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York College Performing Arts Center
    94-20 Guy R Brewer Boulevard
          Jamaica, New York

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007
            6:00 p.m.


A P P E A R A N C E S:
MARC V. SHAW, Chairman
 Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning
 At Extell Development Company

 President of Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce
 President of RMB Drafting Services


VIVIAN COOK, Assemblywoman

 Director of New York Region and
 Living Cities Program at Environmental Defense

 Chairman of State University of New York

HERMAN D. FARRELL, JR., Assemblyman

 CEO Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York

GERALD ROMSKI, Counsel and Project Executive
 Arverne by the Sea


 New York City DOT Commissioner

 CEO of Metropolitan Transportation Authority

 Drum Major Institute for Public Policy

 Executive Director of the Port Authority
 New York and New Jersey

 President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City

                   EN-DE REPORTING SERVICES

                     LIST OF SPEAKERS

 NYS Senator, 13th District . . . . . . . . . . . . .    7

 NYC Council Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

 NYS Assemblymember, 25th District . . . . . . . . . . 22

 Tri-State Transportation Campaign . . . . . . . . .    19

 Advisor/Strategist and Public Policy Advisor
 Keen NYC Congestion Tax Free . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

 Queens Borough President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

 NYC Council Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

 NYS Assemblymember, 37th District. . . . . . . . . . 46

 Senior Fellow Transportation
 Regional Plan Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

 NY League of Conservation Voters . . . . . . . . . . 57

 Queens Civil Congress Transportation Chair . . . . . 59

 President & CEO, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. . 63

JOSEPH HARTIGAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

 Deputy Director of Planning
 Transportation Alternatives. . . . . . . . . . . . . 71


                         LIST OF SPEAKERS

     Energy Committee Chair
     Sierra Club NYC Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   79

     Community Board 7, Queens. . . . . . . . . . . . . .    82

     Executive Director & Founder
     United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center. . . . .    87

     President, Sikh-American Friendship Foundation . . .    89

     Hillcrest Estate Civic Association . . . . . . . . .    91

     American Lung Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . .    95

     Transportation Alternatives of Western Queens. . . . 100

    MARC SCOTT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

    NOAH BUTNICK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104

    NICOLE GOLUBOSS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

    GENE KIELTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

    ANGUS SMITH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118


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1C   NYC Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission – 10-30-07   5

2               CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Good evening.    My name

3    is Marc Shaw.     I’m the Chairman of the

4    Commission.     I’d like everybody to introduce

5    themselves, starting on the left, your right.

6               MR. DARRELL:     I’m Andy Darrell with

7    Environmental Defense.

8               MR. BIVONE:    Richard Bivone, Nassau

9    Council, Chambers of Commerce.

10              ASSEMBLYWOMAN COOK:     Vivian Cook, New

11   York State Assembly.

12              ASSEMBLYMAN FARRELL:     Danny Farrell, New

13   York State Assembly.

14              ASSEMBLYMAN BRODSKY:     Assemblyman Richard

15   Brodsky.

16              CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you, everybody,

17   for coming.     We’ll try to make this as quick and

18   painless as possible.

19              First I’d like to thank York College for

20   giving us the space here.       We totally appreciate

21   it.   CUNY has been helpful in all the boroughs

22   finding space, and we thank them for allowing us

23   to hold this here.

24              This Commission was created in July by

25   the State Legislature to recommend the New York

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2    City Traffic Congestion Mitigation Plan.          As you

3    know, the Mayor has proposed, and submitted to

4    this Commission, a congestion pricing proposal

5    that includes a pricing zone in Manhattan that

6    would charge motorists $8 for entering the zone

7    and $4 for driving within the zone.         The Mayor’s

8    proposal would deduct all tolls already paid.

9             The MTA and the State Department of

10   Transportation have also submitted plans for

11   additional transit improvements that would

12   compliment the Mayor’s plan and handle the

13   increased demand of commuters.        However, this

14   Commission is required by law to not only review

15   the Mayor’s plan, but to research and analyze

16   modifications to that plan, as well as any new

17   congestion mitigation alternatives.

18            The Commission is required to formulate

19   its own recommendations for reducing traffic

20   congestion in the Manhattan Business District by

21   6.2 percent by January 31 of next year.          We must

22   recommend a proposed solution that would

23   inevitably include the way to fund additional

24   mass transit improvements.

25            In order to guide the Commission’s work,

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2    we set up seven public hearings throughout the

3    region.     The goal of these hearings is to seek

4    public comment on the Mayor’s plan and to hear

5    any other potential solutions for reducing

6    traffic congestion.      It is important in our

7    deliberations that we take into consideration

8    many different concerns, as any recommendation we

9    make will have a direct impact on the community.

10              The hearing today provide you, the

11   public, with an opportunity to present your

12   comments which will be reviewed by the entire

13   Commission.     Additionally, you’re going to submit

14   your testimony after tonight’s hearing on our

15   website which can be found on the State

16   Department of Transportation’s website at

17   www.nysdot.gov.

18              I think our first speaker is John

19   Sabbini.

20              HON. SABBINI:   Good evening.     Breaking

21   all the rules tonight, I don’t have copies of my

22   testimony because I wanted to be more of a free

23   form and hopefully a dialogue, although I hear

24   that questions have not been forthcoming at prior

25   hearings.

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2               I’m John Sabbini.    I’m the Ranking

3    Minority Member of the New York State Senate

4    Committee on Transportation and a resident of

5    Queens.     I was the only New Yorker to attend

6    Transportation Secretary Murray Peter’s

7    presentation on the federal aide that has been

8    now manifested in the Mayor’s congested pricing

9    plan.     And I attended a White House conference on

10   transportation earlier this year.           In fact, that

11   group will be meeting again on Thursday, a

12   meeting that will have more information on

13   federal aide and programs regarding pricing to

14   ease congestion.

15              Nationally this has become a huge issue,

16   people taking more time to get to work and taking

17   time out of their personal lives, has become an

18   alarming national issue.       The Washington Post has

19   a congestion beat reporter, someone who actually

20   used to work here in New York whose job it is to

21   talk about how wasting time going back and forth

22   to work affects people’s lives, their families,

23   their dating habits, their childcare habits,

24   their eating habits.      So it’s a real issue.

25              My concern, and one of the reasons I’m

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2    here tonight, is in the Mayor’s formulation of

3    his plan, which I think is spectacular in many

4    aspects, some of the details give me pause.

5             The essential message from Secretary

6    Peters was that they wanted options on pricing.

7    The Mayor’s repeatedly said he doesn’t want

8    people moving from place to place to choose

9    cheaper options.     That really is against what the

10   federal government has said in the voluminous

11   information they’ve given those of us in the

12   Legislature who work on transportation issues.

13   In fact, in California there are toll roads now

14   that price by the lane.      The most expensive lane,

15   the Lexus lane.     They have another lane that’s a

16   lower toll, and another lane that’s free on the

17   same highway.     Pricing, giving people choices, is

18   what the federal government saw as the best

19   option to relieve congestion.        And I know Mr.

20   Romski, who is our Senate Minority representative

21   on this, and I know Assemblyman Brodsky and

22   others have understood the grounds for my

23   essential opposition to the current plan or the

24   current proposal, and that opposition stems from

25   the fact that I believe that the current proposal

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2    discriminates against the near-in outer boroughs.

3     That’s a new concept, near-in outer borough.

4             The near-in outer boroughs would be South

5    Bronx, areas of western Queens like Long Island

6    City, Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson

7    Heights, Corona.     In Brooklyn, Williamsburg,

8    Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Fort Green,

9    areas like that.     Why do I say that

10   discriminates?

11            The traditional way of getting into

12   Manhattan for the central business district from

13   the suburbs is limited access highways – the Long

14   Island Expressway, the New England Thruway, which

15   turns into the Bruckner Expressway, the Grand

16   Central Parkway.     Those limited access highways

17   lead into the toll roads and bridges run by the

18   MTA.   By crediting those tolls against the

19   congestion price, as the original proposal,

20   you’re putting all of the burden on the folks

21   that live in the near and outer boroughs.             They

22   will pay $8 where the essential costs to get into

23   the central business district of Manhattan for

24   the people taking limited access highways will be

25   the same, essentially, as they pay now.          We

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2    already repealed the commuter tax; I wasn’t in

3    the Legislature then.      But we’ve already given

4    folks who come in from further distances a better

5    deal than they had a while ago, and an unfair

6    deal, in my opinion.

