 4          backyard and a branch breaks?  How am I 

 5          going -- you know, how is the community 

 6          that's going to be affected impacted?

 7                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

 8          you.  We -- if we break it, we have to fix 

 9          it.  We have to pay for it.  If we create a 

10          situation that requires additional local 

11          support costs, that would be something that 

12          would be funneled through the project.  

13                 We try to plan our work in a way so as 

14          to minimize those impacts, and have been out 

15          talking to the affected communities about how 

16          to do that.  As we get further through this 

17          process and the final selection is made on 

18          the design-build team and we have their 

19          construction plans, we'll be back out to the 

20          community to talk about what those plans are 

21          and make sure that we've covered every 

22          eventuality.

23                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  I would -- we can 

24          share with you that there are examples where 


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 1          funds can be set aside -- you know, it comes 

 2          to my mind like FEMA, you expend money on a 

 3          local government for FEMA-related expenses, 

 4          then there's criteria, you submit it, and you 

 5          get reimbursed.  Because I think there's 

 6          tremendous concern.

 7                 On property values, we know that a 

 8          project of this scope will have an impact on 

 9          property values, and removal of several 

10          commercial properties from the tax rolls will 

11          impact assessed values and property tax bills 

12          in a number of areas.  And in fact I believe 

13          in one of the communities that have submitted 

14          their comments, they're estimating that in 

15          their district alone, $400,000 on an 

16          annualized basis.

17                 So what is the MTA proposing to do for 

18          those homeowners and landowners who will have 

19          to pick up the slack in the form of higher 

20          tax bills because these commercial properties 

21          are coming off the tax roll?

22                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  You know, 

23          Senator, I'm going to defer and come back to 

24          you on that, because I'm just trying to get 


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 1          my hands around this very large project, as 

 2          you've aptly noted.

 3                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  On SEQR, I've had 

 4          the opportunity to review the scoping 

 5          documents and DEIS.  I've also seen comments 

 6          from the communities, from Westbury to Floral 

 7          Park, concerning details of the project that 

 8          are not addressed in the document, from a 

 9          detailed timeline to traffic, visual and 

10          environmental impacts of the project in 

11          construction.

12                 As you know, the requirements of SEQR 

13          are very detailed and specific.  How 

14          confident are you that your analysis meets 

15          the requirements that are set in law for 

16          planning and mitigation?

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I think 

18          we're very confident in the process that 

19          we've undertaken, very robust.  We have some 

20          national experts working with us through the 

21          environmental review process, including 

22          making commitments through that process about 

23          how we are going to mitigate construction and 

24          project impacts.


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 1                 And I'm a very big believer in that 

 2          phase of a big project, because I think it 

 3          gives everybody sort of an eyes-wide-open 

 4          review of what do we have to do and what are 

 5          the concerns of the communities that we're 

 6          crossing.

 7                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  On rail 

 8          crossings -- and I'm getting close to being 

 9          done -- it's clear that there is 

10          near-unanimous agreement on the need to 

11          eliminate grade crossings in these 

12          communities, from local residents to the 

13          agency to the Governor.  I personally have 

14          waited in traffic for over 10 minutes.  

15                 There's no doubt that these delays are 

16          more than an inconvenience and affect the 

17          economies of the downtown business districts.  

18          But couldn't we eliminate these crossings at 

19          a far lower cost and improve the safety 

20          without the significant additional expense 

21          and delay of adding a third track.  Has the 

22          analysis been done?  And if it has been done, 

23          has it been shared with the community or with 

24          the public?  And if not, why not?


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 1                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Let me 

 2          start with what I know.  What I know is that 

 3          the third track project will eliminate seven 

 4          grade crossings, at-grade crossings, which 

 5          immediately infers an additional level of 

 6          safety in those communities.  That's a very 

 7          good thing.  Grade-crossing safety is 

 8          something that we all -- and you join us in 

 9          this -- you know, take very, very seriously.  

10          And being able to eliminate a grade crossing 

11          is an important element and an important part 

12          of the third track project.

13                 Whether there are alternatives to 

14          that, I don't know.  And what was studied 

15          before, I don't yet know.  But we will 

16          certainly look into that and provide that 

17          information to you.

18                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  And I think the 

19          community would like to see that --

20                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  

21          Certainly.

22                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  -- so you know what 

23          the cost ...

24                 So on freight, residents of a number 


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 1          of communities have raised concerns about 

 2          increased freight traffic, including expanded 

 3          use of the line for household trash and even 

 4          hazardous waste.  Your DEIS projects a 

 5          minimal increase in freight traffic on the 

 6          expanded line.  Is that realistic, especially 

 7          considering the fact that we are closing 

 8          landfills on the East End of Long Island?

 9                 And I'd like to hear what is the 

10          status of your contract with the Long Island 

11          railroad's freight carrier, which was the 

12          subject of a very concerning safety report by 

13          federal regulators last year.  I think in 

14          November we found out an accident rate that 

15          was three times higher than other freight 

16          carriers.

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  

18          Ultimately what comes out through the 

19          environmental impact statement in terms of 

20          freight volume expectations, those are things 

21          that we absolutely stand behind and think 

22          that they're accurate.  

23                 The New York & Atlantic freight 

24          provider -- that we've had some issues with, 


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 1          and the community has had some issues with, 

 2          and reports were recently issued -- you know, 

 3          that's an option that we have to take a hard 

 4          look at.  

 5                 And I've heard just recently, having 

 6          just come on board on the Long Island front, 

 7          some very serious concerns about the way they 

 8          run their operation.  I know they've changed 

 9          their management, I know that they've said 

10          that they're making improvements and they're 

11          going to commit that freight the way they're 

12          supposed to run it, but it's an area that I'm 

13          going to be looking into.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Phillips, I 

15          know this has the potential to be very 

16          devastating to your local communities, and 

17          it's a very, very important issue.  So what I 

18          will do is let the other members speak who 

19          wanted to speak, and then I will allow you to 

20          come back to ask more questions.

21                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  Thank you.  Thank 

22          you very much.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

24                 Let's see, I think I want to ask some 


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 1          questions and see how things are going.  It's 

 2          been a while.

 3                 Let's see.  I have three things I want 

 4          to talk to you about.  One of them has to do 

 5          with the IRT-Independent on 168th Street, and 

 6          the other one I'd like to hear a little about 

 7          is the elimination of tollbooths, especially 

 8          the one that goes to the Bronx, the Henry 

 9          Hudson.  And I would like to tell you some 

10          things that I think you've done very good.

11                 Over the years, we used to have a very 

12          not-good bus terminal directly in back of my 

13          office, and they were out in the street and 

14          they were everywhere.  People were always 

15          complaining to me about it and everything 

16          else.  And you built a new building there, 

17          the Mother Hale bus terminal, and it is 

18          fantastic.  I don't even know it is a bus 

19          terminal.  They sneak them in at night so you 

20          don't see them --

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  It's a 

22          bus garage, yes.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  -- and they sneak 

24          them out.  The good old days of them blocking 


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 1          up the streets, taking all the parking 

 2          spaces, has gone.  They have done a fantastic 

 3          job there.

 4                 But we then have the IRT and the 

 5          Independent on 168th.  That station is the 

 6          station I used to go to school through.  I 

 7          went to George Washington High School, and 

 8          I'd walk there, take the elevators, and go 

 9          down and go up to 191st Street, where I would 

10          then take the elevators there and go up.

11                 And in the years that I was there, 

12          once or twice the elevators went out.  I 

13          never had all four of the elevators go.  I 

14          never lost it continuous.  We -- once in a 

15          while we'd have to walk, they'd make us walk 

16          up, because we were young people, and there 

17          was only one of the four elevators running.  

18          But we never went without it.

19                 Now you've had it -- in the last three 

20          weeks, I think, it's gone out twice, all four 

21          of them.  And you also lost the -- what I 

22          would call the street elevator, you lost that 

23          once, which creates a major problem that you 

24          had to stop people from getting off on the 


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 1          station because they couldn't get on an 

 2          elevator and they couldn't walk those stairs.  

 3          If they're as bad as I remember them when I 

 4          was a kid, I know they wouldn't walk up those 

 5          stairs.

 6                 So I'd like to know, what are you 

 7          going to do to make sure that doesn't happen 

 8          again?  And while you're doing that, tell me 

 9          what is going on in terms of work in that 

10          location.  Because up on the street, there 

11          has been a fence next to the statue, and I 

12          have always thought it was work you were 

13          doing to put another elevator in or not.  My 

14          people went there on Monday, and they said 

15          no, it's not that, it's just a pile of stuff.  

16          And we couldn't see what that is.

17                 So I don't know if you know that, if 

18          someone could tell us what that is.  And what 

19          are you going to do so that doesn't happen 

20          again?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The 

22          elevators at 168th Street need to be 

23          replaced.  They -- what we are doing in the 

24          short term is seeing how to accelerate that 


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 1          replacement.  And so one of the contracting 

 2          methods that we're looking at is can we 

 3          include incentives for early completion in a 

 4          contract to replace those elevators, how can 

 5          we get the best possible contractor to work 

 6          as fast as possible replacing those 

 7          elevators.

 8                 In the very short term, though, what 

 9          we are doing is putting a SWAT team of 

10          elevator maintainers there, because if 

11          something happens, we want to have people on 

12          the ground to be able to address those issues 

13          as quickly as possible.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  They're there now.

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Now, for 

16          our rush-hour service, to make sure that we 

17          can maintain service there.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Okay.

19                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Because 

20          as you noted correctly, if we can't use those 

21          elevators -- if one is out, that's one thing.  

22          But if all four are out, that's just -- it's 

23          an impossible, untenable situation for our 

24          customers.


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 1                 In terms of the work around the 

 2          station, I'm familiar with that.  So we'll 

 3          look into that.  And if we need to clean it 

 4          up, we'll need to clean it up.

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  There's a statue up 

 6          there, it's right in there, it's an area.  

 7          And I've always thought it's your work there.  

 8          It's been a while.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I'll look 

10          to see if that scaffolding is ours or not.

11                 And then you asked also about cashless 

12          tolling on the Henry Hudson --

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  No, I didn't finish 

14          this one yet.

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Oh, I'm 

16          sorry.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  So there's one 

18          other problem.  When some of the elected 

19          officials tried to get ahold of you, you were 

20          not able -- you were not talking to them or 

21          they were not hearing you or whatever it is.

22                 I'd like to hear if you can give me a 

23          commitment to come to a meeting at the 168th 

24          Street location to tell people what's 


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 1          happening and where you are at this point.  

 2          And is there -- and be able to tell us when 

 3          you think it will begin work, and when will 

 4          it end.

 5                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I'm 

 6          unaware of anybody who tried to get in touch 

 7          with me that I wasn't able to speak to, 

 8          but --

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  I'll blame MTA.

10                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  But I 

11          will absolutely agree that we will come up 

12          and update the community on the 168th Street 

13          station and those elevators.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  All right, we can 

15          put something there.  All right.

16                 Yes, now we can go and talk about the 

17          tollbooth.

18                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So this 

19          is a very exciting time in terms of the 

20          bridges and tunnel world that we live in.  

21          Henry Hudson was the first pilot by which we 

22          took down the tollbooths and the toll plazas 

23          and the swinging arms and were able to 

24          provide safe and environmentally friendly 


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 1          passage through the -- what was the toll 

 2          plaza, through the tolling of E-ZPass tags as 

 3          well as cameras that read license plates.

 4                 And by reading those license plates, 

 5          we're able to then send people who don't have 

 6          an E-ZPass -- and 90 percent of the people 

 7          who travel that crossing do -- a bill for 

 8          their tolls.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  I'm the 10 percent.  

10          And I live two blocks away from it, actually, 

11          and I -- the only question is, the Thruway 

12          put in a better, I think, program than you 

13          did.  They allow me to go up there and get a 

14          turn, or I can go through it by using 

15          E-ZPass.  I don't like E-ZPass, I'm one of 

16          those people, old-fashioned people.  So I 

17          don't like the E-ZPass.  And I just 

18          understand why you don't have some mechanism 

19          for grinchy old people like me to have a way 

20          to do that, instead of getting the mail.  The 

21          mail doesn't bother me, I do it and I get it 

22          and blah, blah, blah.  

23                 But I just wondered -- and the other 

24          question, and I guess it becomes part of like 


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 1          the road, that highway becomes like the 

 2          highway, because nobody will be able to stand 

 3          up there.  One of the things that the 

 4          tollbooths did is it gave you an ability, if 

 5          something went wrong, to talk to somebody.  I 

 6          guess now that you're going through -- 

 7          because I go through it now with the overhead 

 8          lights, and it doesn't seem -- you know, I 

 9          would be afraid to have anybody get out of 

10          there, because the cars move very quickly 

11          through that now.

12                 But as I said, the Thruway had a 

13          program where you can pick which lane you go 

14          to.  And I'm surprised that they didn't do 

15          something like that, because there's many 

16          people from all over the world who go through 

17          that thing.  It'd be interesting to see the 

18          amount of letters you have to send to China 

19          or Japan or somewhere.

20                 So anyway, that's just my position on 

21          that.  Let's see if I got everything in here 

22          I'm supposed to do.  Yes, yes, yes.  

23                 All right, thank you.  

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 


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 1          you.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

 3          much.  

 4                 Next?

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 6          Mr. Chairman.

 7                 I do have some questions.  So first I 

 8          wanted to ask a little bit more about the 

 9          capital program, because I know Assemblyman 

10          Dinowitz touched on it.  But this year's 

11          Executive Budget includes a $1.5 billion 

12          appropriation in support of the state's 

13          $8.3 billion commitment to the MTA, which was 

14          part of the capital program, as you know, a 

15          long-term commitment over five years.  And 

16          there was a billion that was included in the 

17          MTA's 2015-2019 capital program in last 

18          year's budget, in the 2016 enacted budget.  

19                 But the state hasn't specified on how 

20          it will fund the additional $7.3 billion 

21          commitment to the MTA capital program.  I 

22          still didn't hear really what the answer to 

23          that is.  You're talking about future capital 

24          programs, things like that.  But how will the 


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 1          state meet our commitment to the MTA?  What's 

 2          the plan?  

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So let me 

 4          start off with a little bit of a historical 

 5          perspective.  While I'm very new to this 

 6          position, I actually spent nearly 24 years 

 7          working in capital construction for the 

 8          New York City Transit and the expansion 

 9          programs.  And I've been around the MTA's 

10          capital program through various 

11          administrations.  And every administration 

12          has made its financial commitment when the 

13          MTA needed the money, and I think that's 

14          going to happen here also.  

15                 So we currently have projects well 

16          underway in the '15-'19 program.  We are 

17          advancing our capital program and are not 

18          slowing anything down.  And to the extent 

19          that tranches of money will be made available 

20          by the state as that money is needed, I'm 

21          fully confident in the MTA's ability to 

22          receive that level of funding.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But there's no 

24          specific plan.


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 1                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  This year 

 2          I think there is a specific plan.

 3                 MTA CFO FORAN:  Yeah, we have been -- 

 4          if you look at the financing schedule and the 

 5          capital financing plan, I believe they have 

 6          $683 million in there that is to fulfill 

 7          obligations for the '10-'14 capital program, 

 8          and also there's the first installment for 

 9          the '15-'19 capital program.  

