(Albany, NY) –– Today, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Long Island Senate Majority delegation released statements responding to Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor de Blasio’s congestion pricing plan.
The Long Island Senate Majority delegation includes Senators John Brooks, Jim Gaughran, Anna Kaplan, Todd Kaminsky, Monica Martinez, and Kevin Thomas. The delegation issued the following joint statement:
“As the representatives for millions of Long Island commuters, it is our responsibility to ensure that any congestion pricing plan is not funded on their backs without substantial benefit. We are generally supportive of the concept of decreasing the reliance on automobile trips to New York City, while at the same time protecting the environment and easing congestion in Manhattan’s Central Business District. However, yesterday’s proposal raises troubling concerns. The main ones are:
- The proposal is heavily, if not exclusively, designed to channel funding to the subway system. If Long Islanders are going to be asked to eschew driving to the City and use the Long Island Rail Road (“LIRR”), then there must be a significant investment in LIRR infrastructure to support this endeavor. Therefore, a dedicated revenue stream for Long Island mass transit should be included in the proposal.
- The RFK Bridge is currently not given a tolling exemption or offset. This means that Long Island drivers who travel to Manhattan via the RFK Bridge would pay a double toll. This oversight should be corrected.
- The proposed Capital Review Committee is to be made up of subway rider representatives, but not representatives from the region’s other mass transit organizations. In order for Long Islanders to give critical input on the capital plan, they need representation on this committee.
We cannot support the proposal in its current state and are happy to meet with any party to address these concerns. We remain ready to help craft a formula that Long Island commuters will find advantageous.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said, “I look forward to working with my Long Island Delegation to ensure that the needs of Long Island are met. Clearly, there is a need for a dedicated stream of revenue to fix the crumbling MTA but any fix must benefit all parts of the MTA.”