7             When you live in a neighborhood in

8    western Queens you often use the medical

9    facilities for your parents and for yourself in

10   the east side of Manhattan.       And both my parents

11   needed those facilities often before they passed

12   on.   And it’s not an experience alone to me;

13   everyone who grew up in these neighborhoods did

14   it.   You drove your parents to the doctor, you

15   drove your parents to the hospital, and if you

16   were running late you’d say let’s go through the

17   tunnel or the Tri-Borough Bridge and they’d say,

18   hey, what are you Rockefeller?        Take the Queens

19   Borough Bridge, it’s free.       That may be from

20   depression mentality, but the fact of the matter

21   is that that is exactly the riding habits that

22   people had in western Queens and parts of

23   Brooklyn that are near the Williamsburg and

24   Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

25            So I believe that the current structure

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2    for the pricing should be changed so that you

3    charge a higher price or not credit a toll on the

4    tunnels and bridges run by the MTA and use that

5    additional revenue to implement more changes in

6    mass transit.     Now, changes in mass transit is

7    something else I’m concerned with.

8             As someone who has lived in –

9             CHAIRMAN SHAW:       John, if you could just

10   keep it to the five minutes.

11            HONORABLE SABBINI:      As someone who has

12   lived in the transit hub of Queens all my life,

13   we’ve heard for years that there’s no more room

14   for trains, additional trains on our tracks and

15   the number 7, the E, the F, the R.           Coming out

16   here tonight by subway, it was standing room only

17   until Sutphin and after that one stop it sort of

18   windled out.

19            Just to sum up, there’s no more room for

20   additional trains on our tracks and there’s no

21   more room on our trains.       We’re at the highest

22   ridership level since the 1950’s.           I’d like it if

23   the Commission looked at some problems in local

24   neighbors.     If you drove here, you know what

25   Jamaica is like.     Downtown Jackson Heights,

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2    places like Richmond Hill, places like Flushing

3    have similar congestion problems.           I believe

4    working together as intelligent public officials

5    and interested parties from business we can solve

6    any problem.

7               I commend the Mayor for his broad

8    outlook.    I just hope that when this is at its

9    final draft and it comes to the Legislature it’s

10   a plan that’s fairer for everyone.

11              Thank you very much.

12              CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you.     Everybody

13   that comes to speak, if we could just try to keep

14   our comments to the five minutes it will be a

15   little fairer to the people that are sitting here

16   waiting to speak also.

17              Cathy Nolan.

18              (No verbal response.)

19              Leroy Comrie.

20              MR. COMRIE:      Good evening everyone.        I

21   want to congratulate the Commission on

22   designating your college as a place to come, as

23   the home of myself and your board member,

24   Assemblymember Vivian Cook.       And I hope that you

25   take the time to take a look around at the

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2    college, the theatre, and some other points while

3    you were driving in today.

4               I just heard Cathy Wild saying that the

5    Grand Central Parkway was congested coming in

6    today.     And that’s one of the things that I

7    really wanted to talk about as far as the

8    congestion pricing issues were concerned, and the

9    whole idea around the Mayor’s groundbreaking plan

10   2030.

11              It is a great idea that the Mayor has

12   come up with, to do some forward thinking, to

13   make sure that there were policy initiatives that

14   endeavored to make our city a sustainable

15   environment for future generations.         But my

16   problem with the traffic mitigation plan that the

17   Mayor has come forth is, as Senator Sabbini just

18   said, it’s only focused on the central business

19   district.     As he also said, we have major

20   congestion problems in Queens.        And I think that

21   the Mayor’s plan has been working backwards.              We

22   have congestion problems here in Jamaica.            We

23   have problems with the transportation here in

24   Jamaica.     Making sure that one of the longest

25   travel communities, commuting communities gets

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2    more relief in the new millennium.          I think that

3    it’s a problem that this congestion, and this

4    Commission, and this City needs to work on, in

5    total, since we do have this ambitious 2030 plan.

6             We cannot, just in my opinion, just focus

7    on congestion around the central business in

8    Manhattan when Jamaica also has one of the

9    highest asthma levels of anywhere in the City and

10   is probably unparalleled with any congested area

11   in the city.    But we also have issues in

12   Elmhurst.   But we also have issues in Long Island

13   City.   But we also have issues all around this

14   borough that need to be dealt with and dealt with

15   in a focused and complete manner.

16            As Senator Sabbini said, to redo a 6.3

17   reduction in traffic to meet federal guidelines,

18   does not necessarily require pricing into the

19   central business district.       There are plenty

20   other ideas that have been put out by many

21   organizations already.      I’ll just give you a few

22   ideas that I know the borough president has

23   spoken about.

24            Number one is that’s looking at the MTA.

25    Looking at making sure the train stations are

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2    opened up.     They can do some things to make the

3    subway stations wider so that we could have

4    better, more train tracks per car ride throughout

5    Queens.     And one of the things that we really

6    have to look at, because most of the Queens lines

7    are almost at capacity, is looking at building

8    another tunnel within the existing tunnel so that

9    we could save money.      We need to look at doing

10   some improvements along the Van Wyck Expressway,

11   the Grand Central Parkway and the Long Island

12   Expressway that can deal with the traffic issues

13   within Queens.     We need to look at the placard

14   parking throughout the borough that blocks the

15   opportunities for people that want to do business

16   in Queens.

17              I want to remind you that a lot of

18   businesses such as Fresh Direct and the flower

19   businesses relocated from Manhattan to Queens

20   because they wanted places to park their fleets,

21   they wanted a cheaper rent, a cheaper opportunity

22   to train people that move back and forth into the

23   City.     We have to be very careful about who we

24   charge and what businesses we charge if we’re

25   looking to keep business in the City on one hand,

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2    and looking to price them out by giving them an

3    exorbinent fee on the other.

4             Senator Sabbini spoke very eloquently

5    also about the need that many people in Queens

6    unfortunately have to go to Manhattan for

7    specialized medical services and travel to

8    Manhattan unfortunately on a daily basis to

9    receive specialized medical services.         It’s

10   already been documented that Queens I underserved

11   in those specialized categories, and we’ve been

12   fighting.   And, in fact, when the Hospital

13   Commission just finished their hospital study,

14   the only place that they looked to increase

15   services were in southeastern and western Queens

16   because we don’t have those specialized medical

17   services.   To have people that have to travel

18   into the city on a regular basis and be charged

19   for it is a real problem.

20            We want to make sure that this Commission

21   looks at these issues and looks at them in total

22   to achieve a 6.3 percent reduction in order to

23   get the federal money because it’s not

24   necessarily required pricing people to go into

25   the central business district.        We can create

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2    one-way paths in, as they’ve done in other

3    cities.   We can create one-way paths within the

4    city limits during the rush hours.          There are

5    many other options that have been suggested that

6    I hope this Commission takes a good look at.

7              Finally, I would hope that when we do put

8    this plan together that we really deal with the

9    fact that we need to improve Long Island Rail

10   Road access throughout Queens so they can stop in

11   Queens and not just pass through Queens.          That we

12   do some MTA real structural improvements

13   throughout the borough because right now the F

14   line, our main lines on the Queens Boulevard

15   lines are at capacity and need help.          We have

16   some help on the 7 train line, but we need to get

17   some additional help on the other subway lines.

18             I have confidence in this panel.        I know

19   of your representations over time and place.              I

20   know that you will look at this in a holistic

21   manner and I hope that you will come up a

22   holistic solution to this problem.

23             Thank you.

24             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Kate Slevin.

25             (No verbal response.)

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2             MS. VANTERPOOL:      Good evening.     My name

3    is Veronica Vanterpool and I’m here with Tri-

4    State Transportation Campaign.        It’s a pleasure

5    to be here this evening to testify.

6             My name is Veronica Vanterpool and I am a

7    policy advocate with the Tri-State Transportation

8    Campaign, a non-profit advocacy group working for

9    a more equitable and environmentally-sound

10   transportation system in New York, New Jersey,

11   and Connecticut.

12            Garret Hardin popularized an important

13   metaphor in his 1963 essay Science called The

14   Tragedy of the Commons.      The phrase refers to the

15   relationship between free access to, and

16   unrestricted demand for, a finite resource.           And,

17   it underlies our discussion of congestion pricing

18   for New York City.