10                 Our kind of agreement when we were 

11          putting the capital program together was that 

12          we would be using our monies -- our bond 

13          proceeds, our pay-as-you-go capital, certain 

14          asset sales -- first, to advance these 

15          projects.  And then as we needed the funds, 

16          the state would make funds available.  

17                 We're really looking now that those 

18          funds won't be necessary probably until the 

19          '19 to '20 period.  So there's time for the 

20          Executive and the Legislature to get together 

21          and decide what is the means they would fund.  

22                 But what we did ask and what the 

23          response has been is we said if we do need 

24          money, show us good faith by appropriating 


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 1          early so that the monies will be 

 2          appropriated.  So in '16, the state 

 3          appropriated the billion dollars that was 

 4          early on in the '15-'19 capital program.  

 5          Then it was another 1.9 billion that was done 

 6          in state fiscal year '17.  And in the 

 7          Executive Budget this year, it's another 

 8          $1.5 billion.  

 9                 So we'll have appropriated roughly 

10          $3.4 billion dollars available to us.  So as 

11          we need funds in that future date, and the 

12          funds are then identified, they'll be able to 

13          be given to us.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So will you have to 

15          increase fares and tolls?

16                 MTA CFO FORAN:  No.  What we are 

17          projecting is what we've built into our plan, 

18          biennial fare and toll increases, trying to 

19          keep it at the rate of inflation.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Now, it's my 

21          understanding that with the capital plan you 

22          will need 950 new subway cars and 1400 buses, 

23          is that true?

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We're 


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 1          actually buying, in the '15-'19 program, over 

 2          a thousand new subway cars, over a thousand 

 3          buses, as well as new railroad rolling stock.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And what is the MTA 

 5          doing to make sure that our manufacturers and 

 6          suppliers in New York State are able to 

 7          benefit from those new buses and those new 

 8          subway cars?

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We have 

10          subway cars in construction right now that 

11          will be delivered out of a plant in New York 

12          State in Plattsburgh by the Bombardier 

13          car-building team.  The Nova Bus factory is 

14          upstate, we buy Nova buses.  So we feel good 

15          in that we have -- we think we're actually a 

16          market leader here in this state in terms of 

17          providing opportunities for -- on the subway 

18          building side and on the bus building side.

19                 I'm familiar with the part of the 

20          Executive Budget that proposes a "buy 

21          American" requirement for the procurement of 

22          goods over $100,000.  Clearly we would be 

23          fully supportive of that as well.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  Thank 


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 1          you.  

 2                 Just switching to third track.  And 

 3          Senator Phillips has been a great leader as 

 4          far as articulating the concerns of her 

 5          communities and standing up for her 

 6          communities.  And there is a loss of tax 

 7          base, there is a disruption to businesses, 

 8          there is an impact on people's quality of 

 9          life, their property values.  You talked 

10          about the $2 billion that would be necessary 

11          to build the third track, and you also -- I 

12          believe you said that there are no federal 

13          funds that would be used for this.  So this 

14          is going to be totally borne by the taxpayers 

15          of New York State?

16                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  This will 

17          be fully funded through the MTA's capital 

18          program through some of the capital program 

19          borrowing as well as through other state 

20          funds.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So it will be borne 

22          by the taxpayers of New York State fully.  

23          And the ratepayers, the people who pay tolls.

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I think 


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 1          -- I think it's a little premature to say 

 2          where all these funding sources will come 

 3          from.  I think when we come back with a 

 4          proposed capital program amendment that 

 5          includes the full third track component to 

 6          it, that will be the time to see where the 

 7          funding sources have been identified.  That's 

 8          still a work in progress.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But you're saying 

10          that there will be no federal funds used 

11          towards that.

12                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Correct.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So it's New York 

14          State people who will pay for it.  Correct?  

15          I mean, I don't know where else you would get 

16          the funding from.  

17                 So anyway, moving on --

18                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Yeah, I 

19          think it will be a function of some of our 

20          MTA and some of our capital program borrowing 

21          and whatever other sources of funding that 

22          are necessary or identified.  

23                 But we undertook the environmental 

24          review process recognizing that we would not 


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 1          use federal funds.  So we did not proceed 

 2          through that federal NEPA process but rather 

 3          the SEQRA process, the state process for 

 4          environmental review. 

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  So the 

 6          people of New York will be footing the bill 

 7          on that.

 8                 Just switching again to subway and bus 

 9          fares, they've risen five times, or by 

10          45 percent since 2007, at nearly three times 

11          the inflation rate.  And fares and tolls will 

12          be increasing by 4 percent in March of 2017.  

13          What is the MTA doing to control costs and 

14          avoid these increases?

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  On the 

16          cost-control front, we have taken out of the 

17          MTA's operating costs, over the last several 

18          years, $1.6 billion in expenses.  How did we 

19          do that?  We went about a very hard review 

20          of where there were opportunities for 

21          efficiency, eliminating duplication between 

22          MTA agencies, consolidating departments, 

23          right-sizing departments as well, and 

24          consolidating them, whether it's procurement, 


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 1          whether it's accounts payable, whether it's 

 2          HR, our new business service center, all of 

 3          which gave us the opportunity to continue 

 4          those cost-control efforts.  

 5                 That translated into our ability to 

 6          hold down any fares and toll increases to 

 7          about the rate of inflation.  And that's 

 8          what's in the financial plan going forward as 

 9          well.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Assembly?

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

13                 Next, Assemblyman Cusick.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Thank you.  Thank 

15          you Mr. Chairman.

16                 Director, good to see you again.

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

18          you.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  It was nice 

20          meeting you yesterday.  And many of the 

21          things that I'll be discussing today we spoke 

22          about yesterday, and I have assurances from 

23          you and from staff that we will follow up on 

24          many of this.  But I wanted to just ask a few 


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 1          questions in the five minutes that we have.  

 2                 Many of my colleagues -- I know that 

 3          Chairman Dinowitz brought it up, and many of 

 4          my colleagues are concerned about the 

 5          proposal of the reduction of $65 million from 

 6          the transfer from the General Fund.  And I 

 7          know that you answered that you don't foresee 

 8          any service cuts due to that.  But my 

 9          question is, is there a purpose for that $65 

10          million right now that something may occur 

11          after there is a cut?  Unfortunately, if 

12          there is a cut of the $65 million, will 

13          something suffer in the MTA budget?

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We have a 

15          multiyear financial plan upon which we base 

16          our service and upon which we base what may 

17          be required in terms of fare or toll 

18          increases.  There is no reason to anticipate 

19          a service cut at all associated with this 

20          change in funding level.  And again, I 

21          emphasize that overall the State Operating 

22          Assistance to the MTA actually increased by 

23          $30 million.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay.  And you 


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 1          talk about tolls and fare increases.  And of 

 2          course it wouldn't be a budget hearing if I 

 3          didn't ask about the Verrazano Bridge and the 

 4          tolling there.  We do have the Governor's 

 5          proposal of the permanent resident discount.  

 6          The Legislature every year, and the MTA and 

 7          the Governor, put forward a significant 

 8          resident discount.  

 9                 But I just wanted to talk about the 

10          increases that have occurred and ask about 

11          the timeline of increases when it comes to 

12          tolls.  Tolls have increased since 2011.  And 

13          I think -- correct me if I'm wrong, I think 

14          there are scheduled increases for tolls and 

15          fares for 2017, which I believe is going to 

16          be next month, right?  

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Right.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And then 2019.  

19          But is there anything scheduled after 2019 at 

20          this point, of toll increases?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So the 

22          financial plan that you're accurately 

23          referring to talks about those biennial 

24          2-percent-less-the-cost-of-inflation every 


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 1          two years.  You're correct, we're in the 

 2          process of implementing the most recent 

 3          increase next month, in March.  Thereafter, 

 4          in two years again, holding it down.  And 

 5          it's why it's so important for us to hold 

 6          down our operating expenses, so that we can 

 7          stay within the financial plan projections.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  So I guess the 

 9          short question is, as of today, 2019 is the 

10          targeted last toll increase that you see 

11          right now.  I'm getting at, are there going 

12          to be any other toll increases after 2019 

13          that you foresee today, February 15, 2017?

14                 MTA CFO FORAN:  You know, I would have 

15          to say that we've committed to biennial fare 

16          and toll increases.  That means the next time 

17          that we present our financial plan, we'll be 

18          adding another year to it.  So in 2021, we 

19          would be, as a matter of forecasting -- and I 

20          have to say that, as a matter of forecasting, 

21          because we do have to make projections -- we 

22          would probably put some type of increase in.  

23                 Now, that doesn't mean it will happen 

24          and it doesn't mean that it will happen in 


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 1          the dollar amount.  But just for our planning 

 2          purposes, and so that the investment 

 3          community can see that we're trying to 

 4          balance within an envelope, we do need to 

 5          show that.  

 6                 But before we can put any fare and 

 7          toll increase in place, it's got to be 

 8          subject to public hearings, and it then, 

 9          after the public hearing, it needs to go to 

10          the board.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Well, that will 

12          be a whole other hearing, is the public 

13          hearings and discussing how we get people to 

14          go to them, because I know they're -- the 

15          attendance isn't the greatest.  

16                 But I would like to, you know, just 

17          urge you -- again, it wouldn't be a hearing 

18          if I didn't do this -- urge you when it gets 

19          to that point that we don't look at 

20          increasing the tolls.  At this point we're at 

21          $17, I believe, and it will be almost $20 if 

22          we keep doing this.  And it will price people 

23          out of the city and the region.  

24                 I just want to -- my time is running 


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 1          out, so I just want to -- I don't want to be 

 2          rude, but I just want to get to the West 

 3          Shore light rail study.  Last year at this 

 4          hearing I had asked Chairman Prendergast 

 5          about the possibility of a West Shore light 

 6          rail study.  He had said at the time that 

 7          that would be something the MTA would do.  

 8          When he was asked what agency would do it, he 

 9          said the MTA would do this.  Then it was up 

10          to us to figure out how to get funding for 

11          this study and work with you for that.  

12                 During the budget process last year, 

13          there was a commitment by the Governor's 

14          office and the MTA to go forward with a 

15          study, an alternative needs study, analysis, 

16          a study to see whether it's feasible to do a 

17          light rail on the West Shore towards the 

18          Bayonne Bridge.  Could you just -- we spoke 

19          about this yesterday, Director.  I just 

20          wanted to follow up and just urge that we 

21          continue these discussions.  I know that 

22          there's been some confusion on what the study 

23          will be or what it will do.  But this is 

24          urgent, and this is something that the people 


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 1          in the region, not just Staten Island, would 

 2          benefit from.  

 3                 And I just would like to again urge 

 4          the MTA to work with us to come up with -- I 

 5          know there's funding involved, and we'd like 

 6          to work with you to come up with that 

 7          funding.  But is there an update right now on 

 8          where we are with it?

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  As you 

10          know, we have undertaken -- and in the 

11          capital program, funded -- the North Shore 

12          busway environmental analysis and preliminary 

13          engineering phase, and that's going on.  

14          The -- how we figure out how to also 

15          undertake a further review of the West Shore 

16          for light rail or an alternative is something 

17          that we can absolutely continue to work 

18          together on.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And I know that 

20          funding is the issue.

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  It is.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And I know that 

23          the number $4 million has been put out there 

24          for an alternative analysis study, which is 


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 1          what I've been told needs to be done.  And we 

 2          will work to help find that money.  

 3                 And I'm sure -- this segues a little 

 4          bit into a question I want to follow up that 

 5          Chairman Dinowitz had asked.  He had asked 

 6          about a capital plan amendment, and he asked 

 7          is there a plan to put an amendment forward.  

 8          And I know the answer was that there was a 

 9          process that the MTA goes through.  

10                 Could you just give me a ballpark 

11          figure -- are we talking within a year, are 

12          we talking months, are we talking years -- as 

13          to when an amendment may be put forward?

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We're 

15          working on that amendment.  But before we 

16          come back to Albany with the amendment, we 

17          first have to go and brief our board and get 

18          their review and approval of it.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay.  And also 

20          with that, with the funding, just to go back 

21          quickly to the West Shore light rail, with 

22          funding, I know that this will take 

23          partnership with New Jersey and some sort of 

24          buy-in with New Jersey.  And I urge that we 


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 1          work with the Port Authority, not have them 

 2          dismiss it right away, but let's try to work 

 3          with them.  Maybe we could share the expenses 

 4          somehow that way also.  

 5                 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Appreciate 

 6          it.

 7                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  Thank 

 8          you.  

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

10                 We've been joined by Senator Roxanne 

11          Persaud.  

12                 And our next speaker is Senator Marty 

13          Dilan.

14                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Senator.

16                 SENATOR DILAN:  Hi.

17                 I have a question regarding the MTA 

18          operating budget and the sweeps and transfers 

19          therein, and also on the issue of parity.

20                 I note that the MTA is getting a 

21          1 percent -- about a 1 percent increase, 

22          which you mentioned was about $30 million, in 

23          the current proposed budget.  However, in the 

24          same breath we're losing $65 million in 


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 1          capital funds and then another $121.5 million 

 2          that's going into the State General Fund.  So 

 3          I see more money going out than coming in.  

 4                 So respectfully, can someone on the 

 5          panel explain to me what kind of accounting 

 6          methods we're using?  Because the numbers 

 7          don't seem to add up.  And I had like a 

 8          difficult time explaining this to my 

 9          conference, how we have $30 million going out 

10          and much more going out.  So I need an 

11          explanation, because many people are 

12          confused.

13                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

14          you.  Before I turn it over to our CFO, let 

15          me just start by saying that you're correct, 

16          we are seeing an overall increase in 

17          operating assistance by $30 million.  The 

18          state is committing $4.5 billion in operating 

19          assistance to the MTA.  That's complementary 

20          to their $8.3 billion capital program 

21          commitment as well.

22                 SENATOR DILAN:  Can -- can I interrupt 

23          you just one second?  With respect to the 

24          $8.3 billion, the gentleman made reference to 


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 1          it.  One, he said that you leverage your own 

 2          bonding to support your capital budget.  So 

 3          that's your assets that are being used to 

 4          leverage that money.  He talked about getting 

 5          $8.3 billion in the outyears, but I know that 

 6          there's a caveat to that, and that is you 

 7          don't get the 8.3 unless you exhaust all your 

 8          resources.  So if you don't exhaust the 

 9          resources, you'll never see that 8.3.  

10                 With respect to the issue of parity, I 

11          know that there's $600 million from the 

12          federal government going into DOT for roads 

13          and bridges around the entire state.  Then 

14          there's an additional $600 million from DOB 

15          going into DOT.  MTA is not getting that $1.1 

16          or $1.2 billion.  So where is the parity 

17          there?  I'm sure you could do a lot of things 

18          with $600 million.  But still someone needs 

19          to explain to me where are the real dollars 

20          that are going to the MTA.  And I don't mean 

21          to put anyone on the spot, but this is a 

22          question I've asked year after year, and I 

23          don't think we ever got a satisfactory 

24          answer.  And I think it's time that people 


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 1          start answering those questions.

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  On the 

 3          parity issue, I'm not an expert on overall 

 4          statewide transportation funding.  It does 

 5          seem like there are a lot of ambitious 

 6          programs across the state in the 

 7          transportation space.  That inures to the 

 8          benefit of the whole state.  

