(Albany, NY) — Last night, the New York State Senate adjourned the 2018 session without taking action on a bill (S8052/A9861) sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Joseph Lentol that would help mitigate the negative impacts of the L Train tunnel closure. The Assembly passed the bill, which was supported by the City of New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), earlier this year.
The legislation would lessen the negative impacts of the looming closure, scheduled for April 2019, by authorizing camera-enforced high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge. In addition, the bill would direct the MTA to formalize its plans to address the hardships New Yorkers and small businesses are expected to face.
“When the L Train tunnel closes, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will have to find a new way to get from point A to point B. Commutes will change, businesses may lose customers, and New Yorkers will have to deal with more buses, cars, and bikes on our streets — especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn on either side of the Williamsburg Bridge,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “This bill is not a panacea — but it would make a difference. Effective enforcement of HOV lanes would help keep traffic flowing. A comprehensive plan to address the hardships that will inevitably result from the closure would help keep small businesses open and New Yorkers employed. This bill would have no impact on the majority of our state — but for Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, it would make a real difference. Refusing to hold a vote on this bill simply makes no sense. With the closure just nine months away and preparations well underway, the proper thing to do would have been to pass this bill before the Senate adjourned, rather than waiting until we return to Albany — which may not be until January 2019, when final plans for the closure will need to be in place. I’ll continue to work with Assemblymember Lentol, our colleagues in government, and the local community on this legislation and on the many issues that arise from the closure to ensure the impacts on our communities are addressed.”
“I join Senator Kavanagh in pledging to continue the fight for this legislation. We know that it will take every tool and program — like the HOV3 camera program — to ensure the tunnel shutdown is executed in a safe, secure and efficient way,” Assemblymember Joseph Lentol said. “The Republican Senators who failed to bring this measure to a vote may be very surprised when their constituents arrive in Brooklyn off the LIRR next April and don’t have a space on the subways. They ought to realize a well-managed project helps everyone.”