19            When a common good or resource is not

20   regulated, it often results in the destruction of

21   the resource due to over exploitation.          That is

22   what New York City is doing to its land, its air,

23   and its water.     We no longer live in a city where

24   we can overlook the traffic congestion and

25   environmental burdens caused by the wealthy few

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2    who drive for free into the central business

3    district.

4              Luckily, most New Yorkers do not drive

5    into the congestion pricing zone for work anyway;

6    we rely on public transportation.           In Queens, for

7    example, 95.5 percent of residents would not be

8    affected by the proposed congestion pricing

9    charge.     You either take transit to work, do not

10   work in the congestion pricing zone, walk, ride a

11   bike/motorcycle, or work from home.           It does not

12   make sense to forfeit $354 million in federal

13   dollars, and billions over decades, because of

14   those who enjoy the privilege of driving.           And

15   owning a car in Queens is, indeed, a privilege:

16   Queens households who own a car make over $64,000

17   while households without a car have an average

18   annual income less than $36,000, according to

19   recent fact sheets created by the Tri-State

20   Transportation Campaign and Pratt Center for

21   Community Development, which are available on our

22   website at www.tstc.org.

23             It is both false and unfair to continue

24   to promote congestion pricing as a regressive tax

25   when the revenue generated from pricing will

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2    benefit low and moderate income residents the

3    most.   New York City transit riders already

4    shoulder a large burden by paying the largest

5    percentage of public transportation operating

6    costs of any other transit rider in the country.

7     It is not equitable to continue to burden this

8    group of commuters because a small few want the

9    convenience and privilege of driving into

10   Manhattan.

11            Our failing transit infrastructure needs

12   the funds to serve all of us, in all boroughs,

13   better and we must all take responsibility for

14   meeting the challenges of global warming and

15   limited resources.     Queens needs more transit

16   improvements, and congestion pricing is our way

17   to win those improvements.       Take, for example,

18   the short term improvements that congestion

19   pricing will pay for:      new bus rapid route along

20   Merrick Boulevard, three new express bus routes,

21   21 new express buses, improvements to 12 local

22   bus routes, and expanded subway service on the E

23   and F lines.

24            The opponents of congestion pricing are

25   stuck in the past.     They are scared of change and

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2    maintaining the lack of environmental awareness

3    indicative of the last century.        The proponents

4    are looking forward to a greener, more livable,

5    more sustainable society, where people can’t

6    drive into the densest urban center in our

7    country, polluting, congesting our collective

8    environment for free.      Congestion pricing is a

9    vital part of that future.       If we fail on this,

10   it will be a step backwards for New York, and our

11   children’s future.

12            We strongly urge the Commission to

13   support congestion pricing as part of its

14   strategy to reduce traffic congestion and our

15   elected leaders to look to the future, not stay

16   stuck in the past.

17            Thank you very much.

18            CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Assemblymember Rory

19   Landsman.

20            ASSEMBLYMAN LANCMAN:        Good evening Mr.

21   Chairman and members of the Commission, and thank

22   you for conducting this hearing in Queens.

23            My name is Rory Lancman.        I represent the

24   25th Assembly District, which, through the magic

25   of redistricting, cuts a long, narrow path

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2    through Queens, including all or parts of

3    Whitestone, North Flushing, Auburndale, Kissena

4    Park, Hillcrest, Hillcrest Estate, Fresh Meadows,

5    Kew Gardens Hills, Jamaica Hills, Briarwood and

6    Richmond Hill.

7             The Mayor’s congestion pricing plan is a

8    $2,000 a year tax on working people form the

9    outer boroughs who drive into Manhattan, less by

10   choice than by because of a lack of reliable,

11   efficient mass transit alternative; a plan that

12   will more likely redistribute rather than reduce

13   congestion and do so into neighborhoods in

14   northern Manhattan, the South Bronx, western

15   Queens, and western Brooklyn that have some of

16   the City’s highest asthma hospitalization rates.

17            As events have developed, the Mayor’s

18   plan has become even less attractive than when it

19   was announced.

20            First, the federal government won’t be

21   paying to set up the congestion pricing system

22   after all; New York City will have to come up

23   with the $250 million plus on its own.

24            More importantly, the MTA report to this

25   Commission illustrates how there will be

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2    virtually no real new mass transit options

3    offered to Queens residents before they are hit

4    with this tax.

5             As the transportation section of the

6    Mayor’s PlaNYC states plainly, many Queens’s

7    residents lack an efficient, reliable mass

8    transit option for commuting into Manhattan.

9             But the $767 million in transit

10   improvements identified by the MTA as necessary

11   to implement congestion pricing plus an extra

12   $104 million annually to operate these

13   improvements – money the MTA does not have – buys

14   in new mass transit options for the Borough of

15   Queens’ two million residents, all of four new

16   express bus routes serving two communities, four

17   additional morning rush-hour E trains, and one

18   bus rapid transit lane.      Are you kidding me?          So

19   what are the alternatives?

20            The fundamental flaw in the Mayor’s

21   congestion tax is it is all punishment and no

22   incentives; all stick and no carrot.         The bill I

23   put forward with Senator Carl Kruger, A9369,

24   contains a number of incentives, or carrots, to

25   encourage individuals and businesses not to drive

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2    into Manhattan during rush hour.

3             First, we should encourage telecommuting.

4     The number of telecommuting employees nationwide

5    in 2006 was 12.4 million, up from 7.6 million in

6    2004.   The federal government has an extensive

7    telecommuting program available to 52 percent of

8    its workers.    Connecticut runs Telecommute

9    Connecticut, a statewide initiative providing

10   free assistance to employers with the design,

11   development and implementation of telecommuting

12   as a worksite alternative, and today 158,000

13   Connecticut residents work from home, an 86

14   percent increase over five years ago.           To quote

15   from Connecticut’s transportation commissioner,

16   We’re pleased with these numbers.           Nearly 60,000

17   cars are off our roadways every day.           The fewer

18   cars on the roadways, the less traffic

19   congestion.    This leads to a host of benefits,

20   including reduced pollution and energy

21   consumption.

22            New York City can increase telecommuting

23   by offering companies tax credits for both the

24   cost of starting-up a telecommuting program and

25   for each employee they maintain on a

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2    telecommuting program.      We should also require

3    New York City to establish a telecommuting

4    initiative for its workers, similar to the

5    successful telecommuting program for federal

6    employees.

7             Second, we should encourage carpooling.

8    Let’s eliminate rush hour tolls entirely for

9    vehicles using HOV-only designated toll booths.

10            Third, we should encourage off-hour

11   commercial deliveries by eliminating the tolls

12   for commercial vehicles for deliveries before

13   6:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.

14            Fourth, we should spend $500 million

15   instead of the $767 million the MTA plans to

16   spend for minimal improvements and the $250 plus

17   million the City plans to spend to implement

18   congestion pricing on massively expanding outer-

19   borough express bus service.       If we want to

20   increase mass transit use into Manhattan, the

21   most direct way to do so would be to increase

22   mass transit options into Manhattan.

23            Fifth, I do suggest one stick:         the

24   Legislature should make it easier to enforce the

25   blocking-the-box rules by empowering traffic

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2    agents to write such tickets and allowing the

3    City to use cameras to enforce this rule.          A

4    study done by Manhattan Borough President Scott

5    Stringer in 2006 which showed rampant and

6    widespread blocking-the-box violations in

7    Manhattan.    I can tell you from painful

8    experience that much of the time I spend in

9    traffic in Manhattan is the result of someone

10   else blocking the box with impunity.

11            In conclusion, thank you for the

12   opportunity to testify.      And I know my colleagues

13   and I in the Legislature look forward to

14   recommendations for reducing congestion which

15   serve our constituents and which we can embrace.

16            Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

17            CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Thank you.

18   Assemblymember Margaret Markey.

19            (No verbal response.)

20            Walter McCaffrey.

21            MR. MCCAFFREY:     Good evening,

22   Commissioners.    I had the opportunity of

23   presenting, last week in Westchester, the formal

24   presentation from Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free as

25   to the series of alternatives that we have

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2    suggested, which end up far exceeding the 6.3

3    percent goal that had been previously included in

4    the plan that had been presented to the public.