 9                 You know, I'm very focused on the 

10          MTA's capital program and the MTA's operating 

11          budget and our maintenance of our state of 

12          good repair and our expansion program.  

13                 Bob?

14                 MTA CFO FORAN:  You know, we put 

15          together our budget beginning in October and 

16          in November.  The state puts its budget 

17          together, the Executive Budget, you know, in 

18          December and it comes out in January.  We 

19          both make estimates, we both forecast as best 

20          we can.  We're not always going to be 

21          exactly, you know, forecasting the same 

22          numbers.

23                 And I think that is a little bit of 

24          what people are saying is a reduction in 


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 1          funds.  We are, as the executive director 

 2          mentioned, receiving more funds this year 

 3          than before.  But when we put a budget 

 4          together, I have to put a budget together 

 5          that isn't so tight that if one thing goes 

 6          wrong, suddenly we're out of kilter.

 7                 So within any budget, as any good 

 8          budget person would do, you try to make sure 

 9          you've got enough flexibility that you could 

10          handle something that just comes up 

11          unexpectedly.

12                 And that's why we're saying with the 

13          funding that we're receiving, we're very 

14          comfortable at this funding level that we're 

15          going to be able to continue through our 

16          four-year financial plan period without 

17          having to adjust fares or tolls or without 

18          having to adjust service levels, that we can 

19          accommodate where it is.

20                 I'd have to say, I have to be honest, 

21          I'd love to have all the money in the world.  

22          I'd love to have a lot more money.  But right 

23          now we also recognize that the MTA is part of 

24          the state government, and there are spending 


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 1          caps that the state is operating under.  And 

 2          we can't expect to be totally exempt from 

 3          limitations there.  

 4                 So what is really happening is we're 

 5          getting more money.  We are getting more 

 6          money.  We're not getting as much growth, 

 7          perhaps, as we might like, but that's just 

 8          the situation with a cap.  And so we can live 

 9          with that.

10                 SENATOR DILAN:  I am not going to 

11          belabor that here.  I hope that down the road 

12          you can document to me how you're figuring 

13          this out, and we will share that with the 

14          public.

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  

16          Certainly.

17                 SENATOR DILAN:  But a few more quick 

18          questions, if I may.  

19                 With respect to your additional 

20          ridership, how is that impacting your system 

21          with respect to your assets that you have to 

22          put out and the financial impact?  

23                 Also, I wanted to ask about -- very 

24          quickly -- about the status of the M train.  


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 1                 And lastly, last year I requested a 

 2          list of closed exits throughout the City of 

 3          New York.  Thank you, you did provide that 

 4          information to me.  And I believe that you 

 5          also have a proposal in regard to opening 

 6          some of those exits in view of the additional 

 7          ridership.

 8                 Thank you.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  On the -- 

10          as you know, because you've shown great 

11          partnership with us trying to do community 

12          outreach on both the M project and the 

13          project on the Canarsie Tunnel, the M project 

14          is proceeding.  We are -- we've awarded that 

15          contract and will be proceeding in the time 

16          frame that we've been discussing, which 

17          has us starting construction out there as 

18          well as up by Metropolitan Avenue, so it's 

19          Bushwick and up by Metropolitan Avenue.  

20                 And we will continue, by the way, our 

21          community outreach that we've been doing and 

22          that you've also participated in.  And we 

23          appreciate your support.

24                 SENATOR DILAN:  Additional ridership?  


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 1                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Oh, thank 

 2          you.  In terms of additional ridership, you 

 3          know, 6 million riders a day stresses a 

 4          system.  And it dovetails with how critically 

 5          important our capital program is, because we 

 6          have to continue to invest in our signal 

 7          system, in our rolling stock, having new 

 8          subway cars come onto the property.  All of 

 9          that contributes to improving service and 

10          improving the reliability of the system.  

11                 So the ridership is there.  We saw 

12          that on the Second Avenue Subway; when we 

13          opened the new line, it was immediately 

14          well-received in the community.  

15                 But we need to continue looking for 

16          opportunities through the capital program 

17          investments that we're making to be able to 

18          handle the ridership.  Fourteen of our 20 

19          subway lines are at track capacity today.  

20          That means that we couldn't put more subway 

21          cars on them unless we do more in terms of 

22          communications-based train control, in terms 

23          of changing the signaling system.  And that's 

24          why it's such an important part of our 


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 1          capital program investment.

 2                 You know, 30 percent of our signal 

 3          system, which is how we move trains on the 

 4          tracks -- 30 percent of that system was 

 5          installed when I was 5 years old.  So it 

 6          definitely needs further investment.

 7                 SENATOR DILAN:  Just also with the 

 8          yellow cabs, there's a 50-cent additional tax 

 9          on black cars that would normally go into the 

10          MTA budget.  With the advent of Uber, 

11          et cetera, what kind of revenue losses is 

12          being impacted?

13                 MTA CFO FORAN:  Our estimate of what 

14          Uber and Lyft and the other app-based 

15          carriers have done is about $12 million in 

16          loss.  And we estimated that, and we've seen 

17          it happen over the next years.  Now, what 

18          continues to go on, I don't know.  But it's 

19          been kind of two years running, about a 

20          $12 million reduction.  And we built that 

21          into our forecast and into our financial 

22          plan.

23                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Assembly?


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 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Ra.  

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chairman.  

 3                 So I want to go back to the 

 4          third-track project.  And I know you -- in 

 5          response to Senator Phillips and Senator 

 6          Young, you did talk, you know, a little bit 

 7          about an amendment to the capital program 

 8          that's being presented.  But can we delve a 

 9          little bit more into that?  

10                 There's obviously -- this is a large 

11          project.  And, you know, you may not have the 

12          full level of detail, but at this juncture 

13          we're at the end of the common period for the 

14          DEIS.  There's construction proposed to start 

15          taking place this year.  Can -- you know, is 

16          there some level of detail -- and I don't 

17          expect you to just, you know, pull it out and 

18          state it all here, but is there some further 

19          level of detail that can be given as to where 

20          this money is proposed to come from and what 

21          that means to the capital plan, both within 

22          the Long Island Railroad and the MTA capital 

23          plan?  

24                 Because obviously this is a big sum of 


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 1          money, and that amendment has to mean that 

 2          something else that was prioritized in this 

 3          capital program isn't going to get done.

 4                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So we've 

 5          discussed sort of the overall budget for the 

 6          third track as being $2 billion.  We are, 

 7          though, currently right now negotiating what 

 8          will be the design-build contract to advance 

 9          that project.  And we'll certainly know a lot 

10          more through the period of negotiations that 

11          we're in.

12                 We will be putting -- and that will 

13          inform the plan amendment and what we think 

14          will be required in order to award that 

15          contract.  And the award of the contract 

16          would come sometime later this summer, I 

17          think.  

18                 In terms of the funding sources --

19                 MTA SENIOR DIR. STEWART:  In terms of 

20          the funding sources, we'll be looking for 

21          efficiencies throughout the entire program to 

22          fund this.  We're not using federal dollars.  

23          Federal dollars usually make up about 

24          25 percent of our total program, and we 


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 1          usually look for larger projects to fund 

 2          those, like Second Avenue and East Side 

 3          Access.  

 4                 So we'll be looking for savings 

 5          throughout not only this program, but 

 6          previous programs that are wrapping up right 

 7          now that may provide us with some surplus.  

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay.  And just, you 

 9          know, with regard to that, there's been -- 

10          and I certainly will commend the agency and 

11          other people that are working on this program 

12          in terms of their outreach to the 

13          communities.  There are a lot of incorporated 

14          villages and other unincorporated areas along 

15          there, and I know there's been extensive 

16          dialogue.  

17                 But looking at it from being a 

18          representative of that area, there's a lot of 

19          different things that have been proposed and 

20          added to this.  And I'm very aware that that 

21          increases the cost.  But to try to help 

22          address the concern of those communities -- 

23          and until we see a full financial picture, I 

24          think it's hard to just look at that and say, 


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 1          okay, these are all the benefits the 

 2          community is getting and this is what they're 

 3          going to deal with.  Because, you know, I 

 4          guess you don't really know, until you know 

 5          the full financial picture, that the money is 

 6          going to be there to do those things that the 

 7          communities are asking for.

 8                 So I hope that looking into the 

 9          financial side of it, you know, will be a 

10          very transparent process and you continue 

11          that extensive dialogue both with local 

12          governments and with, you know, other 

13          community groups to make sure that 

14          information is disseminated to the public, 

15          because we -- I mean myself, I know Senator 

16          Phillips, Senator Hannon -- continue to hear 

17          from constituents who are very concerned with 

18          this, because it truly is construction in a 

19          lot of places that is going to be going on 

20          directly behind residents' houses.

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  

22          Absolutely agree.  And frankly, the EIS 

23          process under SEQRA demands that we do that.  

24          And it informs the scope of the project and 


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 1          the ultimately selected mitigation strategies 

 2          that are committed to through that process 

 3          and therefore have to be part of our funding 

 4          envelope.  

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  And I guess lastly 

 6          I'll just reiterate something that Senator 

 7          Phillips mentioned, and that's, you know, a 

 8          lot of these communities have looked at those 

 9          grade crossings for a very long time as a 

10          safety concern.  I think everybody agrees 

11          it's a safety concern.  And one of the things 

12          we continue to hear from our constituents is 

13          if it's a safety concern -- just like 

14          10 years ago, we're again hearing now, 

15          basically, it's a safety concern, but we'll 

16          address it as long as we do it as part of 

17          this third-track project.  So, you know, it's 

18          a kind of carrot-and-stick approach.  It 

19          ended up, you know, all falling by the 

20          wayside 10 years ago, and we're back there 

21          again.

22                 But I think for a lack of a better way 

23          of saying it, safety should stand for 

24          safety's sake, and not necessarily have to be 


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 1          tied to any other initiative.  

 2                 But I thank you for your time tonight.

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

 4          you.  

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 6          Assemblyman.  

 7                 Our next speaker is Senator Kaminsky.

 8                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Good afternoon, 

 9          Director.  How are you?

10                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Good, 

11          thank you.  

12                 I know you're new, but I'm just going 

13          to come right out with it.  My constituents 

14          are just describing and living through 

15          atrocious service by the Long Island 

16          Railroad.  It seems like every week there's a 

17          different delay, cancellation.  And they are 

18          just wondering what is happening.  Instead of 

19          us going in a direction where things are 

20          getting better, it seems like we're slipping 

21          backwards.  

22                 And I just -- I get emails about this 

23          almost every day.  And I'm going to read one 

24          in particular, it's actually one of the more 


                                                                  316

 1          polite ones, about the issue.  There's 

 2          obviously some with a lot more expletives in 

 3          them.  But I'll read this from Scott, in 

 4          Malverne.  

 5                 "Dear Senator Kaminsky, as one of your 

 6          constituents, I'd appreciate it if you would 

 7          be mindful of the service or lack thereof 

 8          that the Long Island Railroad has been 

 9          providing of late.  Yesterday evening, on 

10          February 7th, the entire signal system at 

11          Atlantic Terminal went down, forcing all 

12          commuters to go to Penn Station and 

13          overcrowding those trains.  This morning, 

14          some derailment occurred near Jamaica, 

15          interfering with the morning rush, with 

16          delays and cancellations.  

17                 "What is happening with the 

18          infrastructure as MTA continues to raise 

19          fares?  Perhaps this is one of those 

20          bipartisan topics that all Long Island Bay 

21          Senators can address.  Thank you."  

22                 What do I tell Scott and thousands of 

23          people like him?  

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I think 


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 1          the message back to your constituents, who 

 2          are our Long Island Railroad customers, is, 

 3          number one, we hear you.  Number two, we are 

 4          working to steadily improve.  

 5                 Those improvements happen over a 

 6          period of time.  Many of them are in fact 

 7          tied to the capital program and the 

 8          investments that we're making there.  We've 

 9          talked this morning about third track and the 

10          importance to that area.  Double track 

11          between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma will also 

12          be an important feature that will improve the 

13          reliability of the railroad.  

14                 Improving the station environs is 

15          going to be a critical part of the capital 

16          program now, so that your constituents will 

17          have a station environment, a platform 

18          environment that is better than the condition 

19          of the platforms that they're on today.  

20                 We are including the additional 

21          purchase of new M9s that will have all the 

22          features that a Long Island Railroad commuter 

23          wants.  

24                 We've talked briefly this afternoon 


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 1          about the mobile ticketing and trying to make 

 2          that a customer service amenity.  

 3                 You know, all of the work that we're 

 4          doing is intended to make the railroad better 

 5          and make it more reliable, as well as improve 

 6          the way we communicate with your 

 7          constituents, and through better customer 

 8          service.

 9                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  I appreciate that.  

10          I know Long Islanders feel that in light of 

11          the taxes they pay and the fares they pay, 

12          that they deserve that attention and more.  

13          And I would love to see the Long Island 

14          Railroad come up with a Marshall plan or the 

15          MTA come up with a Marshall-plan-type attack 

16          for the Long Island Railroad.  I know it's a 

17          big area you have, but it seems that we're 

18          taking steps backwards.  

19                 And while you brought up platforms, I 

20          just want to highlight two of mine.  I do 

21          appreciate in the budget that Baldwin and 

22          Valley Stream are going to get upgrades, but 

23          Lynbrook and Rockville Centre do need help.  

24          So I'm going to just show you a picture of 


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 1          the station at Lynbrook -- I'm going to show 

 2          you two pictures of the Lynbrook Station here 

 3          so you can see how much it's crumbling, and 

 4          there's big ice that freezes over in craters, 

 5          and rust everywhere.  And people are very 

 6          worried by the state of the station.  

 7                 And these are the steps in Rockville 

 8          Centre, which obviously have people 

 9          concerned.  

10                 So I would love to work with you on 

11          those particular two stations.  And if you or 

12          members of your staff would like to come out 

13          and tour them with me, I'd love them to get 

14          the attention that I think they deserve.

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  

16          Absolutely.  We look forward to working 

17          together.

18                 I will note that the Long Island has 

19          also been seeing record ridership.  We've 

20          talked a lot about how the increase in 

21          ridership stresses the system.  But the 

22          Long Island has also seen a commensurate 

23          improvement in on-time performance.  So the 

24          on-time performance now for 2016 was 


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 1          92.7 percent.  That's 1.1 percent higher than 

 2          the prior year.  

 3                 So they are trying and they are making 

 4          some improvements, but absolutely we'll come 

 5          out and take a look at those stations.

 6                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  I appreciate it.  

 7          And we've got a long way to go, but I do 

 8          appreciate your attention toward the issue.

 9                 Lastly, after a terrorist attack and 

10          an attempted attack last year in Chelsea in 

11          New Jersey, a number of us called for having 

12          cameras on trains and platforms, the Long 

13          Island Railroad response in a letter to me 

14          was, "We are doing that, it is being rolled 

15          out, it is just something that will take 

16          time."  

17                 Can you update us on where we are with 

18          the camera program?  Because I think it's 

19          certainly targets for would-be terrorists.  

20          And God forbid we have to consider that; this 

21          is the age we live in.  And I think people 

22          want to know that if a package is left on a 

23          platform or on a train that there's somebody 

24          who's going to be monitoring and picking that 


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 1          up.

