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Transportation & Environment

The Move NY Regional Transportation Plan (aka “Sam’s Plan”)

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, July 11, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 38 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Move NY is a region-wide grassroots campaign to raise awareness of, and build support for, “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz’s regional transportation plan. Move NY is seeking input and endorsements from a wide array of stakeholders representing the region’s leading businesses and business groups, labor, clergy, civic leaders, transportation and environmental advocates, good governance organizations, and elected officials – all of whom recognize the imperative to maintain and enhance the our shared transportation system;

WHEREAS, Move NY formed in 2010 in response to the growing crisis facing our city’s transportation network, particularly its service cuts, escalating fares and tolls, and dwindling funding base. In 2012, Move NY teamed up with traffic engineer, Sam Schwartz, to promote a plan that he developed after traveling around the region seeking input from dozens of stakeholders, particularly those who opposed past traffic pricing plans;

WHEREAS, Move NY’s goal is to continue building public and political support for the Plan in order to demonstrate to Governor Cuomo and other decision makers that the Move NY Plan represents a very viable option for generating the revenue needed to reinvest in NYC’s vital transportation infrastructure;

WHEREAS, The Move NY Plan seeks to reduce traffic in the Central Business District (Manhattan South of 60th Street) by 20%, offer toll relief for tens of thousands of outer borough drivers, and fund critically needed investments in New York’s transportation infrastructure;

WHEREAS, While the Move NY Plan would, like the Bloomberg plan, create a London style toll around the Central Business District (CBD), it differs from that plan in a number of significant ways. The Move NY Plan would:

WHEREAS, The Move NY Plan would seek to equitably distribute the toll burden for New Yorkers. Drivers traveling between the outer boroughs would see major reductions in tolls on bridges such as the Verrazano, Triborough, Whitestone and Throg’s Neck, while crossings into the Manhattan CBD on the four East River bridges and at 60th Street would be charged the same as is charged in the two East River tunnels: $5.33 EZ Pass.  Drivers would pay more for taking their cars into the downtown core; drivers traveling to and from parts of the city that have less congestion and fewer transit options would bear much less responsibility for subsidizing the mass transit system than they do now.  Move NY has calculated that the net effect would be an extra $1.5 billion in net revenue for the MTA Capital Program.  The revenue could be safeguarded through a combination of bonding and one or more lockbox mechanisms written into the enabling legislation;

WHEREAS, The additional revenue would be used for a range of projects that would benefit commuters across the region, using every mode of transport.  These specific projects would be subject to significant additional discussion and consultation but the projects below begin to describe some of the kinds of benefits:  

WHEREAS, Community Boards Five has worked diligently over the course of the last year to highlight the inadequate transit approaches in both East Midtown and Penn Station and is eager to work collaboratively to find funding solutions for essential transit investments;  

WHEREAS, Many of the details of this proposal will require far more discussion and study in order to assess their impacts on Community Board Five, and the City and region as a whole;

WHEREAS, Despite the work that needs to continue, the Board strongly believes that the potential benefits of such a plan are incredibly worthy and include:

Principles Upon Which the Move NY Plan is Based

  1. Efficient – both riders and drivers must be able to get to their destinations faster
  2. Safe – transit and car related accidents must decrease as well as smog-related health problems
  3. Fair – the costs and benefits must be spread equitably across the NYC region, both among NYC’s five boroughs, between NYC and suburban counties, and between transit riders and drivers.
  4. Smart – the transportation system must incorporate state-of-the-art technology
  5. Business Friendly – the plan must make it easier to conduct business and deliver goods in the city
  6. Safeguarded – all transportation revenues must be “lockboxed” and kept from diversion to other areas
  7. Concrete – all commuters paying into the system should know that their money will be spent on specific projects that will benefit them tangibly.

WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes that these benefits will come with an additional cost for driving into the CBD and taking a taxi in the CBD;

WHEREAS, the health of our transit system is critical to the long term health of New York City and we’re failing to make the kinds of investments we need;

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is supportive of the work of Move NY and is eager to continue to be involved in future discussions and conversations as this plan is fleshed out; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five strongly support the goals and principles of the Move NY plan and commends Move NY and Sam Schwartz for putting forward this proposal and working with the many stakeholders involved to ensure an open and transparent conversation.    

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