5    We think many of those alternatives are very,

6    very credible.    They are innovative ideas, ones

7    that can end up being able to deal with the

8    problems of congestion, the reduction in

9    pollution and, at the same time, provide equity

10   for those people who live and work in the City of

11   New York.

12            Some of the items that I just wanted to

13   present to you this evening are some increasing

14   concerns that I have on certain issues.          One of

15   the things that is not spoken about very highly

16   is what the impact is in terms of labor in this

17   town.   New York City, and particularly this

18   Borough of Queens, has a very proud history in

19   terms of supporting organized labor, and this

20   measure has a number of measures in here that are

21   anti-labor period.     You can’t look at them any

22   other way.

23            When you look at the memorandum of

24   understanding, the Buy American waiver is in

25   there, which is a tool that the Bush

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2    Administration has pushed for a long period of

3    time.   It is something which, quite frankly,

4    should be rejected out of hand, and, indeed, it

5    is something that is highly disturbing.          There is

6    no even guarantee of minimum wage being paid in

7    these items also.     So that is something that is

8    very disturbing, and, again, that is something

9    that comes from the federal government.

10   Unfortunately the Mayor and the Governor were

11   struck with that, and it is something which is

12   highly unfortunate, but in the final analysis it

13   is something that all New Yorkers should reject.

14            The fact is that we don’t know who is

15   going to run this system as of yet.         We’ve gotten

16   through months of months of discussion here.              Is

17   this going to be operated by a system that’s

18   going to have city employees running it?          Are

19   they going to be the individuals or is it going

20   to be out in the private sector?        Is it the

21   private sector that’s going to have individuals

22   operating this system?      Will they have the right

23   to organize?    Will there be a provision in there

24   under the NLRB Act that allows no-contest

25   provisions that would be able to allow for a free

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2    and open opportunity for labor to be able to

3    represent workers.     These are some very

4    disturbing things, and I don’t hear anybody

5    talking about these items, and these are items

6    that should be focused on and looked at.

7               One of the other items that has been

8    suggested all the way through is the need for an

9    environmental impact study and a whole series of

10   other items.     We’ve heard that from a number of

11   witnesses.     But one of the things that is not

12   done here is what the economic impact is to New

13   Yorkers that has been analyzed in any way, shape

14   or form.     Not a single bit of analysis has been

15   done as part of the plan.

16              There are senior citizens in this

17   borough, which has some of the highest

18   concentration of senior citizens in the United

19   States of American, who must rely on Manhattan

20   medical facilities for their care.          Borough

21   President Marshall, last year, issued a report

22   that indicated that two-thirds of all the people

23   from this borough must turn to Manhattan for

24   their medical facilities and medical services.

25              For a senior citizen couple that is on a

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2    limited income that is now going to have

3    initially, supposedly, pay $8, and we all know,

4    quite frankly, that it will not be $8 in this

5    current system if it ever came to pass.           It would

6    be up to $20 in a flash.       That is a significant

7    economic burden.     But where is the analysis there

8    that talks about what the potential impact of

9    congestion pricing is on those individuals?           For

10   those businesses in Queens, small business, no

11   one has talked about what the economic impact is

12   going to be to them.      Everyone wants to end up

13   saying there are other businesses that will do

14   well, but no one has done an economic analysis of

15   that.   This is going to be one of the more far-

16   scoping measures to be implemented in the City of

17   New York, and yet there is no analysis given

18   whatsoever.

19            We have said all the way through that

20   when you look at the details of this proposal it

21   has to be something that causes a great deal of

22   concern, causes one to reject it.           But that does

23   not mean, however, that we simply turn our back

24   on what is the very significant problem.           Kathy

25   Wild and the folks in the partnership have to be

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2    given a great deal of credit, for a long period

3    of time talking about what the impacts are

4    economically of congestion in the City of New

5    York.     The Mayor has to be credited with looking

6    with vision to the future needs of the City of

7    New York.     And so that’s why we have stepped

8    forward to come up with a whole series of ways to

9    be able to meet those goals, and at the same time

10   to provide money so that the poor director here

11   of the MTA has some resources to be able to deal

12   with.

13              People in this Queens community are going

14   to be faced with what is now rising cost of

15   living every day.     Increases in terms of sewer

16   rates.     Increases in the property tax assessment.

17    As we now see approaching $100 barrel of

18   gasoline that’s going to be passed on to them in

19   home heating oil increases.       We see ConEd rates

20   increasing here.     Where is the analysis of how

21   congestion pricing fits in to adding to that

22   burden?     There is none whatsoever.

23              So in the final analysis we say, yes, we

24   must act.     We must act to be able to be able to

25   deal with the significant problem of congestion,

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2    but we are saying that there is a better way than

3    congestion pricing.

4             Thank you very much for your attention.

5             CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Borough President Helen

6    Marshall.

7             MS. MARSHALL:      Good evening members of

8    the panel.    Thank you for bringing this

9    Commission and holding its hearing right here at

10   York College, which is convenient for

11   transportation, to give the residents of Queens

12   an opportunity to discuss the impact of

13   congestion pricing on our borough.          It provides,

14   of course, the Mayor’s congestion price plan and

15   the dire need for mass transportation

16   improvements in Queens.

17            Every day, tens of thousands of Queens’s

18   residents use public transportation.          But for

19   thousands of others, this is not an option.

20            Studies show that Queens residents drive

21   into the Manhattan area zoned for congestion

22   pricing more residents of any other borough.

23   There is a good reason for that.        They have no

24   reasonable opportunities for mass transit.           We

25   have only four major subway lines – the number 7

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2    that ends in Flushing, which is mid-North Queens;

3    the F train that ends on Hillside Avenue and

4    179th Street; the A that ends in the Rockaways;

5    and the J and Z lines that end in Jamaica.           The

6    entire areas north, east, and west of those lines

7    are only served by buses and, all too often,

8    infrequent Long Island Rail Road service.          As a

9    result, traffic congestion exists not only in

10   Manhattan, but also in our borough and along our

11   thoroughfares as well.

12              Who can ignore the daily radio reports

13   about the notorious backups on the Van Wyck or

14   the LIE?    Or the accidents on Belt Parkway or the

15   snail’s pace, due to construction, on Northern or

16   Cross Bay Boulevards, the Grand Central or the

17   bottlenecks at every approach to Manhattan.           Be

18   it at the Queens Borough Bridge or the Queens-

19   Midtown Tunnel, these virtual parking lots are

20   now congested at almost every hour of the day.

21              I want to congratulate the Mayor about

22   resolving traffic congestion in Manhattan.           But

23   we experience the same congestion here in Queens.

24    The question is then how do we solve the

25   problem, not just with Manhattan but with other

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2    boroughs as well, and what measures must be taken

3    to do it in a rational and fair way.

4             I believe that we must not punish those

5    who have been ignored by government’s failure to

6    provide meaningful mass transit options.          Let us

7    put these options in place before considering the

8    punitive measures of congested pricing.

9             I have offered the following priorities

10   for the borough.

11            One.     Reopen strategic Long Island Rail

12   Road stations in Queens.       The Mayor has agreed to

13   my first priority, which would be the Elmhurst

14   Station that will provide much needed relief to

15   the E and number 7 lines.

16            Increase Long Island Rail Road stops.

17   More frequency at Main Street in Flushing.

18            Three.     Add articulated buses on main

19   thoroughfares such as Queens and Northern

20   Boulevards and wherever heavily traveled routes

21   will physically allow them.

22            Four.     Lengthen subway platforms to

23   accommodate additional subway cars wherever

24   possible.

25            Five.     Target new traffic enforcement

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2    agents to major transportation hubs including

3    Main Street in Flushing, Sutphin and Archer in

4    Jamaica – we just came through there, and could

5    have really used some traffic police, traffic

6    officers there - and also at the Queens Borough

7    Bridge, which we do, from time to time, see

8    traffic people there.

9             Retire non-clean air buses.          They should

10   have no place on our streets.        When they stop,

11   the fumes are all over the place.           We need to

12   really get all our buses cleaned up.

13            Add new express routed to underserved

14   areas.   Add them.    Add new local bus routes and

15   buses, particularly in Eastern Queens.

16            Provide ferry service to the Rockaways

17   and western Queens.      Ferry service could be a

18   great help to the Rockaways.       People could be in

19   Manhattan in 30 minutes, as opposed to the hour

20   and a half that it takes them to take the A

21   train.