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The Long 

 3          Island's plan has cameras being installed in 

 4          all of its stations, all 124 of its stations, 

 5          by 2019.  

 6                 In addition, all of the new M9 fleet 

 7          will include cameras as well.  And every 

 8          grade crossing modification will include 

 9          cameras as well.  Cameras are an integral 

10          part of what is really a multilayered 

11          security program that is both at the railroad 

12          and other areas of the MTA network.

13                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Okay.  And just 

14          finally, what about inside the train cars 

15          themselves?

16                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Inside 

17          the cars.  The new ones come with cameras, 

18          and the railroad will be working on a plan to 

19          retrofit the older railcars.  

20                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Okay, I think 

21          that's great.  I'm looking forward to working 

22          with you on that, and thank you for your time 

23          today.

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 


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 1          you.

 2                 SENATOR KAMINSKY:  Thank you, 

 3          Chairwoman.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 6                 Assemblyman Otis.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OTIS:  Thank you, 

 8          Mr. Chairman.

 9                 Welcome.  I want to talk to you about 

10          Metro-North and particularly the New Haven 

11          Line.  And I know you have experienced record 

12          ridership on all three lines.  The New Haven 

13          Line is your busiest line, but there has been 

14          for a long time now a large congestion 

15          problem, which it's not easy to solve, and we 

16          understand there are capacity issues and size 

17          of train issues and Connecticut issues.  

18                 But the frustration of riders, 

19          especially during commuting hours, is 

20          significant in that it is a daily occurrence 

21          where a significant number of people do not 

22          have seats, are standing.  And we need more 

23          cars, we need more trains, we need to figure 

24          out a way, given the space, time and 


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 1          platform-length issues, to still try and 

 2          address this serious need.  It is not going 

 3          to go away; the ridership continues to grow.  

 4                 So -- and I know, 15 days on the job, 

 5          you're not going to have all the answers.  

 6          I'd be a little harder if we were at 20 days, 

 7          but --

 8                 (Laughter.)

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN OTIS:  So whatever you can 

10          share now, and then -- and more follow-up 

11          after.  But not a new issue and something 

12          that we really need to address.

13                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  And let 

14          me start off by saying that I look forward to 

15          working together on some of these issues.

16                 The New Haven Line's on-time 

17          performance is at about 92.1 percent.  You're 

18          right -- increasing ridership, peak-hour 

19          scheduling is something that we have to take 

20          a look at.  There are limits to how many 

21          trains we can run through this corridor.  And 

22          so the Metro-North operations planning folks 

23          do look to see where they can move rolling 

24          stock and try to provide an additional train, 


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 1          but we're constrained by that, by the fact 

 2          that all of the lines, you know, need 

 3          additional rolling stock.  

 4                 There are procurements underway to 

 5          have some new cars delivered, but it takes 

 6          time.  

 7                 So part of it is going to be a 

 8          function of looking at schedules and looking 

 9          at ridership trends and seeing whether there 

10          are opportunities to adjust those schedules 

11          in order to better meet ridership.  But the 

12          New Haven Line, I've been on it, it's 

13          crowded.  I recognize that.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN OTIS:  Well, and I think 

15          that the -- while you've had ridership 

16          increases on the other lines, but there's a 

17          much -- there's a lot more space and a lot 

18          more seats on the Harlem and Hudson lines, 

19          and so while their ridership has gone up, 

20          they don't have as significant congestion 

21          issues or congestion issues at all if you 

22          just look at the comparables.

23                 So we really need to figure out a way 

24          to do it.  Some of it is maybe technology, 


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 1          because it's hard to tie more trains in a 

 2          limited space, I get that.  But we have to 

 3          come up with a better solution for our 

 4          customers.  

 5                 So thank you for the help on that, and 

 6          appreciate always the good help -- and we've 

 7          had great cooperation from MTA and 

 8          Metro-North, and we say thank you for that.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

10          you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, so it's our 

14          turn.  And that would be Senator Hoylman.

15                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, Madam 

16          Chair.  

17                 Very nice to see you this afternoon.

18                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thanks.

19                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Congratulations.  I 

20          guess when they say you have big shoes to 

21          fill, that's literally and figuratively.  And 

22          congratulations on being the first woman to 

23          head the largest transportation system in the 

24          country.


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 1                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

 2          you.

 3                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  I am a little 

 4          despondent about the $65 million cut, mainly 

 5          because transportation experts say for every 

 6          dollar we spend in mass transit, there's a $4 

 7          economic return.  

 8                 That said, I do appreciate the 

 9          outreach you've made with my community -- 

10          which is Manhattan -- around 14th Street on 

11          the coming L train shutdown.  As you know, 

12          60,000 riders take the L from river to river 

13          in Manhattan alone.  So that's a big concern 

14          to my constituents.  

15                 One of the things they're concerned 

16          about is what happens during that 18-month 

17          period aboveground when we may use that space 

18          for express buses, for example, or greater 

19          pedestrian access -- all good things, but 

20          we're concerned about the side streets and 

21          additional traffic.  Because as you know, 

22          14th Street is such an important artery for 

23          Manhattan.  

24                 We're trying to get the MTA to commit 


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 1          to public meetings -- and there's one 

 2          actually next week, which is a very positive 

 3          step.  But we're concerned about actually the 

 4          study to look at traffic patterns on 

 5          14th Street and making sure that my 

 6          constituents have a role in not just 

 7          examining the results of the study, but 

 8          participating in its design.  And 

 9          understanding when that study is going to 

10          take place, what the parameters of it will 

11          be, and its methodology, even.

12                 Could I get a commitment from you that 

13          you will meet with the local community 

14          specifically on the study to help design what 

15          it might look like and, you know, when we're 

16          prepared to move forward?  

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Why don't 

18          we do this.  A lot of this work is already 

19          underway, because we're -- as we've 

20          discussed, and being out in the communities, 

21          we want to be back out into the community 

22          with some further information about the 

23          alternatives that we're looking at.  And 

24          again, nothing's been decided yet.  


                                                                  328

 1                 Perhaps a good way to do it would be 

 2          to come out, talk to the community about what 

 3          we're doing, and hear back any other further 

 4          ideas or things they think we should be 

 5          looking at.

 6                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Well, I guess part 

 7          of that is going to happen next week, and a 

 8          lot of my constituents will be there to 

 9          discuss that.  They just want a seat at the 

10          table to make sure that you hear their 

11          concerns.  And again, I think you've been 

12          doing a terrific job up to now, but we have 

13          to make sure that that work continues.

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We'll 

15          continue to do that.  Thank you.

16                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  

17                 And in connection with the L train 

18          shutdown, the MTA has made a commitment for 

19          ADA accessibility and a second entrance at 

20          1st Avenue.  And that's a great legacy 

21          project, I think, that will come from your 

22          work on the L.  But beyond that, what about 

23          8th Avenue, 6th Avenue, Union Square, 

24          3rd Avenue, or the 1st Avenue stops?  Are you 


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 1          going to be looking at ADA accessibility for 

 2          those stops as well?

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  There are 

 4          some parts of our capital program that 

 5          include some ADA improvements.  But as part 

 6          of the L, I don't think beyond what we've 

 7          said is included in the project already, 

 8          which is the ADA accessibility at Avenue A 

 9          for the 1st Avenue station on the Manhattan 

10          side and another ADA accessible station in 

11          Brooklyn at Bedford Avenue.

12                 I think the other improvements that we 

13          would be looking to make would be other 

14          improvements but not elevators specifically 

15          along the L Line as part of the L project 

16          itself.

17                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Could -- I mean, I 

18          would urge you to reconsider that approach.  

19          And I was talking to my colleague from the 

20          Assembly who represents part of the district 

21          on the Lower East Side.  For example, the F 

22          train itself needs desperately elevator 

23          access for seniors.  What is the plan overall 

24          looking at ADA accessibility, and why isn't 


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 1          that like at the top of your agenda, given 

 2          the federal requirements?

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We have 

 4          an ADA program that we've been working on 

 5          quite diligently.  We have a commitment to 

 6          complete 100 stations of that -- I've 

 7          forgotten the precise number, but we'll get 

 8          back to you with the precise number.  But the 

 9          majority of that work is already completed, 

10          and then the other two projects I think 

11          remaining are in design already and will be 

12          advanced as part of this program.

13                 Aside from that, we've also advanced 

14          ADA accessibility beyond just the key station 

15          program as well.  So we have been looking for 

16          opportunities to pursue accessibility in the 

17          system.

18                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  And just 

19          three quick lightning-round questions.  

20                 One, a constituent who's concerned 

21          that -- they wish there was another way to 

22          get a refund on a card than just using snail 

23          mail.  Is there any thought to making that 

24          process more seamless and not having to mail 


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 1          in a request for a refund?

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We have a 

 3          customer service center on Stone Street, and 

 4          that would be an opportunity for them.

 5                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Okay.  I would urge 

 6          you to look at that.  

 7                 And then the issue of odd balances 

 8          left on MTA cards.  I get that question a 

 9          lot.  Will the fare increase address that?  

10          Will you still have to use those -- you know, 

11          those three kind of preset buttons that kind 

12          of result in you having five cents left on a 

13          card?  

14                 It seems that it's almost a scheme by 

15          the MTA to get some extra revenue.  I could 

16          be wrong.  But on that note, do you have any 

17          idea what the revenue totals are in terms of 

18          remaining balances on MTA cards, unused MTA 

19          cards?

20                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I don't.

21                 MTA CFO FORAN:  No, I don't know 

22          specifically on those cards.

23                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  I'd be very 

24          interested to know that, if you could get 


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 1          back to me.

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We can 

 3          get that information back to you, sir.

 4                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  That would be a real 

 5          step, I think, in customer service, to 

 6          eliminate those fare balances on MetroCards.  

 7          That's my two cents, so to speak.

 8                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  No, I 

 9          appreciate that.  

10                 One of the things that we've been 

11          discussing is and -- and rolling it out 

12          coincident with the upcoming fare increase is 

13          how to best educate our customer about what's 

14          the package of MetroCard purchase that works 

15          the best for them.  You know, should you buy 

16          that single ticket, should you look at buying 

17          a seven-day unlimited card, where are you 

18          traveling and what's the frequency of your 

19          travel.  

20                 So we have some folks thinking about 

21          how can we go out there and educate our 

22          customers about how to avoid exactly the 

23          issue that you're talking about.

24                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  And then finally, do 


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 1          you have a ballpark figure of what your cost 

 2          overruns are on an annual basis, or what they 

 3          were in the last calendar year?  

 4                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We've 

 5          actually brought our costs down.

 6                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  I'm sorry, 

 7          construction overruns is what the constituent 

 8          was referring to.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I don't 

10          have that figure handy, no.  We'll provide 

11          it.

12                 SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you very much.  

13          I appreciate it.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

15                 Assemblywoman Wright.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Good afternoon.  

17          Thank you for your answers and your comments 

18          earlier regarding your commitment to 

19          improving service and train reliability.  I 

20          live in a district that is serviced -- I 

21          share a border with Senator Dilan, so we have 

22          the J, the A and the C, the 3 and the 4 Lines 

23          as well as two of the SBS buses.  And I ride 

24          mass transit, I don't drive.  So I'm very 


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 1          familiar with the service and/or the lack 

 2          thereof in our community.  

 3                 And one of the biggest concerns, which 

 4          Senator Dilan brought up, is that we have 

 5          stations with only one exit that are 

 6          servicing over 30,000 people a day.  This is 

 7          out of one exit, and this is only the normal 

 8          flow of traffic of people getting off at that 

 9          station.  And it's particularly dangerous in 

10          this climate that we live in.  

11                 So I wanted to know are -- and so 

12          that's both on the J Line and on the A/C, 

13          particularly at the Nostrand Avenue station, 

14          where we have a closed exit at the Bedford 

15          end.  We would really appreciate if you could 

16          add that to your amended capital budget.  

17                 And also on the J Line we have 

18          numerous exits that are closed, and so it 

19          leaves patrons usually having about a 

20          four-minute process to actually exit a train 

21          station, and that means no flow of traffic 

22          can come onto the platform at that time.  And 

23          that's in both of those stations.

24                 So I would like to know from you if 


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 1          that could be added to the commitment to open 

 2          up those additional exits.

 3                 And then I notice you mentioned a 

 4          thousand new subway cars.  And I'm hoping 

 5          that that's going to result in additional 

 6          cars on the line.  So I noted you said that 

 7          you have to adjust the train controls.  Can 

 8          you please let me know if any of those 

 9          investments on the train control are going to 

10          happen on the A/C Line, and if it will result 

11          in additional cars -- trains on that line.

12                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Yeah, so 

13          a couple of points.  

14                 We actually are undertaking an 

15          inventory of some of our closed entrances 

16          along the lines that you're just talking 

17          about to see where there are opportunities to 

18          open those entrances.  And we'll undertake to 

19          complete that inventory and be out with any 

20          results around that.  That's first.

21                 In terms of capacity improvements, one 

22          of the things that we're looking at as we are 

23          receiving some new subway cars is trying to 

24          increase a little capacity on the A and the 


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 1          C.  One of the things we've been talking 

 2          about in light of the fact that we will have 

 3          the Canarsie Tunnel shutdown on the L, we 

 4          know that people will be diverting to 

 5          different train lines, and how to increase 

 6          what cars we have available -- using some of 

 7          those cars, by the way, on those different 

 8          lines.

 9                 So as we start to talking about what 

10          alternative service strategies we can unroll, 

11          I think this would be an opportune time to 

12          further that conversation with you.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Okay, great.  

14          Because I know whenever I leave between the 

15          hours of 7:00 and 8:00, I have to let at 

16          least one train pass me at the Utica Avenue 

17          Station.  So it's extremely crowded.  And 

18          we're like the five -- people are riding four 

19          stops, and then we get another load and then 

20          riding four to six more stops.

21                 Along the rollout of the SBS buses, 

22          the B46 -- I appreciate the service that it 

23          provides to our southern Brooklyn neighbors.  

24          However, it is a congestion nightmare in our 


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 1          district.  So north of Fulton Street, it 

 2          backs up, they arrive three at a time.  And I 

 3          just feel like it needs some attention.  

 4                 I know that you're trying to reduce 

 5          operating costs, and that has resulted in us 

 6          losing our token booth clerks.  

 7          Unfortunately, that is particularly dangerous 

 8          along our C Line, where people enter into 

 9          train stations, no one's down there, and 

10          oftentimes the MetroCard machines do not 

11          work.  So not only are they in a space that 

12          has no other human there, or no authorized 

13          human there, they're in a space where they 

14          can't even get access onto the platform where 

15          they might be able to have the company of 

16          other patrons.  

17                 So I don't know if there's any way you 

18          could bring them back, especially on local 

19          stations where there's no crossover between 

20          the two lines.  It's just dangerous.

21                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The 

22          challenge for us is balancing where to put 

23          those resources.  

24                 The one thing that we have done and 


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 1          want to continue is the rollout of the help 

 2          points, which provide emergency intercom 

 3          access at every platform.  And so that is 

 4          available, it is a safety feature.  