22            To advance the discussion further, I’ve

23   asked each of our 14 Queens community boards to

24   develop proposals for traffic congestion

25   mitigation.    They have developed a set of

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2    thoughtful proposals that I present to you today,

3    along with those developed by the Queens Civic

4    Congress.     Some recommendations are included in

5    PlaNYC.     Others should be added.     They include an

6    inter-modal station at Sunnyside Yards,

7    additional park and ride facilities for city

8    residents, ensuring accessible stations for the

9    handicapped, discount Long Island Rail Road fares

10   for city residents, and new north-south express

11   bus routes.     I urge you to include these items

12   into a comprehensive package of mass transit

13   improvements.     That should take place before

14   congestion pricing.

15             I am not blind to the fact that these

16   improvements will come at a great cost, but we

17   must fund them.

18             But the bottom line is simple; there is

19   no room at the inn for more riders.         We need to

20   expand service to accommodate additional riders

21   and create mass transit options for them.

22             Let me say this.     I’m just going to quote

23   some figures.

24             Over the last 30 years, Queens has

25   captured an ever increasing share of the City’s

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2    population.     Although Queens is comprised of 19.7

3    of the population in 1950, this number is

4    projected to climb over 28 percent by 2030.           When

5    2.55 million of the City’s 9.12 residents will

6    reside in Queens.

7               The consistent growth in Queens will

8    result in new peak population for the borough by

9    2030.     This growth is fueled by a mix of

10   immigrants from more than 100 countries.          As a

11   result, the median age in France – the median age

12   in Queens – I guess I’m hopeful – from 2000 to

13   2030 is expected to increase by just over three

14   years.     Our population is ever increasing.

15              In the morning, when my driver picks me

16   up, it’s usually a five minute ride to my office,

17   but no more.     We go right on to the Grand Central

18   and encounter delays.

19              Let’s put first things first; meaningful

20   mass transit options before punishing those who

21   cannot take advantage of it.

22              Thank you very much.

23              CHAIRMAN SHAW:     Councilmember David

24   Weprin.

25              COUNCILMEMBER WEPRIN:     Good evening

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2    Chairman Shaw and distinguished members of the

3    panel, most of whom I know for quite a few years.

4     I want to thank all of you for your years of

5    outstanding services to both the City and State

6    of New York.     Thank you for allowing me to

7    testify here tonight on this very important

8    issue.     I’m Councilmember David Weprin.       I’m from

9    the 23rd District in eastern Queens, and I chair

10   the New York City Council Finance Committee.

11              The task that you have been assigned is a

12   difficult one, and I have the utmost faith that

13   you will see that congestion pricing hurts more

14   than it helps.     New York City has recently ranked

15   third nationally, with Rhode Island and New

16   Jersey, taking the top spots as having the worst

17   business friendly environment.        Adding the

18   congestion tax in its current form will only make

19   matters worse.

20              The current plan as proposed earlier this

21   year by the Mayor is a regressive tax that

22   punishes the middle class and working families,

23   individuals that are already struggling to

24   survive and live in New York City and surrounding

25   suburbs.     Residents of New York City are soon to

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2    face tougher times, should ConEd, DEP, and the

3    MTA move forward with their proposed increases.

4    If we made New York City more affordable and

5    provided incentives to New Yorkers to change

6    their commuting habits, maybe we wouldn’t be

7    driving residents out of New York City.

8             The tax hurts those New Yorkers who are

9    on fixed incomes, like seniors; it hurts those

10   individuals and their families who have to travel

11   to Manhattan’s various hospitals for treatment;

12   it hurts single mothers already struggling to

13   provide for their child.

14            If the intended plan of this tax is to

15   reduce congestion or the number of cars entering

16   New York City and to force people to switch their

17   commuting habits, why do the revenue projections

18   keep going up from $232 million in the first year

19   up to $800 million per year by 2030?

20            The truth of the matter is that London,

21   and I think we heard testimony before, started at

22   $8.75 and went up to about $14 in just three

23   years.   What is interesting about current

24   proposal is it’s a three-year pilot program,

25   which means, like London, New York would have no

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2    choice but to increase its rate by the same

3    amount, if not more.      And to me that is

4    unacceptable.    I

5              I have come up with an alternative ten-

6    point plan to the current congestion tax that

7    punishes individuals who violate current traffic

8    laws, not those who are trying to make a living.

9     The plan calls for incentives to businesses and

10   commuters in hopes it will change their daily

11   commuting habits.     My ten-point plan does not

12   jeopardize, in any way, the ability for New York

13   City to gain access to federal money that is

14   available through the Urban Partnership Agreement

15   and related discretionary programs.         This is the

16   same program that the $354 million New York has

17   been conditionally awarded is coming from.

18             My alternative plan calls for the, one,

19   implementation of additional red light cameras

20   within the central business district.         However,

21   this would require legislative approval from

22   Albany.   I see a number of representatives from

23   Albany here.

24             Another component of the plan, the

25   enforcement portion, would require the

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2    environment of the blocking the box legislation

3    within the central business district.          To ensure

4    proper enforcement of this current law it would

5    require the hiring of additional traffic officers

6    and to change current law to allow the traffic

7    officers to write such traffic violations rather

8    than the current moving violation.          Under current

9    law, only the New York Police Department is

10   allowed to write summons for blocking the box.

11            Another component of the enforcement

12   portion of my plan would be to hire additional

13   Taxi and Limousine Commission code enforcement

14   officers.   This would allow for effective

15   enforcement of yellow cabs preventing them from

16   picking up and discharging fares in the middle of

17   the street, which is a common occurrence for

18   anyone that’s driven in the middle of a lane of

19   traffic in Manhattan.      But in order to make it

20   fait to cab drivers, it would be necessary to

21   designate additional cab stands similar to those

22   at Penn Station with the central business

23   district and even outside the central business

24   district.   The goal is not to hurt the cab

25   driver, but protect a potential fares safety and

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2    to help with the flow and speed of traffic.           The

3    goal here is to create awareness and promote safe

4    driving while obeying traffic laws.         That is why

5    the fine increase is only minimal.

6               The next component would be

7    implementation of what I call flex commute.           The

8    problem with rush hour is that hundreds of

9    thousands of people are rushing to get into

10   Manhattan using the various tunnels and bridges.

11    Flex commute would increase the tolls of the

12   tunnels and existing toll bridges during peak

13   hours and decrease them during off peak hours.

14   The same would be true for MTA buses and subways,

15   but in this case the opposite would occur so as

16   to make mass transit more inviting to use.

17              Aside from the request for additional red

18   light cameras, technology is a key component to

19   my plan.    The installation of real time

20   technology would allow for a real person to

21   change traffic patterns, as needed, by having the

22   ability to change the length of time of traffic

23   lights.    There are many examples of times when

24   traffic flow is good in one direction but not in

25   another or traffic is severely affected as a

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2    result of one direction of the flow of traffic,

3    especially within the central business district

4    and the box.

5             The next component would require

6    increasing the number of parking meters within

7    the central business district, as well as outside

8    the central business district.        This would help

9    prevent areas outside of the central business

10   district and surrounding boroughs from becoming

11   parking lots.     These meters would be enforced

12   only during peak times and permits, free of

13   charge, will be given out to residents in the

14   area, excluding them from paying the designated

15   meters at all.

16            Construction projects also play a role in

17   congestion throughout Manhattan and other

18   boroughs, as well, but especially within the

19   central business district, as we are experiencing

20   more than normal levels of projects ongoing

21   simultaneously.

22            Currently, contractors only pay as little

23   as $50 for a three-month permit.        Because of the

24   low amount, there is no incentive for contractors

25   to utilize the space in an effective and

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2    efficient manner.     So they occupy street space

3    well beyond what is needed, space that can be

4    used for parking.     Under my plan the permit price

5    would be raised from $50 to $500.           However, if we

6    still find this change still has not made a

7    difference, then the permit fee will either

8    increase or the length of time of the permit will

9    be reduced.

10              It is important that as behavior changes

11   that we are prepared to meet those changes.           That

12   is why I would set aside capital money to build

13   municipal multi-level parking garages for

14   commuters.     There will be a minimal charge to

15   make it more enticing to drive to these

16   facilities and then take mass transit from these

17   garages.     These multi-level facilities would be

18   built next to or within close proximity of a

19   subway line, Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North

20   station.

21              The remaining two components would be the

22   incentive portion of my plan.        We need to give a

23   reason to commuters and businesses as to why mass

24   transit is the best alternative to commuting

25   within the central business district.           That is

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2    why I call for tax incentives to commuters who

3    switch from driving to mass transit.         The plan

4    would also give tax incentives to employers who

5    subsidize the use of mass transit by their

6    employees.     And then tax incentives for companies

7    that switch their deliveries from peak to off-

8    peak times would also be eligible for tax

9    incentives.

10            As stated, my plan hurts only those who

11   violate the current rules, not those trying to

12   commute to make a living.       Therefore, I formally

13   submit my ten-point plan for your consideration.

14    I urge you not adopt the current plan, which I

15   believe is a regressive tax that penalizes people

16   that feel they have no other alternative, but

17   consider some of these other options, some of

18   which are also revenue-producing, which would

19   meet the federal guidelines.

20            Thank you.     I’d be happy to answer any

21   questions.

22            CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Thanks.    Assemblymember

23   Cathy Nolan.

24            ASSEMBLYWOMAN NOLAN:       You know, I never

25   like when I’m at these hearings to have people be

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2    late, so I apologize for running a little late.

3    It’s good to see most of you, all of you, I

4    guess.   I’m very happy to have the opportunity to

5    address you and talk about what I think are some

6    of the key concerns.      I think many of you know

7    I’m not loving the plan as it’s been presented.

8             Most of my district lies either just

9    outside the zone proposal or around some key

10   transit hubs.    Perhaps more than any other

11   Assembly District, the 37th, which covers Long

12   Island City, Ridgewood, Sunnyside, and parts of

13   other western Queens neighborhoods, faces a bit

14   of a triple whammy because we have diverted non-

15   E-ZPass users to the Queens Borough Bridge,

16   additional cars parking in Long Island City.              In

17   London they call that the rat run, people who

18   avoid the toll by parking and then hopping on a

19   train.   And, of course, an impact on Queens Plaza

20   and stations like Vernon Jackson, which had maybe

21   800 people a day, and now with all the

22   development Long Island City has 8,000 people a

23   day.

24            To me this mitigation plan doesn’t really

25   respond to what we need.       It certainly is not

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2    going to be enough, the new bus routes and the

3    new things.

4               I’m here to support what the Borough

5    President said about a list of projects which we

6    think are legitimate.      We think that a lot of the

7    plan as is proposed will not really make a dent

8    in travel time.     Isn’t congestion just as much of

9    a concern on Queens Boulevard?        I should say

10   Jamaica Avenue, which I took to get here, was

11   extremely crowed tonight.       There has been times

12   when I’ve taken a bus to your college, many times

13   in the past.    But the truth is to get from

14   Ridgewood to your college by bus is double the

15   time that you would do driving even with all the

16   traffic.    So when we talk about congestion

17   reduction are we talking about disbursal, I hate

18   to even use the phrase outer-boroughs, or are we

19   talking about really trying to reduce people in

20   their cars?

21              I’m one of the people – I’m going to

22   summarize this because you’ve already been

23   patient, and nice because I did come in so late –

24   to say to you this.      I think I can look at funds.

25    I think that people can look at other funding

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2    streams.     We want to continue the progress that

3    we’ve already worked so hard on, mass transit.

4    Certainly the 20 years that I’ve been in the

5    Legislature I’ve spent a lot of time and worked

6    with so many of you on the issue.           Maybe there

7    are ways to do some dedicated funds.           But the

8    plan as it’s currently presented has an extremely

9    negative impact in my particular assembly

10   district because people will drive to Long Island

11   City, in particular, but to a lesser extent

12   Ridgewood and Sunnyside – they do it now

13   sometimes – park, there’s no extra parking in

14   this plan to put in any of those spaces.           All the

15   buildings that are being built in Queens West

16   have almost no parking included with them.              So

17   where are these people going to go?           They’re

18   going to fight for parking spots and then jump on

19   the seven or the M to hit the big City of

20   Manhattan.     We will get the impact of that.           We

21   will get the congestion.       We will get the

22   additional pollution.

23              I also might add that residential

24   parking, in my view, is not the answer.           It

25   inhibits movement between neighborhoods, and I do

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2    not support that.

3             That’s my five minutes, I think.         It’s

4    good to see you all.      Thank you.    We did manage

5    to bring copies, for once.       If there’s any

6    questions, I’ll take them.

7             CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Thank you.    Jeff Zuppan.

8             MR. ZUPPAN:      Good evening.     My name is

9    Jeffrey Zuppan, and I’m the senior fellow for

10   transportation at Regional Plan Association, the

11   not-for-profit research and planning organization

12   serving New York City and the greater

13   metropolitan area.     We appreciate this

14   opportunity to testify on how the proposed

15   congestion pricing pilot program would benefit

16   Queens, as well as the questions that we would

17   ask the Commission to address.

18            Regardless of where you stand on

19   congestion pricing, the debate that has been

20   generated by the proposal has helped focus

21   attention on the problem of traffic congestion.

22   In fact, both supporters and opponents of

23   congestion charging are largely in agreement that

24   something can and must be done.        Anyone who

25   drives on or lives near any major bridge or

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2    highway knows that traffic has gone from being a

3    nuisance to being a crisis, and if we don’t do

4    something now, it’s only going to get a lot

5    worse.   There is a growing consensus that the

6    risks to our public health are too high, and the

7    costs to our economy are too great.

8             So the question is not whether we should

9    do anything about congestion, but what we should

10   do about it.    The questions that I’d like to

11   focus on today is how the proposed pilot program

12   would benefit Queens and how the costs are

13   distributed.

14            First, by reducing auto and truck traffic

15   not only in Manhattan but in the rest of the New

16   York City and suburbs beyond, the congestion

17   pricing pilot will simultaneously improve public

18   health and help keep the overall city economy

19   competitive.    And with a growing number of cities

20   successfully implementing congestion pricing,

21   including London, Stockholm and Singapore, the

22   pilot program will help us keep pace with regions

23   around the world that have reduced congestion by

24   as much as 40 percent.

25            Second, as part of the federally funded

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2    improvements prior to the implementation of the

3    pilot, the MTA will be adding express bus routes

4    in the Queens neighborhoods, and I list the two

5    dozen or so neighborhoods throughout, for the

6    most, part, in the eastern half of Queens,

7    expanding its fleet in the borough by 23 local,

8    46 articulated, and 35 express buses, adding four

9    train trips during the AM peak period on the E

10   and F lines, and constructing with New York City

11   DOT a bus rapid transit pilot on Merrick

12   Boulevard, which would provide a real time

13   alternative and relief to the subway system in

14   major commuter corridors, creating a dedicated

15   East River bus lane to speed buses into

16   Manhattan, and adding ferry service.

17            In the longer term, residents of Queens

18   would also benefit directly from revenues that

19   will be generated from congestion pricing.

20   Projects that are targeted for increased funding

21   include the East Side Access project, which will

22   add capacity on the Long Island Rail Road, giving

23   many Queens residents a faster choice than

24   crowded subway lines, along the lines of what

25   some of the earlier speakers spoke about.          Why is

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2    it that the Long Island Rail Road does not really

3    serve parts of Queens where the Long Island Rail

4    Road travels to?     And for those now using the

5    Long Island Rail Road a faster way to get to the

6    East Side, the Second Avenue Subway that will

7    provide congestion relief for Queens number 7

8    train commuters at Grand Central Terminal as

9    fewer Lexington Avenue line riders would need to

10   transfer there, and, finally, a third track for

11   the Long Island Rail Road that would greatly

12   increase the railroad’s capacity for reverse

13   commutes to both Nassau and Suffolk, opening up

14   new job opportunities for Queens residents.

15            Without congestion pricing it is

16   difficult to see where the revenue would come

17   from to augment existing services and complete

18   all of these important projects, while keeping

19   the subway, bus and Long Island Rail Road in a

20   state of good repair.      None of the alternatives

21   that have been proposed for congestion pricing,

22   while complementary to congestion pricing, such

23   as improved traffic enforcement or increased

24   parking fees, would produce nearly the amount of

25   revenue nor reduce traffic as much as the pilot

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2    program, nor maintain the City’s eligibility for

3    the federal congestion mitigation funding.           No

4    matter what the critics of congestion pricing

5    say.

6             And I have attached to my testimony our

7    critique of the program or programs as has been

8    suggested.