 5                 But I will take a look at the C 

 6          Stations.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  And if the 

 8          MetroCard machines are not working, therefore 

 9          patrons who -- God forbid if they have 

10          trouble walking up and down stairs.  They 

11          have to walk down, walk back up, go across 

12          the street, walk down, walk up, and then come 

13          across and walk back down.  And that's 

14          happened to me several times at the -- I want 

15          to say at the -- again, at the Nostrand 

16          Avenue Station.  And it's really -- that 

17          kills someone's experience, even if they 

18          normally have generally good experiences on 

19          the MTA.

20                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I'll take 

21          a look at that.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Thank you very 

23          much.  Those are the concerns.

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 


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 1          you.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  We've 

 3          been joined by Senator Leroy Comrie.  

 4                 And I want to give the members a sense 

 5          of what the batting lineup is.  Next we have 

 6          Senator Liz Krueger, then Senator Diane 

 7          Savino, Senator Roxanne Persaud, Senator 

 8          Elaine Phillips, and then, finally, Senator 

 9          Leroy Comrie.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

11                 Well, we had a chance to speak earlier 

12          today, so an hour's worth of my questions we 

13          already covered.  And many people covered 

14          many other questions.

15                 But I do want to ask just two that 

16          weren't brought up today.  So with East Side 

17          Access, which will start or end in my 

18          district -- I don't know how you define, one 

19          way or the other, Grand Central -- the 

20          eastbound rerouting project within that 

21          project had an appropriation increased almost 

22          10 times the original cost in the -- from the 

23          2014 draft plan.  So can you tell me what 

24          happened that would increase the cost by 


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 1          10 times?

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I don't 

 3          know the starting figures.  The current cost 

 4          for East Side Access I think is hovering at 

 5          about $10 billion.  The things that have 

 6          driven up costs on that, including some 

 7          construction contingencies that occurred 

 8          during the course -- increased costs for 

 9          support by Amtrak.  As you know, a tremendous 

10          amount of that work is performed by Amtrak 

11          forces, and we have to pay for that.  

12          Increasing costs with the finishes and the 

13          systems contracts that are underway right 

14          now.  

15                 I don't know, Craig, if you have any 

16          additional information on the --

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Because I think this 

18          was a 10 times increase just since 2014.  I 

19          mean, the East Side Access cost has just been 

20          skyrocketing since the beginning, right?  I 

21          mean, so much going on in Queens that costs 

22          so much more.  But this was a really big 

23          jump, and this just -- 

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The jump 


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 1          that I'm aware of is from 8.2 to 10.

 2                 MTA SENIOR DIR. STEWART:  Yeah.  It's 

 3          also associated with the additional schedule.  

 4          The schedule fell behind, so we added more 

 5          money for the number of years that were 

 6          slipped on the schedule.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  And the fact 

 8          that it was specific to the eastbound 

 9          reroute as opposed to the entire project 

10          doesn't trigger any other information for 

11          you?

12                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  No, but 

13          we'll go back and look at that and send you 

14          some information on that.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay, thank you.

16                 And then I asked this question of DOT 

17          earlier, but in fact they were right that I 

18          should be asking you, with the -- at least 

19          specific for downstate.  With the Governor's 

20          proposal -- sorry, just to get the name right 

21          for his -- give me one more second -- for his 

22          electronic LED bridge and tunnel lighting 

23          plan, how do we deal with the fact that 

24          research is showing, including from the 


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 1          American Medical Association, that there are 

 2          health impacts related to LED lighting, 

 3          particularly in relationship to sleep 

 4          effects?  And constituents complain -- at 

 5          least in the City of New York tend to 

 6          complain about light pollution and noise 

 7          pollution particularly coming into their 

 8          bedrooms.  And that in fact in 2014, we 

 9          passed a law called Dark Skies, which 

10          requires shielding of roadway lights and 

11          strict limits on decorative lighting 

12          strength.  

13                 So how are we going to mesh the 

14          Governor's current proposal with the law that 

15          we recently passed for, I think, some good 

16          reasons?

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So let me 

18          start off with the punch line, which is that 

19          this project, the illumination project, will 

20          be fully compliant with the Dark Skies Law.  

21          And so to the extent that that requires 

22          shielding fixtures, low-wattage LED fixtures, 

23          all of that will be part of this project and 

24          engineered in.


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 1                 This is an exciting program in terms 

 2          of the appearance of bridges, but we need to 

 3          be mindful and address all of the concerns 

 4          that were the genesis of the Dark Skies Law, 

 5          and we'll be compliant with that.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So MTA is not exempt 

 7          from the Dark Skies law, as far as you know.

 8                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Correct.  

 9          If we are exempt, we're not taking advantage 

10          of that.  We are complying with it.

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And you mentioned in 

12          your testimony that you're going to be 

13          rolling out your plan for contactless fare 

14          payments earlier than originally planned.  Is 

15          that going to come in a phased-in process?  

16          Do you have a plan for where you're piloting?  

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Yes, it 

18          will be phased in.  The initial -- one could 

19          say that the initial new fare payment has 

20          already begun, with the mobile eTickets that 

21          the railroads are now rolling out.  

22                 But our program will start off in a 

23          phased approach beginning in 2018.  And so we 

24          still will be using the MetroCard for some 


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 1          time but ultimately think that it's a great 

 2          advantage to have an open payment system 

 3          where whatever you choose to carry, whether 

 4          it's a phone, whether it's a credit card with 

 5          a chip, whether it's a fare card -- anything 

 6          that will be able to open the fare gate 

 7          contactlessly.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And are you assuming 

 9          you start on subways versus buses?

10                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We'll be 

11          starting on a limited number of subway 

12          stations, first with people that will have a 

13          joint ticket with the Long Island Railroad 

14          and also use the subway system.  So we'll 

15          target a few subway stations in the 

16          beginning.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

18                 Thank you.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

21                 Assemblywoman Hyndman.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Good 

23          afternoon, and congratulations.

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 


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 1          you.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  I represent an 

 3          area of Queens where the commute from door to 

 4          door from my door to Midtown Manhattan can 

 5          take approximately an hour and 50 minutes, 

 6          and that's on a good day.  So a lot of our 

 7          residents choose to take the Long Island 

 8          Railroad to cut down on their travel time.  

 9          And I know City Council is looking at what's 

10          called a Freedom Ticket.  

11                 But not to say it has to be the same 

12          price, but I have four Long Island Railroad 

13          stations in my district, and I know you've 

14          talked about increased ridership.  We're 

15          right on the borderline of Nassau County, so 

16          a lot of our residents choose to take the 

17          railroad.  What if any parity could be given 

18          to residents who live in New York City, 

19          especially in Queens?  I believe Queens has 

20          about 21 Long Island Railroad stations.  And 

21          I know other members in the Assembly, we have 

22          discussed making it fair for our constituents 

23          to also take the Long Island Railroad at a 

24          reduced cost.


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 1                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  When our 

 2          board recently considered the subject of 

 3          fares, they also considered this issue.  And 

 4          the direction that we got was to implement a 

 5          field study for the city zone area of the 

 6          Long Island Railroad, where we would 

 7          establish a ticket that would be somewhere 

 8          between a MetroCard ticket price and a 

 9          Long Island Railroad ticket price, but at a 

10          reduction.  We haven't determined what 

11          exactly that ticket price is going to be yet.  

12          But it is consistent to be able to bring 

13          people on the Long Island Railroad from that 

14          area of Queens and then over to the Atlantic 

15          Terminal, where there are then further 

16          opportunities for transfer.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  So not to 

18          Penn Station?

19                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The first 

20          part of the field study is to Atlantic 

21          Terminal, because that's where we have the 

22          capacity to take on additional ridership.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  You mentioned 

24          the new buses.  About how many did you say, 


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 1          900 new buses?

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thirteen 

 3          hundred.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thirteen 

 5          hundred.  How do you prioritize that?  

 6          Because a lot of our constituents, especially 

 7          the seniors, talk about the quality of buses 

 8          that we have.  How do you prioritize what 

 9          areas of the city get --

10                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  We've 

11          actually recently deployed I think nearly 70 

12          new buses in Queens.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  In southeast 

14          Queens?  

15                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Yes.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Okay.  And my 

17          last question also goes to my colleagues in 

18          Nassau with this third rail.  It would -- 

19          downtown Jamaica is about to experience or is 

20          experiencing tremendous growth, and building 

21          is going on.  How would this third rail 

22          affect Queens -- Jamaica, Queens, especially?  

23                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I don't 

24          think the third track in and of itself will 


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 1          have a further exacerbating impact on 

 2          Jamaica.  Jamaica, you're right, it's an area 

 3          of large growth.  We are looking at our 

 4          capital program for both the Long Island 

 5          Railroad improvements at Jamaica as well as 

 6          New York City Transit improvements at Jamaica 

 7          to see what we can do there.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  And do you 

 9          have a start date?  There's a bus depot -- 

10          it's fully funded, I believe, by the MTA -- 

11          on Merrick Boulevard.  Is there a start date 

12          for that bus depot which would tremendously 

13          help southeast Queens?  

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I don't 

15          know the start date, but we'll get that 

16          information to you.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Okay.  Thank 

18          you.

19                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

20          you.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So we'll go with 

23          Senator Phillips.

24                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  Thank you again.  


                                                                  349

 1          And I'll be quick.  So as someone who used 

 2          the Long Island Railroad for years and as a 

 3          working mother was extremely dependent on the 

 4          reliability and the on-time performance, 

 5          thank you for continuing to focus on that.  

 6                 But I will say -- Senator Kaminsky 

 7          brought it up -- it is very hard for 

 8          residents that on Long Island, where 

 9          affordability is so key, to embrace spending 

10          and paying, because there are no federal 

11          dollars that are being looked at -- even 

12          though I'm hoping we have a president that 

13          would make a commitment to this -- to absorb 

14          these additional costs, when the existing 

15          infrastructure -- like Senator Kaminsky's 

16          Valley Stream -- I'll use an example, 

17          Floral Park, who's had an elevator that has 

18          not worked, I'm told, for over a decade.  So 

19          it is very difficult for people to say they 

20          want additional tax dollars to go to new 

21          things when the current infrastructure isn't 

22          being maintained.

23                 So is there a commitment by the MTA to 

24          maintain the existing and then, if funding 


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 1          becomes available, for new infrastructure?  

 2          And what's the plan?  

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So in the 

 4          Long Island Railroad's existing capital 

 5          program of $2.8 billion, a portion of that 

 6          does goes go to station improvements.  In 

 7          addition, we are looking to see what other 

 8          station improvements can be done to make the 

 9          environment better, as safe as it possibly 

10          can be.  

11                 We spoke about a little bit about 

12          on-time performance increasing.  I should 

13          also mention that the fleet reliability has 

14          been steadily increasing as well.  All of 

15          those things help -- help -- the commuter 

16          recognize that the reliability of their 

17          service is improving.

18                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  Okay, if you can 

19          focus on some of the stations.  

20                 So I'd like to go back to the third 

21          track and the DEIS.  So the MTA concedes that 

22          this project will result in moving a lot of 

23          soil and lots of excavation of soil that's 

24          been used, in the past, in heavily industrial 


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 1          areas.  There is some concern, I know, over 

 2          in Greenridge on some soil testings that are 

 3          being done there.  

 4                 And I'd like to just emphasize that, 

 5          you know, Long Island's number-one resource 

 6          is our water.  We drink our groundwater.  So 

 7          what is the plan, I guess, for -- to test?  

 8          Will the testing results be made public?  And 

 9          is there a commitment, again, to make sure 

10          mitigation is done before a shovel gets into 

11          the soil?

12                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  The way 

13          the process works, as we identify 

14          environmental risks and impacts, we have to 

15          come up with a plan for mitigating them.  

16          That has to be part of what will ultimately 

17          be a final environmental impact statement.  

18          And that becomes a contract, if you will, 

19          with the public about how we're going to 

20          build this project and what we're going to do 

21          to ensure the environmental protections that 

22          you're exactly referring to.

23                 I don't know what the specifics are 

24          yet about what they've studied so far and 


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 1          what has or hasn't been made available.  But 

 2          I think in all of the community outreach that 

 3          we're doing and will continue to do, we 

 4          certainly can put that on the agenda of 

 5          something to discuss.

 6                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  That's a big 

 7          concern.  

 8                 So I would just like to reiterate my 

 9          thanks to you and the MTA for your efforts to 

10          engage the community during the scoping 

11          process, and you have my commitment to work 

12          with you.  But I will say there is much more 

13          work to be done.  

14                 And I'd like to get your commitment 

15          today that you will continue to hear the 

16          concerns of the communities and the people 

17          whose lives will be most disrupted by this 

18          mammoth project, that you'll make it a 

19          priority to see that their questions are 

20          answered and, as importantly, that there will 

21          be a continued engagement, should this 

22          project move forward, throughout the 

23          construction phase and afterwards.  

24                 I'd like to thank the chairmen and my 


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 1          colleagues for allowing me this additional 

 2          time to raise these important issues, and I'd 

 3          like to thank you and congratulate you and 

 4          your team for being here to speak with us 

 5          today.

 6                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

 7          you.  And you have our commitment that we 

 8          will continue working together with the 

 9          community.

10                 SENATOR PHILLIPS:  Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblywoman 

13          Simon.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

15                 And congratulations.  Always good to 

16          see a woman running a big operation.

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

18          you.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  I have a number 

20          of questions, so I'll kind of list them and 

21          then you can take them.

22                 Number one is one of my colleagues 

23          asked about the L train.  And I'm in downtown 

24          Brooklyn -- Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens -- 


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 1          where I have four or five stations in my 

 2          district that are affected by the F 

 3          non-express.  And it is where the greatest 

 4          ridership is, and where we are going to have 

 5          a 50 percent reduction in service.

 6                 There is a separate train track 

 7          underneath that I understand that hasn't been 

 8          restored because of a fire at Bergen 

 9          Street -- which was probably 25 years ago.  I 

10          remember that happening.

11                 But with the L train going out, that's 

12          also the G, and that's going to put greater 

13          reliance on the G train.  And of course the 

14          greater ridership for all of those is up to 

15          Church Avenue.  

16                 So we have been trying to get a 

17          meeting with MTA people for months and months 

18          and months and haven't been able to do that.  

19          But the elected officials in the area are all 

20          very concerned.  And so I (a) would like to 

21          know what can be done, if we can, to 

22          alleviate that, what I think is going to be 

23          kind of a perfect storm on the F train, and 

24          those impacts.  


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 1                 My other issue is ADA accessibility.  

 2          You know, when they redid 9th Street, Smith 

 3          and 9th, it's the highest station in the 

 4          system, they didn't put in any elevators.  

 5          Which was really a shame to do that.  It 

 6          wasn't on the list.  But you know, that list 

 7          of key stations, some of those stations 

 8          aren't key anymore and other stations are.  

 9          Because I know people who were involved with 

10          that case when it was settled, and it's been 

11          a long, long time to bring that up.

12                 But also the elevators not working, 

13          and escalators.  And for people with mobility 

14          impairments that are not wheelchair users, 

15          people with heart conditions, escalators are 

16          extraordinarily important.  And that's a real 

17          problem.  And it's a real problem at Smith 

18          and 9th.