9             Let me just mention one or two items

10   extemporaneously, as I was listening.         One

11   question, one idea was to make the tolls higher

12   on those places that already have tolls, but

13   that’s the problem now.      You now have an uneven

14   situation where there is the hunting and pecking,

15   where people use the BQE and the Gowanus

16   Expressway to get to the free bridges, clogging

17   up Brooklyn and Queens the inner parts of

18   Brooklyn and Queens.      And if you make the toll

19   even higher in the peak where the tolls exists,

20   that problem will get even worse, people will

21   migrate even further to the already overcrowded

22   Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Queens

23   Borough Bridges.

24            The second idea, parking garages in

25   neighborhoods.     Who wants parking garages in

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2    their neighborhoods?      The idea is just a non-

3    starter.    To try to make it possible for people

4    who drive to these massive parking garages at

5    subway stations, it’s just not going to happen.

6               Other proposals are based on hypothetical

7    scenarios rather than informed estimates and fail

8    to account for any costs associated with putting

9    them in place.    But of course the question of who

10   pays is critical and it’s important that the

11   program be fair, as well as effective.          In this

12   regard, it is important to note several facts

13   about who in Queens would pay the fee.

14              First, only one in – only seven percent

15   of Queens’ residents who go to work each day

16   travel to work by car to Manhattan.         Of those

17   traveling to Manhattan, most use public transit

18   and drivers tend to earn more.        Only five percent

19   of lower income workers and nine percent of

20   higher income workers are in that category.

21              Second, because bridge and tunnel tolls

22   could be deduced from the $8 charge, many of

23   those who now drive wouldn’t pay any more at all.

24    In the four boroughs outside of Manhattan only

25   39 percent of the commuters that drives to

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2    Manhattan would pay the congestion charge.           The

3    point is that the charge would directly affect a

4    small fraction of Queens’ residents.         It comes

5    out to roughly one out of every 35 people in

6    Queens who go to work every day.

7               And what will happen without congestion

8    pricing?    There will be even greater pressure to

9    raise tolls on bridges and tunnels, like the Tri-

10   Borough or Midtown Tunnel, to make up for the

11   serious revenue shortfalls faced by the MTA,

12   further exacerbating the inequities that I spoke

13   about before.

14              There are certainly many questions that

15   the Commission needs to ask.       And there are ways

16   to make the system more efficient by adjusting

17   the boundaries or making other changes, perhaps.

18    How can we reduce the overhead of the system to

19   provide an even greater funding stream for mass

20   transit?    Certainly, a system of monitoring the

21   pilot should be specified so the program can be

22   fine tuned once it’s up and running.

23              However, these legitimate questions about

24   implementation should not deflect from the need

25   to enact a pilot program and finally begin to

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2    seriously address the problems of traffic

3    congestion in our City.

4             Thank you.

5             CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Thank you.    Daniel

6    Hendrick.

7             MR. HENDRICK:      Good evening.      My name is

8    Dan Hendrick, and I am with the New York League

9    of Conservation Voters.      I’ve given a copy of my

10   testimony.    I just wanted to add a few things.

11   Hopefully I won’t be redundant with too many of

12   the speakers that you’ve already heard.          But I

13   just wanted to add a few things about why my

14   organization supports congestion pricing and why

15   I do as a Queens' resident.

16            The sad fact is that our buses and our

17   subway are under funded and they’re in a terrible

18   state or repair.     Western Queens and southeast

19   Queens, where we are right now, have huge asthma

20   problems that disproportionately affect low

21   income residents and people of color.         Our

22   streets and highways are certainly clogged,

23   especially in the AM and PM rush, and our borough

24   and the City are growing.       Congestion pricing is

25   the only plan on the table that would hit all

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2    these four birds with one stone.

3             I understand that no one wants to pay

4    more; that’s human nature.       And some of the

5    counterproposals that some of the folks tonight

6    will bring up, like enforcing the traffic

7    regulations, are good.      But they don’t go far

8    enough and they don’t benefit the middle and

9    working class residents who rely on transit and

10   don’t have the option or the luxury to drive.

11            A few facts you’ve already heard.

12            Most Queens residents work in the borough

13   where they live; they would not have to pay the

14   fee.   Most Queens residents who work in the

15   central business do not drive there; they would

16   not have to pay the fee.       Fewer than one in five

17   of the people who actually work in the central

18   business actually drive there, and most of them

19   either have free parking, can expense the amount

20   on to their employer or their clients, so they

21   also would not be paying the fee.           In other

22   words, a small percentage of the wealthiest

23   people and the vast majority, especially the

24   working and middle class residents, would finally

25   have the chance to see better transit.

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2               So, esteemed members of the Commission,

3    we cannot bury our collective heads in the sand

4    on this.     Take a look at this borough – the buses

5    are old and overcrowded, the subway service is

6    lousy, the Van Wyck, LIE, and BQE are parking

7    lots.     Some people would argue that this status

8    quo is fine.     But trust your own eyes, they won’t

9    deceive you.

10              Thank you.

11              CHAIRMAN SHAW:     James Trent.

12              MR. TRENT:   Thank you for the opportunity

13   to present the concerns of the Queens residents

14   to the New York City Traffic Congestion

15   Mitigation Commission.      My name is Jim Trent, and

16   I serve as Treasurer and Transportation Committee

17   Chair for the Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella

18   organization of more than 110 neighborhood based

19   civic organizations representing property owners,

20   including those owning coops and condos and

21   tenants who reside in every part of Queens

22   County.

23              The Queens Civic Congress opposes the

24   congestion tax.     Our Queens Civic Congress

25   Platform, which is called Civic 2030, quite

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2    succinctly advocates:      Maintain free use of all

3    non-TBTA East River and Harlem River bridges for

4    all city residents, and oppose any plan or scheme

5    to impose a tax, fee or toll on vehicles to enter

6    Manhattan such as the fee proposed by the Mayor

7    as part of PlaNYC.

8             Just parenthetically, this is the

9    position of the organization.        I personally do

10   not drive a car or have a driver’s license, and I

11   still support this plan that this is not a good

12   thing to do, to tax people to come into the City.

13            As our past president Sean Walsh wrote in

14   our September newsletter, “The federal grant and

15   the state legislation require any alternative to

16   the congestion tax reduce congestion in Manhattan

17   south of 86th Street by a mere 6.3 percent.”

18   Sound, cost-efficient and effective measures that

19   reduce congestion without any reliance on the

20   costly congestion tax scheme exists.

21            The Queens Civic Congress calls on city

22   Hall to promote measures that address congestion,

23   funds for mass transit and, most importantly,

24   increase bus and subway service, not the pittance

25   thrown as a bone to our borough to support the

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2    congestion tax scheme which merely remains a

3    scheme to establish East River tolls on the free

4    crossings.

5             To assist City Hall and the commission in

6    regard to the needs of our borough, the Queens

7    Civic Congress attaches a list of projects and

8    programmatic measures to improve our borough’s

9    mass transit.    These include:      re-route the F,

10   along with the E, through the 53rd Street tunnel;

11   restore G service to Forest Hills; run the V

12   trains instead through the 63rd Street Tunnel as

13   a Broadway express; reconfigure Queens bus

14   routes, many of which were laid out more than a

15   half century ago; extend local LIRR service in

16   Queens, as we heard from the Borough President

17   and others; operate buses that use non-polluting

18   fuels and easily convert to ultra clean fuel-cell

19   technology; and establish point to point north-

20   south bus service, currently non-existent.           This

21   includes extending the Q79 bus in eastern Queens

22   south across the city line to the Long Island

23   Rail Road to Floral Park.       The above and other

24   Queens Civic Congress transit improvement

25   proposals should attract more riders and, thus,

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2    reduce congestion.

3             With revenue sources remaining a concern,

4    the Queens Civic Congress again refers to the

5    commission and City Hall and our legislators to

6    our platform.    The Queens Civic Congress Real

7    Property Tax Reform Initiative would capture

8    billions of dollars in lost real estate tax

9    revenue based on illegal uses and improper

10   property classifications.       The platform includes

11   a recommendation to reform the City’s personal

12   income tax through a surcharge on New York State

13   adjusted gross incomes over $200,000.         Nearly 90

14   percent of $1.3 billion gets raised from those

15   who earn over $1 million.       More information on

16   these measures may be found on our

17   QueensCivicCongress.org website.        Another

18   proposal developed in the context of City Hall

19   unprecedented 2002 property tax hike would raise

20   a similar amount for the City and general

21   hundreds of millions of dollars for the suburbs

22   served by the MTA through a non-resident income

23   tax.   Please refer to our website for further

24   information.