19                 The other issues also on the F is the 

20          York Street Station, which is one of those 

21          stations with only one exit, and it's in 

22          Dumbo.  And it's got increased -- it serves 

23          Dumbo and Vinegar Hill, which has increased 

24          population and more and more building every 


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 1          day in that area.  And what can be done to 

 2          look at the capital costs of adding an exit 

 3          to the York Street Station.

 4                 And then the B71 bus, which we have 

 5          actually plotted out a smoothed route, which 

 6          had been cut years ago and really has hurt 

 7          seniors and schoolchildren the most.  But we 

 8          actually have a proposal for it, done by 

 9          colleagues who are transit professionals, 

10          which I think I would really like to have 

11          that looked at.  

12                 That was that long list, I'm sorry.  

13          Thank you.

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  No, I 

15          appreciate that.  And you've touched on a 

16          number of issues.  The first -- let me start 

17          off with how much work we're doing on the F 

18          right now.  We have work going on both -- you 

19          know, and it affects our weekday service and 

20          our weekend service, along the Culver Line.  

21          And you're aware of that and the impacts 

22          that's been having.  

23                 We've been out trying to talk to 

24          customers and educate them about how best to 


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 1          travel through that corridor, recognizing 

 2          that we need to get that work done and we 

 3          need to get it done as quickly as possible.  

 4          And the early looks that I've gotten, they're 

 5          great.  The station improvement work is 

 6          really coming along nicely.  But that, in and 

 7          of itself, has caused a change in service on 

 8          the F.  And so we're not able to implement 

 9          further changes on the F, because we have to 

10          get this capital program done.

11                 And then you mentioned the L Line, and 

12          the L work is going to start in the first 

13          quarter of 2019.  And that's going to, you're 

14          right, have further cascading impacts, even 

15          though we don't know quite yet what the 

16          alternate service plans are.  But we think 

17          that people are going to go to other subways.

18                 We're going to look at opening exits 

19          that are currently closed.  We'll look at 

20          what we can do at Church Avenue.  But all of 

21          which means that whatever had been previously 

22          studied in terms of an F Express, we really 

23          have to get all this other work underway 

24          before we could take another look at that 


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 1          report.

 2                 So from my own perspective, you know, 

 3          glad to talk with you about it further, but 

 4          we really need to stay focused on the work 

 5          that we have on our plate, because it's a 

 6          lot.  It's a very large plate.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Well, we've been 

 8          told that the F Express, which would improve 

 9          times further out in Brooklyn by four or five 

10          minutes, but then really curtail the 

11          experience from Church Avenue to where my 

12          route would end in York Street just before it 

13          goes into Manhattan, we would have a 

14          50 percent reduction, because it would stop 

15          every other train.  

16                 We are told that that will go into 

17          effect in the summer.  Which is of great 

18          concern to people because we haven't been 

19          able to have this looked at by talking with 

20          the MTA about it, and it seems to us kind of 

21          precipitous given those other issues that you 

22          just mentioned in terms of the work.

23                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I think, 

24          you know, the new news for us is that we are 


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 1          doing all of this work and we will be having 

 2          the Canarsie shutdown.  And we know that the 

 3          F is going to be impacted because of the 

 4          Canarsie shutdown because it shares tracks 

 5          with the M and the G, and we know we have to 

 6          increase some capacity on those lines.  

 7                 So I think we should talk further 

 8          about what the service strategies are, but a 

 9          lot of work has to happen -- and a lot of 

10          work is underway already -- before we would 

11          revisit that issue.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Okay.  Thank you 

13          very much.

14                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

15          you.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Senator.  

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Savino is 

18          next, then Senator Persaud, then Senator 

19          Comrie. 

20                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

21          Young.

22                 Thank you, Director Hakim.  I know 

23          you've been here for quite a while --

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 


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 1          you.

 2                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So I know my good 

 3          colleague from Staten Island addressed most 

 4          of the Staten Island-based issues, so I won't 

 5          go over them again, and I'm going to try and 

 6          stay within the five-minute questioning 

 7          period.  

 8                 I want to talk a bit about south 

 9          Brooklyn, though.  We were very happy to see 

10          the extension of the F Express service coming 

11          out to Coney Island.  It's going to be a big 

12          help to the people on the south end of 

13          Brooklyn.  And as you know, in 2010 when 

14          those big service reductions were put in 

15          place, we lost a lot of express bus service, 

16          which the people of south Brooklyn really 

17          depend upon.  Some of it's been restored, but 

18          not a lot of it, and there are some real 

19          service gaps in south Brooklyn.  

20                 And part of the problem is we also 

21          have a large senior population around, you 

22          know, the Warbasse Houses and Trump Village 

23          and Luna Park.  And those seniors depended on 

24          some of those express buses; they're not 


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 1          there now, and they now have to rely on the 

 2          trains and the subway, which is an elevated 

 3          line at Neptune Avenue.  And there's no 

 4          elevator there for them.  It has become a 

 5          real problem for people accessing the subway 

 6          there.  

 7                 And we're hoping that in the capital 

 8          budget going forward, that there's a way that 

 9          your agency can find to build an elevator for 

10          the Neptune Avenue Station.  It's critically 

11          important.  It's not only a NORC, it's also a 

12          designated evacuation area.  And we saw what 

13          happened after Hurricane Sandy, where 

14          thousands of residents of Warbasse and Trump 

15          and Luna Park were stranded in their homes 

16          for days, and had we had to evacuate them, 

17          there would have been no way for us to get 

18          them onto the subway.  They just physically 

19          are incapable of doing so.

20                 So we would hope -- you know, we've 

21          written to the agency, we've had many 

22          conversations with Tom, your predecessor, in 

23          the past, and we know, you know, the 

24          difficulties of allocating capital funding.  


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 1          But, you know, in this huge capital budget we 

 2          really hope that you will find a way to add 

 3          elevator service to the Neptune Avenue 

 4          Station.

 5                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I'll take 

 6          a look at that.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  And on 

 8          that note, I am done.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Senator?  

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

11                 Next is Senator Roxanne Persaud.

12                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Good afternoon.  

13          Thank you very much for being here, Madam 

14          Director.

15                 You know, my colleagues have been 

16          asking about the L train, and I happen to 

17          represent Canarsie.  And I think first we 

18          have to change the -- when we speak of the 

19          L train, we have to let people know that it's 

20          not a shutdown in Canarsie, because everyone 

21          is panicking when you say "the L train 

22          shutdown."  We have to change the messaging 

23          when we're talking about the train.

24                 That being said, last year we had a 


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 1          hearing in Canarsie, with everyone coming to 

 2          talk about what to expect and ask for 

 3          suggestions and all of that.  And many people 

 4          asked about ferry service leaving from the 

 5          Canarsie Pier, and we were told that a study 

 6          was going to be commenced and we would hear 

 7          something about it.  

 8                 We were also told that, you know, 

 9          Canarsians can transfer at Broadway Junction.  

10          The problem at Broadway Junction that 

11          everyone is talking about, it's not 

12          ADA-accessible.  If you travel the L train 

13          and you're coming from Rockaway Parkway and 

14          you're transferring to the A, the C, the J, 

15          the M, any of those trains there, there's no 

16          way for people who are physically challenged 

17          to go anywhere.  And so that's their main 

18          transfer point.  

19                 We asked about having a study done 

20          about fixing that station.  Can you tell us 

21          where it is?  Has anything been done?  

22                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  So we're 

23          in the planning stage right now of gathering 

24          information, getting a lot of feedback from 


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 1          the communities that we've been out and doing 

 2          outreach in, understanding what different 

 3          paths of travel are and what the potential 

 4          alternative service plans can be.

 5                 What we were planning on is coming 

 6          back out to the communities in the summer 

 7          time frame when we have more information 

 8          about what we think makes sense for an 

 9          alternate service plan, to again get some 

10          feedback about whether our plans will meet 

11          the communities' needs.  And we'll do that.

12                 In terms of the ferry at Canarsie, I 

13          don't remember a study being undertaken, but 

14          I'll take that back and we'll work with DOT, 

15          because they franchise the ferry service for 

16          the city and they would be part of our 

17          partnership in terms of increasing ferries as 

18          part of this alternative service plan during 

19          the limited shutdown of the Canarsie Tube 

20          from Bedford Avenue to 8th Avenue in 

21          Manhattan.  

22                 Thank you for correcting me, because 

23          you're correct, for the 200,000 people that 

24          travel on the L from Canarsie into 


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 1          Williamsburg, that travel will continue to be 

 2          the case.

 3                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  I'll explain that to 

 4          my colleague.  Senator Dilan also wanted to 

 5          make sure everyone knew that.

 6                 In terms of -- we were talking about 

 7          ADA.  I have all of the elevated train 

 8          stations across the East New York end of my 

 9          district.  Lots of seniors.  There's no way 

10          for them to get up and down those stairs.  

11          Maybe someone from MTA should try walking 

12          those stairs on a daily basis to see what the 

13          seniors have to go through.  We have to do 

14          something about people getting up and down, 

15          so they can access the trains.  

16                 Whether it's the New Lots Station, 

17          Pennsylvania Avenue Station, every one of the 

18          elevated stations, there is no way for 

19          physically challenged people to get up there.

20                 Transportation around there is also 

21          limited.  So you have people -- I've stood 

22          there by the New Lots Station, and they're 

23          taking taxis from New Lots to get to other 

24          stations, to the train, which is costing them 


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 1          additional funding just to be able to take an 

 2          elevator to get to a train.  That should not 

 3          be.  We have to look at the way we are 

 4          offering transportation services to the 

 5          people in the eastern part of Brooklyn.

 6                 Then we're looking at -- I'll talk 

 7          about all my train stations -- Rockaway 

 8          Parkway Station.  You know, the L train 

 9          begins and ends there, right?  For many years 

10          we've been asking about the renovation of 

11          that station.  The Rockaway Parkway Station, 

12          if you're standing there and there's a 

13          rainstorm, it's like you may as well be 

14          standing on the street in the rain.  When is 

15          that station going to be fixed?  The 

16          turnstile -- it's congested.  Coming from the 

17          turnstile, the wait area -- it's not a 

18          waiting area, and people are crammed there.  

19          It's filthy.  It's the -- it's -- just 

20          everything about that station has to be 

21          looked at.  

22                 There are many buses also that are 

23          leaving from that station.  The congestion, 

24          it's an accident waiting to happen again.  We 


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 1          have to look at that Rockaway Parkway 

 2          Station.

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I agree 

 4          with you.  I've been out there.

 5                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Let me finish with 

 6          the L train stations.

 7                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I agree 

 8          with you.

 9                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  And then the 

10          108th Station, we have to look at that.  

11          That, there's only one entrance, one exit.  

12          You have to go up multiple stairs to go up 

13          and then to come down to get the train.  And 

14          everyone is doing this (gesturing) to get 

15          around each other.  

16                 It's desolate.  And if you know where 

17          that station is, it's behind everything else.  

18          There was an open landfill that now we're 

19          using it for a construction project, which 

20          now has brought some light to the area.  But 

21          other than that, it's a desolate area.  

22                 The lighting at the station itself is 

23          poor.  We have a methadone clinic next door 

24          to that station.  We have people using that 


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 1          station -- and I'm constantly calling the 

 2          police department, because no one is 

 3          controlling it -- we have people using that 

 4          station for their drug activity.  We have to 

 5          do something with the East 108th Station, 

 6          because I do not want another constituent of 

 7          mine to be hurt at the 108th Station.  

 8                 Thank you.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

10          you.  Let me start with Rockaway Parkway, 

11          because I agree with you that the station 

12          itself needs work.  

13                 The intermodal transfer between the 

14          bus and the station is something that has to 

15          be reconfigured.  And so I'm asking our 

16          engineers to take a look at that in the 

17          context of while we're doing all this other 

18          work on the L, what we can do for the 

19          Rockaway Parkway Station.  And we'll take a 

20          look at that.

21                 And the other points you're raising, 

22          I'll take them back and be glad to come out 

23          and meet with you about them.

24                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Okay.  We didn't -- 


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 1          we called your office trying to schedule 

 2          something, and they're just like, Oh -- no 

 3          one really wants to commit to anything.  So 

 4          could you please ask your staff to commit to 

 5          something.

 6                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I will.

 7                 Thank you.  

 8                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you very much.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Assembly?

10                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

11                 No?

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  All set.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Anyone else?

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Senate?  

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Oh, sorry, then we 

16          have an additional Senator, Senator Leroy 

17          Comrie, from Queens.

18                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Good afternoon.

19                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Good 

20          afternoon.

21                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you for being 

22          here and taking all these --

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Microphone?

24                 SENATOR COMRIE:  I thought it was on.


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 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  A little 

 2          closer, thank you.

 3                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay.  I'll try to 

 4          talk louder.  

 5                 Thank you for being here and taking 

 6          all of these it seems like complaints.  I 

 7          might as well add my mine in also.

 8                 I wanted to just emphasize the -- I 

 9          understand the Freedom Ticket pilot is 

10          launching.  I would hope that we have a 

11          chance to review opportunities to do 

12          increased stops in the 14th Senate District, 

13          including especially the Hollis Station, the 

14          St. Albans Station.  

15                 The desire for ridership is up, the 

16          desire to save seven hours a week in 

17          transportation back and forth to Manhattan is 

18          there.  I understand that there is available 

19          ridership now that could be taken at both the 

20          St. Albans Station, the Hollis Station, and 

21          the Laurelton Station, because you have cars 

22          that are coming into those stations that have 

23          room in the morning rush and in the p.m. 

24          rush.  So I would hope that we can take 


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 1          advantage of that right now.

 2                 I want to thank Hector Garcia, he's 

 3          Queens rep for the Long Island Railroad.  He 

 4          has been responsive to a degree to making 

 5          sure that we can get at least some responses 

 6          to the maintenance repairs that need to be 

 7          done at the Laurelton Station, the St. Albans 

 8          Station.  He has come out to meetings with 

 9          the community groups that are involved with 

10          it, and we want to make sure that that 

11          continues and there's some follow-up.

12                 I wanted to talk to you about two 

13          major items, which is Belmont Park.  Belmont 

14          Park touches my district and Senator 

15          Phillips' district.  We see that there would 

16          be a great opportunity there if we could get 

17          a 24-hour station there where people could 

18          stop -- you know, as you know, Belmont Park 

19          has a major parking lot.  It would take in a 

20          lot of residents from my district, the 

21          Queens Village-Bellerose-Hollis-Laurelton 

22          area, and a lot of folks from the 

23          Valley Stream-Elmont area.  There's no reason 

24          not to open Belmont Park.  When it's open for 


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 1          the Belmont Stakes, it has a heavy ridership.  

 2          And it would be able to sustain that 

 3          ridership if we could open that up as a 

 4          full-time Long Island Railroad station.  

 5                 And I haven't heard about that in the 

 6          capital plan.  I would hope that we could do 

 7          something to make that happen.  As you know, 

 8          there are a lot of opportunities at Belmont 

 9          Park, and there's a lot of traffic that goes 

10          up and down the Cross Island Parkway now.

11                 The main thing that I would want to 

12          ask you about is the Holban Rail Yards.  I'm 

13          still getting complaints about the station 

14          idling and the trains, for whatever reason, 

15          all night they're hitting their sirens or 

16          their -- 

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Which 

18          yard is that, I'm sorry?

19                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Holban Rail Yard.  

20          It's along Liberty Avenue in my district.  

21          It's your main repair station for your 

22          trains.  It has both an indoor facility and 

23          an outdoor facility.  But primarily the 

24          outdoor facility, which runs along Dunkirk 


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 1          Street on one side, and 180th Street on the 

 2          other side, is an outdoor facility where they 

 3          repair the trains.  And for whatever reason, 

 4          all night they're both idling, which is a 

 5          problem for the area, because we already have 

 6          high asthma in that area.  

 7                 And the other thing is that when I 

 8          open my window -- and I'm 20 blocks away from 

 9          the system -- at night I can hear the -- I 

10          guess it's the siren or the train whistle or 

11          whatever they want to call it.  There's 

12          constant train whistles going on even, at 

13          4 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the morning when 

14          the yard should be empty.  

15                 So if you could have someone get back 

16          to us on that --

17                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM: 

18          Absolutely.

19                 SENATOR COMRIE:  -- and try to figure 

20          out exactly what's going on there.  You know, 

21          because that's been a problem for some time.  

22          And again especially the piece that's going 

23          on between Dunkirk on one side, 180th Street 

24          on the other side, bounded by Liberty and 


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 1          Farmers Boulevard on the north and south.  

 2                 It's been irritating my constituents 

 3          for a while.  That's a historic district in 

 4          Addisleigh Park over there, and they're kind 

 5          of fed up with it.  

 6                 I appreciate, as I said, everything 

 7          that has been getting done.  Hector Garcia 

 8          has been responsive as far as getting back to 

 9          us.  But on the details on idling, it's a 

10          major problem.  

11                 And if we could get Belmont up and 

12          running, I think that the Long Island 

13          Railroad would be pleased at the amount of 

14          income that would be coming from there as 

15          well.  So with that --

16                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  I'll take 

17          those issues back.

18                 SENATOR COMRIE:  That's my partial 

19          list.  And again, I want to thank Hector for 

20          being responsive and I hope that at the end 

21          of the day we can get all these problems 

22          resolved.

23                 Thank you.  

24                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 


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 1          you, Senator.

 2                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you for wanting 

 3          to serve.  I know it cannot be easy to get 

 4          complaints all day, and I appreciate you 

 5          wanting to stay in service in this way.  

 6          Thank you.

 7                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

 8          you.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  We're all set.  

11          Thank you so much for being here today.

12                 INTERIM EX. DIRECTOR HAKIM:  Thank 

13          you.  Thank you very much.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Truly appreciate 

15          your testimony.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Next, the New York 

19          State Thruway Authority, Bill Finch, acting 

20          executive director.  

21                 Good afternoon.

22                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Good 

23          afternoon.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  And welcome.


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 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Chairperson 

 2          Young and Chairperson Farrell and members of 

 3          the Senate and Assembly fiscal and 

 4          transportation committees, thank you for 

 5          having me here today.  My name is Bill Finch, 

 6          I'm acting executive director for the 

 7          New York State Thruway Authority.

 8                 The Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway 

 9          is a 570-mile superhighway crossing New York 

10          State, and is one of the longest toll 

11          superhighway systems in the United States. 

12          Approximately 250 million vehicles travel 

13          more than 8 billion miles on the Thruway each 

14          year.  In addition to being the principal 

15          artery of travel and commerce within New York 

16          connecting many of the state's principal 

17          cities, the Thruway is a vital link to long 

18          distance interstate travel.  In addition, the 

19          Thruway provides the major route of access 

20          for visitors to the state's tourism anchors, 

21          including Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes, 

22          the Adirondacks, the Catskills and New York 

23          City.

24                 I want to begin by recognizing that 


                                                                  377

 1          the New NY Bridge project, one of the largest 

 2          and safest bridge projects in the nation, has 

 3          been and continues to be a national model of 

 4          design-build construction.  I am happy to 

 5          report that it is on track to open in 2018 

 6          and is currently on budget at $3.98 billion.

 7                 In December 2016, Governor Cuomo 

 8          celebrated the topping off of the eight 

 9          iconic main towers, a milestone moment.  As 

10          of January 2017, more than 1,000 piles have 

11          been installed in the Hudson River and 

12          approximately 90 percent of all the support 

13          structures have been put in place.  That 

14          includes 126 of the massive steel girder 

15          assemblies.

16                 The 2018 Executive Budget includes a 

17          reappropriation of nearly 2 billion from the 

18          Special Infrastructure Account for the 

19          Thruway Stabilization program.  This money 

20          will continue to support capital investments 

21          including the New NY Bridge and other capital 

22          projects throughout the system.  We are 

23          grateful for this continuing support of the 

24          New NY Bridge project and the recognition of 


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 1          our system-wide capital needs.  This support 

 2          enables tolls to remain frozen at current 

 3          levels until at least 2020.

 4                 The Executive Budget also includes 

 5          making permanent the Infrastructure 

 6          Investment Act that is set to expire this 

 7          year.  This proposal will enable the Thruway 

 8          Authority to continue using design-build 

 9          contracting, which is a driving force behind 

10          the New NY Bridge project.

11                 The Executive Budget, in order to 

12          ensure that all motorists using the Thruway 

13          pay their fair share, includes making the 

14          intentional non-payment of tolls "theft of 

15          services."  It allows DMV to enter into 

16          reciprocity agreements with other states and 

17          provinces to go after toll scofflaws, and it 

18          increases the penalties for obscuring license 

19          plates -- a tactic frequently used by toll 

20          evaders.

21                 The overall 2017 Thruway Authority 

22          budget represents a total financial 

23          commitment of $1.8 billion.  It is a budget 

24          that is balanced, provides the necessary 


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 1          resources to keep our patrons safe, and 

 2          maintains our facilities and assets.  It 

 3          maximizes funding for critical infrastructure 

 4          projects of the Authority's multi-year 

 5          capital campaign and our comprehensive 

 6          efforts will improve operations.  This budget 

 7          reflects our long-term commitment to keep the 

 8          Thruway Authority on a sound fiscal footing.

 9                 In closing, let me take this 

10          opportunity to acknowledge our employees' 

11          hard work and dedication and ongoing 

12          commitment to the highest standards of safety 

13          and reliability in every area of our 

14          operation.  I'd like to extend special thanks 

15          to Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton, 

16          and New York Power Authority President and 

17          CEO Gil Quiniones and all of the Canal and 

18          Thruway Authority and NYPA employees for 

19          working tirelessly to ensure the smooth and 

20          efficient transfer of the Canal Corporation.

21                 Thanks for your time, and I'd be happy 

22          to answer any questions you might have.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Director 


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 1          Finch, for being here.  

 2                 And as a frequent user of the Thruway 

 3          and as someone who has the Thruway going 

 4          through my district in Chautauqua County, I 

 5          just want to say, number one, thank you, to 

 6          you and everyone who works for the authority, 

 7          for everything that you do.

 8                 I was happy to hear that you 

 9          referenced the $2 billion that we have passed 

10          in the last two budgets, and there's a 

11          reapprop this year by the Governor.  But --  

12          and you reference, I'm all happy to hear you 

13          say this, that there's not going to be a toll 

14          increase until at least 2020.  

15                 Does that take into consideration the 

16          Tappan Zee Bridge?  Because there's a lot of 

17          fear around the state that because of the 

18          costs related to the Tappan Zee Bridge, that 

19          there could be a systemwide toll increase at 

20          some point in the near future.  You're saying 

21          definitively today that that won't happen?  

22                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  That will not 

23          happen.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.


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 1                 When do you think the Thruway 

 2          Authority will release a financial plan for 

 3          the new Tappan Zee Bridge project?  Including 

 4          how much bridge tolls might need to increase 

 5          and when they would increase.  

 6                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, 

 7          currently we have the $1.6 billion of the 

 8          TIFIA loan, $1.2 billion from the 

 9          stabilization loan, and $850 million from our 

10          own debt, our own borrowing -- which is 

11          $3.65 billion on a budget of 3.98.  So the 

12          shortfall is about $330 million, and we'll be 

13          looking at all the traditional sources to 

14          fill that gap.

15                 In terms of the tolls, Senator, 

16          they're frozen until 2020.  We have the 

17          fiscal ability to handle our expenses, and 

18          we're pretty excited about that and the 

19          opportunities that it affords our patrons.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

21                 Is there a financing that's overdue 

22          right now for that project?

23                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Overdue 

24          financing?


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 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.  Is it 

 2          overdue?  Was there supposed to be another 

 3          financing, and is it overdue right at the 

 4          moment?

 5                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Not that I'm 

 6          aware of.  We do have the gap of 

 7          $330 million, and we'll be looking at 

 8          traditional borrowing sources to fill that 

 9          gap.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.

11                 What is the status of the New NY 

12          Bridge Toll Advisory Task Force that was 

13          announced when the Governor brought it 

14          forward in late 2015?

15                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  The toll 

16          advisory task force has not met, and we don't 

17          plan on it meeting since tolls are frozen 

18          until 2020.  It would be closer to  that time 

19          that it would meet.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So -- okay, so 

21          you're just saying because the tolls are 

22          frozen that there's no need for the task 

23          force.  I see.  Could they talk about, 

24          potentially, resident and computer discount 


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 1          toll programs, though?

 2                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, I don't 

 3          think there's anything off-limits to the 

 4          Thruway Toll Commission when it convenes.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Well, thank 

 6          you.  But you're saying it won't convene 

 7          until 2020?  Okay, so we won't see any 

 8          discounts before then either.

 9                 Please comment on the operational 

10          savings and financial improvements that have 

11          taken place at the Thruway over the past few 

12          years.

13                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, we were 

14          encouraged by the Comptroller's study that 

15          showed that we had taken some pretty good 

16          cost savings, and I think the easiest way to 

17          think of this at the Thruway is since 2010, 

18          every year our costs have been under a 

19          1 percent increase in terms of our cost of 

20          operations.  So we've been tightening the 

21          belt, we've been frugal, and we're going to 

22          continue to do that.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Great.  Is your 

24          fiscal condition stronger today than it was?


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 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  I would say 

 2          yes.  Our revenues are up.  We're really 

 3          excited about the fact that people are 

 4          choosing the Thruway as this wonderful, safe 

 5          alternative and our employees are very proud 

 6          to present that product each and every day.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 8          Director.  What's the opinion of the bond 

 9          rating agencies of the Thruway Authority?

10                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, we 

11          haven't been to the market in a little while.  

12          The last time we did very well.  I do believe 

13          there's a minor suggestion in the budget to 

14          change the way that we bond that would make 

15          it even easier for us to bond.  That's in the 

16          budget proposal.

17                 But the bond rating agencies seem to 

18          like us.  They seem to like user-driven 

19          facilities, user-fee-driven facilities.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Now, you've been 

21          using cashless tolling at the Tappan Zee, 

22          right?

23                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Yes.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What's your 


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 1          experience there in using that?

 2                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, you 

 3          know, it's new and it took us a while to get 

 4          used to it.  But the social benefits are 

 5          enormous.  People aren't struggling for 

 6          change, they're not changing lanes -- we have 

 7          a 60 percent drop, every time toll roads take 

 8          out a tollbooth, in rear-end collisions.  

 9                 We have a tremendous savings of air 

10          pollution, 7800 tons a day of greenhouse 

11          gases that we're no longer pumping into the 

12          environment.  And wait times are about -- 800  

13          hours, depending on the size of the toll and 

14          the traffic in them, but -- the average 

15          tollbooth saves about 800 hours to the 

16          patrons.  

17                 So convenience and everything else has 

18          been -- the social benefits have been 

19          enormous.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What are the 

21          authority's plans for going to cashless 

22          tolling systemwide?

23                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  You know, I 

24          think it's certainly part of the future 


                                                                  386

 1          that's coming everywhere on toll roads.  But 

 2          we've looked at it, and we have no plans 

 3          right at the moment.  We have that at the 

 4          Tappan Zee.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.  

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Hi.  I just would 

 7          like to ask -- I asked the Transportation 

 8          commissioner about the I Love NY signs and 

 9          the numbers that have been installed, and he 

10          shared with us the numbers and the cost of 

11          that.  Do you have the numbers along the 

12          Thruway and the cost of those as well?

13                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  I do.  

14                 And first let me say how excited we 

15          were, and our employees were, to participate.  

16          You know, everybody at the Thruway is proud 

17          of their job, but they're even prouder of the 

18          fact that they can help in such a statewide 

19          effort where 900,000 jobs of our brothers, 

20          sisters, aunts, and uncles are at stake in 

21          the tourism industry and where we know that 

22          $8 billion of state and local tax revenues 

23          comes in.  So we were very excited to 

24          participate.  


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 1                 We put 140 signs up.  We spent about a 

 2          half a million dollars on the materials, and 

 3          the total cost of the project, with 

 4          installation, labor, excavation and the like, 

 5          was $2.7 million.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you for that.

 7                 And I mentioned I happened to be going 

 8          to Buffalo recently, and I noticed that the 

 9          posts, not the signs, seemed to be bent or 

10          whatever.  Have you had a problem with some 

11          of those?  And is that something -- has that 

12          been systemwide, or did it just happen to be 

13          those?  And is that being corrected or --

14                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  It is being 

15          corrected, yes.  We had two different types 

16          of posts, and it appears to be some kind of a 

17          defect with one of the types of posts.  But 

18          we're on top of it.  We're working with the 

19          manufacturer, and I think it should be 

20          corrected shortly.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

22                 The Governor announced in his State of 

23          the State that there were going to be a 

24          number, I believe 69, of new plug-in electric 


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 1          vehicle charging stations along the Thruway.  

 2          Do you have plans on doing this?  And how is 

 3          that going to be paid for?  And is that going 

 4          to be a public/private cooperative effort 

 5          or ...

 6                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, we're -- 

 7          again, we're really excited about this.  

 8          Sixty-nine electrical vehicle charging 

 9          stations will be either at commuter lots or 

10          at one of our -- some of our -- all of our 27 

11          travel plazas.  People pay to fill up, so 

12          they pay for the electricity they use to 

13          charge up.  

14                 And currently we're in negotiations 

15          with those who do the gas -- they're 

16          currently doing the administration of those.  

17          We don't actually administer them; we install 

18          them, and they manage them.  But it will be 

19          in our travel plazas and in our commuter 

20          lots.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  If you got an 

22          updated safety record -- you mentioned about 

23          the number of miles and vehicles.  Do we have 

24          a safety record that's improving, about the 


                                                                  389

 1          same, or greater risk recently?

 2                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, I know 

 3          this year was one of our lowest fatality 

 4          years, but I can certainly get you 

 5          year-to-year numbers about accidents.  But in 

 6          terms of fatalities, this was one of our 

 7          lowest.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  You mentioned the 

 9          canal and the changeover.  I'd just like to 

10          add my thoughts, as the people who I've 

11          spoken with have been very positive about the 

12          way that transition that gone.  

13                 Still -- always challenges with the 

14          canal, but as someone who has that going 

15          through my district a significant number of 

16          miles, again, I appreciate the years that the 

17          Thruway ran it.  I'm sure your shoulders are 

18          higher today maybe that you don't have all 

19          that responsibility going forward.  

20                 But my last comment or question would 

21          be -- you've talked about the Tappan Zee and 

22          a lot of people entering or going across the 

23          Thruway there.  At the other end of the 

24          Thruway, near the whole area around Buffalo, 


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 1          and the fact that we go through tolls, out of 

 2          that, back into tolls -- and the backups 

 3          there, plans for Exit 50 or 54 or 55 or 

 4          whatever it is at the southern end -- are 

 5          there plans there to help in traffic flow, 

 6          whether it's cashless, whether it's at-speed 

 7          lanes or whatever, to help the Western 

 8          New York traffic?

 9                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  As I mentioned 

10          to Senator Young, we are looking to the 

11          future in terms of tolling, and that is 

12          certainly an area that I think would benefit 

13          from cashless tolling.  

14                 It's interesting how many different 

15          transitions the Thruway goes through from 

16          places like New Rochelle and Yonkers, where 

17          it's one point and a fixed charge, to the 

18          ticketed system where it's an accumulated fee 

19          depending on where and when you exit.  And 

20          then you go into the free section, then back 

21          into a toll section.  So that presents a 

22          little bit of a difficulty with all those 

23          transitions between kinds of systems.  

24                 But I've been spending a lot of time 


                                                                  391

 1          up in that area, it's beautiful, and I hope 

 2          to keep going back there many times to listen 

 3          to the local communities.  We've met with 

 4          some of the mayors up there and have had 

 5          their input and want to continue to listen 

 6          and learn and see what we can do to help.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you very 

 8          much.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

10                 Senator Savino.

11                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, 

12          Senator Young.

13                 I want to -- I just want to ask a 

14          question again -- I know Senator Young 

15          touched on it, but I'm just not sure I quite 

16          understand the answer.

17                 In the 2016-'17 budget, we had a side 

18          letter that negotiated regarding the Thruway 

19          Toll Advisory Task Force, and the side letter 

20          stipulated that, among other things, the task 

21          force would convene following the enactment 

22          of the 2016-'17 budget as well as seek public 

23          input and report findings by the end of 2016.  

24          And to date, that hasn't happened.  


                                                                  392

 1                 So the reason, if I understood you 

 2          correctly in your response to Senator Young, 

 3          the reason that hasn't happened is because 

 4          the tolls were frozen, so there's nothing to 

 5          report.

 6                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Exactly.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But did we in fact 

 8          convene the task force and they just said 

 9          there's nothing to report?  Did any of the 

10          action actually happen?  I think that's what 

11          I'm trying to say.

12                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  The task force 

13          never convened.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Excuse me?

15                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  The task force 

16          never convened.

17                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Oh.  Was the task 

18          force appointed, though?

19                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  There were 

20          members appointed, I believe there were a 

21          couple of people who left the task force.  

22          Unfortunately, I believe one or two of the 

23          members passed away.

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Oh, that's awful.


                                                                  393

 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  So it never 

 2          was convened.

 3                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  And then on 

 4          the -- so maybe you can help with this.  Even 

 5          though the Thruway Authority doesn't have -- 

 6          the Thruway doesn't have cashless tolls, you 

 7          do have high-speed tolls where people can 

 8          speed through and they don't have to -- and 

 9          you also don't have arms on your tollbooths, 

10          so you have people who go through with 

11          E-ZPass.  

12                 Do you experience a problem with 

13          people going through E-ZPass -- going through 

14          the high-speed E-ZPass lanes and not paying, 

15          and then having to chase them down through 

16          third-party collections?

17                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  You know, some 

18          people, for their own personal reasons, have 

19          always tried to evade paying their fair 

20          share.  And one of the things I hope you take 

21          away from my testimony is we're focused 

22          really on two things:  safety and fairness.  

23          We've got to keep our workers safe, we've got 

24          to keep our patrons safe, and we've got to be 


                                                                  394

 1          fair.  

 2                 When someone doesn't pay their fair 

 3          share, then the rest of us have to make up 

 4          the difference.

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.

 6                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  So we're 

 7          focused on that.  

 8                 One of the things in the budget that 

 9          we're asking for your support is negotiating 

10          reciprocity agreements between states and 

11          provinces.  Because there are people who will 

12          try to not pay their fine, and those are the 

13          people who didn't have E-ZPass.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Mm-hmm.

15                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  We do have 

16          cashless tolls -- just to correct one thing 

17          you said, we do have cashless tolls at the 

18          Tappan Zee.  And it's working very well.

19                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Yeah.  The reason I 

20          ask is, as you know, we're moving to cashless 

21          tolling at all of the MTA bridges and 

22          tunnels, and they've implemented them now at 

23          the Battery Tunnel, the Midtown Tunnel, 

24          they've been moving to the Verrazano Bridge.  


                                                                  395

 1                 But we're seeing high-profile arrests 

 2          of people who have not paid their tolls 

 3          coming across the Port Authority bridges.  A 

 4          woman was caught recently, she had run up 

 5          $90,000 worth of unpaid tolls at various 

 6          bridges and tunnels.  And I just wonder, how 

 7          does a person get to that level where they 

 8          owe $90,000 in tolls?  

 9                 You know, is it -- so I'm going 

10          through the tollbooths, I'm not paying, and 

11          then what happens?  I get a letter in the 

12          mail, and then I get another one and another 

13          one?  Does anybody ever come and attempt to 

14          collect that money?  

15                 So I have this terrible fear that 

16          people -- they'll read those stories in the 

17          newspaper and say, Well, why should I pay the 

18          toll at all?  And especially if there's no 

19          barriers, I'm just going to drive through, 

20          and maybe they'll catch me and maybe they 

21          won't.  And when they do, I might owe 

22          $200,000 worth of tolls.  

23                 If there's no mechanism to collect it, 

24          what are we doing?


                                                                  396

 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  There is a 

 2          very aggressive method to collect it.  And 

 3          sometimes the stories we hear in the media 

 4          are the outliers.

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Ninety thousand 

 6          dollars is a bit of the outlier.

 7                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  It is.  It's a 

 8          big outlier.

 9                 Thankfully most of the people pay 

10          their tolls right up front.  And we're 

11          thankful they do that, because as a 

12          user-fee-supported facility that doesn't have 

13          to be paid for by taxes in the budget, we're 

14          all thankful of that, because it's good to 

15          keep that from the budget.

16                 But we operate with a collection 

17          agency.  We have now the threat of 

18          registration suspension, which really gets 

19          people's attention.  That's a good thing, and 

20          we appreciate that.  And we hope that that's 

21          part of the Executive Budget, and we hope 

22          that you'll approve.

23                 And then reciprocity.  Many of the 

24          times the people we're talking about are not 


                                                                  397

 1          New Yorkers, and we want to make sure that 

 2          people from other states and other provinces 

 3          pay their fair share.  So reciprocity 

 4          agreements will help to effect exactly what 

 5          you're talking about.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Krueger, 

 8          and then I have a few more questions.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

10                 Good afternoon.

11                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Good 

12          afternoon, Senator.

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So we're not putting 

14          any more general funds into your budget this 

15          year, correct?

16                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Correct.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So that's good news.  

18          We did take $2 billion of bank settlement 

19          dollars and apply that to the Thruway 

20          Authority.  So I suppose for the future we 

21          can hope the banks continue to violate the 

22          law and owe us lots of settlement money, and 

23          that would help with our Thruway Authority.

24                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  We certainly 


                                                                  398

 1          weren't complaining about the money, thank 

 2          you.  

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Would you remind me 

 4          of a statistic that I think was in last 

 5          year's testimony?  Because it was quite 

 6          surprising to me at the time of how our 

 7          cost-per-mile on our Thruway is actually 

 8          dramatically less than most other areas, 

 9          either in the same region or around the 

10          country.  

11                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  We're some of 

12          the lowest in the country, at 5 cents per 

13          mile for a passenger vehicle and 20 cents for 

14          a commercial vehicle.  

15                 And as I said to Senator Young, we are 

16          fiscally conservative in trying our darndest 

17          to make sure that our costs don't go up.  And 

18          since 2010, our costs have risen less than 

19          1 percent.

20                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  How have you done 

21          that, only -- less than 1 percent in seven 

22          years?

23                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  We have a very 

24          dedicated workforce.  


                                                                  399

 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So it's not that we 

 2          found the other money from other places, that 

 3          your actual cost for doing your work --

 4                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Exactly.

 5                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  -- only went up 

 6          1 percent in seven years.

 7                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Mm-hmm.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I'm impressed.  Good 

 9          for you.

10                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  We like to 

11          surprise you.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you very much.  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Director Finch, I 

14          had a couple more questions.  

15                 I was just looking at a Comptroller 

16          report from November, and in that report 

17          Comptroller DiNapoli recommended that you 

18          develop and implement a long-term capital 

19          plan, given that the Thruway Authority's 

20          current revenue structure may not be 

21          sufficient to cover ongoing and future 

22          capital needs.

23                 So you said that the position of the 

24          Thruway Authority is very strong right now, 


                                                                  400

 1          but do you have an operating deficit right 

 2          now?

 3                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  No, we do not.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You don't.  That 

 5          went away because it was a loss of 

 6          $227 million in '14, and that was increased 

 7          from 2010.  So you're totally in the black 

 8          right now?

 9                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Yes, we are.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, good.

11                 Have you begun developing a long-term 

12          capital plan?  Because everybody is talking 

13          about the Tappan Zee Bridge because that's 

14          the big project going on right now, but I can 

15          attest to talk about the Thruway going 

16          through my district.  There are a lot of 

17          capital needs, and my office does hear about 

18          those from travelers and my constituents.  

19                 So when you look at the Thruway and 

20          its bridges, many of them are over 60 years 

21          old, they're probably at the end of their 

22          lifespan, and the authority itself estimates 

23          that only about 10 percent of the roads and 

24          20 percent of the bridges have been replaced 


                                                                  401

 1          or thoroughly reconditioned.  

 2                 So -- I think it's your estimate it 

 3          would cost $13 billion to do all the work 

 4          that needs to be done just on current needs.  

 5          And so what's your plan for implementing 

 6          these projects?

 7                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, first 

 8          off, thank you for the question.  What we do 

 9          is we drill right down to the pavement, and 

10          we have an asset management program which is 

11          something I am very impressed with.  As you 

12          know, I'm relatively new and have had a long 

13          public service career, but this asset 

14          management program at the Thruway Authority 

15          gets down to the granular level like I have 

16          rarely ever seen before.

17                 So we know every inch of our pavement 

18          and what condition it's in, and now we're 

19          working on the bridge conditions.  And you're 

20          right to point out that we have an aging 

21          infrastructure with roads as old as I am, so 

22          we're starting to show wrinkles around the 

23          eyes. 

24                 But we do have good data and we do 


                                                                  402

 1          have, I think, a clear vision for the future.  

 2          That's not to say that it won't be 

 3          challenging, because I think when Thomas 

 4          Dewey first had the vision of the bridge -- 

 5          the highway, the Thruway, it was just as 

 6          daunting.  And now we're reaching its useful 

 7          life, and we're going to have to replace it.  

 8          So I think you're right to point that out.  

 9                 We're looking at it every day, and I 

10          think as time progresses we'll be able to 

11          give you a clearer picture of what the future 

12          is going to look like.  But we do know what 

13          our asset situation is, and we'd love to 

14          share that with any of you that would like to 

15          know more about it, because I think it's 

16          something really to be proud of.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

18          Director.  

19                 And I know that the Legislature would 

20          be very interested in seeing a plan, a 

21          timeline, how these projects would be funded, 

22          what your proposal would be.  So we look 

23          forward to that.  Hopefully it's sometime in 

24          the near future.


                                                                  403

 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Thank you, 

 2          Senator.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Just a few 

 5          questions.  

 6                 You may have heard me earlier talking 

 7          about toll elimination.  I happen to like the 

 8          one you have now, I think it's much better.  

 9          You don't have the problem of people coming 

10          from everywhere.  

11                 But how many of those have you put in, 

12          or are you putting in any more than the one 

13          you have that I go through coming up from 

14          Manhattan?

15                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Just the 

16          Tappan Zee Bridge.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  It's just that 

18          you've done?

19                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  That's it.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  And you haven't 

21          done any others?

22                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  No.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Are you going to do 

24          others?


                                                                  404

 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Well, we don't 

 2          have a specific plan to do it.  But as I 

 3          mentioned, with the great social benefits 

 4          that it has -- it's sort of the wave of the 

 5          future.  I think in the not too distant 

 6          future you'll see more electronic tolling, 

 7          cashless tolling.  

 8                 But I do have a confession to make; I 

 9          never had an E-ZPass until I took this job.  

10          But I, like you, liked to go and talk to a 

11          toll collector.  So even though I have an 

12          E-ZPass, many times I go to talk to the toll 

13          collector because that's how I find out 

14          what's going on on the Thruway.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Careful.  Our 

16          grandchildren will say we don't know what's 

17          happening, as my daughter tells me every 

18          time.

19                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  I went to look 

20          at what time it was and -- we don't wear 

21          watches anymore, I had to find my cellphone.

22                 (Laughter.)

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  That's it? 

24                 Thank you very much.


                                                                  405

 1                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  Thank you very 

 2          much --

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 4                 ACTING EX. DIR. FINCH:  -- 

 5          Assemblymen, senators.

 6                 (Discussion off the record.)

 7                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  New York State 

 8          Association of Town Superintendents of 

 9          Highways, Michael Boesel, president, 1:30.  

10          And also New York State County Highway 

11          Superintendents Association, Wayne Bonesteel, 

12          Rensselaer County Engineer.  

13                 And following that will be William 

14          Carpenter, then AAA, then PEF.  Would you 

15          please come down, if you're going to speak to 

16          us?  Because it takes you 10 minutes to get 

17          here, and we could get it faster.  Because 

18          we're only three hours behind time, not much.

19                 Thank you.  Good afternoon.

20                 MR. MEYER:  All right.  Good 

21          afternoon.    

22                 Senator Young, Assemblyman Farrell, 

23          first of all, I'd like to extend an apology 

24          from Michael Boesel, who had a family matter 


                                                                  406

 1          that he had to attend to and therefore is 

 2          unable to be here to present this testimony.  

 3                 However, I am Bernie Meyer, the first 

 4          vice president of the New York State 

 5          Association of Town Superintendents of 

 6          Highways, and I'm from the Town of Canaan.  

 7          And when the Thruway gave their testimony, 

 8          they didn't say that the Thruway actually 

 9          goes into the Massachusetts Turnpike, and 

10          that's where we are from, in Canaan.  We're a 

11          borderline case, that's what I call it.

12                 Anyway, with me, representing the 

13          New York State County Highway Superintendents 

14          Association, is their legislative cochair, 

15          Rensselaer County Engineer Wayne E. 

16          Bonesteel, P.E., sitting here to my right.

17                 We appreciate this opportunity to 

18          submit testimony for your consideration as 

19          you review the Governor's 2017-2018 Executive 

20          Budget.  As you know, our collective 

21          membership is responsible for ensuring the 

22          safe operation of 87 percent of the state's 

23          public roads.  Let me say that again -- 

24          87 percent.  Mileage numbers, you're probably 


                                                                  407

 1          looking around 100,000 miles.  Half of it's 

 2          bridges and plowing, not only our huge 

 3          system, but also over a quarter of New York 

 4          State Department of Transportation DOT roads, 

 5          and that's around another 4,000.  So every 

 6          time there's a winter event, the hardworking 

 7          men and, I