25            In conclusion, the more New Yorkers

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2    learns about congestion pricing, the more they

3    see how rotten it is to tax New Yorkers to

4    address midtown and downtown Manhattan traffic

5    when better ways exist.       New Yorkers consider the

6    congestion price scheme a regressive tax and want

7    to hear about any and all alternatives before

8    getting hit with another expense they cannot

9    afford.    The members of the Traffic Congestion

10   Mitigation Commission owe New Yorkers a fiduciary

11   duty to examine all traffic alternatives and give

12   each and every proposal a fair and property

13   hearing.

14              Thank you.

15              CHAIRMAN SHAW:     Veda Jamoona.

16              (No verbal response.)

17              Roland Lewis.

18              MR. LEWIS:   Good evening.       I’m Roland

19   Lewis, the President of the Metropolitan

20   Waterfront Alliance.       We submitted testimony to

21   the Commission last week in Manhattan, so I won’t

22   repeat that.    But I did want to amend it and give

23   you a visual aid, because a picture is worth a

24   thousand words.

25              This photo shows, again talking primarily

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2    about ferry service that could be added, the 20

3    existing ferry docks that exist now, the five

4    that are under construction and, most

5    importantly, the 88 that are possible, had been

6    identified as possible places to put a boat on

7    the waters that surround the island and peninsula

8    that are New York City.

9               Very briefly I just would say we were

10   talking at breakfast.      I asked Commissioner

11   Shoris (phonetic) about ferry service, and he

12   responded that we’ve painted ourself in a box

13   because we don’t allow operating subsidies for

14   ferries.    And this is – the congestion pricing

15   mechanism is a wonderful way to maybe erase a

16   little bit of that box and get operating

17   subsidies to expand ferry service.          This may seem

18   like the tail wagging the dog but, I think, when

19   this is passed and we have congestion pricing and

20   there is investment in ferry service, it will be

21   a landmark moment that people look back upon when

22   we made a new leg of transportation service for

23   our city and our region.

24              I do encourage – I think the congestion

25   pricing proposal is truly thinking outside the

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2    box and a very progressive idea.        Particularly

3    the idea of having additional operating subsidy

4    and additional capital funds for ferry service is

5    a wonderful component of it.

6             And I encourage the Commission to

7    consider voting in favor of it.        I can say this

8    not as a resident of Queens, but as a resident of

9    Brooklyn.   I know other folks in my borough are,

10   as you will hear hopefully in a couple of nights,

11   are very much in favor of this as well.

12            Thank you very much.

13            CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Thank you.    Joseph

14   Hartigan.

15            MR. HARTIGAN:      My name is Joe Hartigan.

16    I live in Rockaway, Queens, and I’m a ferry

17   advocate.   I endorse the proposed congestion

18   pricing plan only if it supports and improves New

19   York City’s mass transportation system.

20            The most beneficial, quickest and easiest

21   improvement to mass transportation would be fast

22   ferry service from various points in the outer-

23   boroughs into the City.      However, I differ from

24   the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.         Instead of

25   an inner-harbor loop, the City should connect

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2    ferry service into the larger parking lots

3    located in the outer boroughs into Manhattan,

4    thus keeping cars and buses from entering

5    Manhattan and certain parts of Brooklyn and

6    Queens.

7              I request that you consider the following

8    points.

9              Connect all New York City area airports

10   to Manhattan via ferry service.        Such a service

11   could run every half hour throughout the day, not

12   just during commuting times.       For example,

13   service could be established linking Newark

14   Liberty Airport to Kennedy Airport with a stop at

15   Staten Island and Riis Park, which has parking

16   for 9,000 vehicles.      Another run could be

17   established between Newark and LaGuardia Airports

18   with a stop at Wall Street, mid-town, onto

19   Roosevelt Island, and finally to the World’s Fair

20   Marina.     Additionally, a service could be

21   established between Kennedy and LaGuardia

22   Airports.     I recognize that one would not travel

23   between Kennedy and LaGuardia using ferries;

24   however, these various runs could overlap –

25   World’s Fair to Coney Island and Riis Park.

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2               On January 11, 2005, New England Fast

3    Ferry conducted a test run which ran between Wall

4    Street, Pier 11, and Kennedy Airport’s Bergen

5    Basin.     The travel time was 48 minutes, which is

6    12 minutes faster than the estimated time of the

7    proposed JFK rail link estimated to cost two to

8    $3 billion.     The study, plan, and environmental

9    impact study was $460 million, with an additional

10   $100 million from the bond act, totally $560

11   million.     Even with those funds being spent,

12   there is not one piece of track that any of us

13   can ride on today.

14              In 2005, New York City recorded a record

15   ridership on the subway of 4.9 million

16   straphangers.     Does it make any sense to

17   encourage JFK travelers, with their luggage, to

18   ride on the subway?      Couldn’t that develop into a

19   security nightmare?      Consider the expense of

20   checking luggage at the 420 train stations in New

21   York City.

22              In 2005, JFK Airport experienced a four

23   million passenger increase, from 36 to 40 million

24   passengers, while the JFK Howard Beach train

25   station only experienced an annual increase of

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2    approximately 50,000 passengers, including local

3    daily commuters.

4               In 2006, JFK Airport realized another

5    increase with passengers totaling 50 million, a

6    10 million increase, with no large increase in

7    subway ridership.     If New York City and Port

8    Authority officials still think the JFK rail link

9    is a worthwhile idea, why wait until it is built?

10    In the interim, let’s provide ferry service.

11              Ferry service connections should be

12   linked to the following large parking lots

13   throughout the City:      Riis Park, Queens, 9,000

14   spaces; Orchard Beach, Bronx, 6,000 spaces;

15   Miller Field, Staten Island; Shea Stadium,

16   Queens; Yankee Stadium, Bronx; Ferry Point Park,

17   Bronx.     Note, the key to a successful ferry

18   service is the availability to close, convenient

19   parking.

20              Express buses should not have to travel

21   all the way into Manhattan, but, rather, these

22   buses could travel to a ferry dock enabling these

23   buses to make two to three pick up runs versus

24   the one run currently in operation.         If the

25   express buses did not have to travel into

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2    Manhattan, the MTA would have at least 600 more

3    buses to provide other runs which could

4    offsetting the cost of the ferry service.          For

5    example, an express bus traveling from Bayside to

6    the World’s Fair Marina, instead of going into

7    Manhattan, could complete two to three runs each

8    morning thereby freeing other buses for other

9    runs.

10             Ferry boats could be fueled by using bio-

11   diesel.     In New York City there are more than

12   24,000 places of public assembly – bars and

13   restaurant, excluding Chinese takeout, Mexican,

14   and delis - producing 10 to 20 gallons of waste

15   vegetable oil, some of which is currently being

16   poured into the City’s sewer system.         Today, one

17   needs to pay to pick up this waste.         As part of a

18   subsidy plan, wouldn’t it be a good idea to

19   provide a fuel subsidy as opposed to a cash

20   subsidy where fuel is a major cost to a ferry

21   operator?     Then the City could create two

22   centrally located ferry fueling stations allowing

23   ferries to load up on 1,000 gallons of bio-diesel

24   at a time.

25             In conclusion, please note that currently

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2    less than two-tenths of one percent of New York

3    City commuters travel via water transportation

4    even though all of New York City is surrounded by

5    water.   Mayor Michael Bloomberg envisions more

6    bicycle riders around our City and ferry boats

7    could easily accommodate bicycles.          Furthermore,

8    ferries are handicap and stroller friendly.

9             The events of September 11, the transit

10   strikes, blackouts, and steam pipe explosions

11   have all proven that an expanded ferry service is

12   needed during such times of disaster.          The only

13   fast and safe way to evacuate city residents

14   would be via the water.

15            The development of the waterfronts in

16   Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island cannot rely

17   on bus and train service alone.        The addition of

18   extensive ferry transportation system, as I

19   described in this statement, clearly is a step in

20   the right direction.

21            My last point is why is it that Staten

22   Island gets to commute for free?        And $80 million

23   budget, they get the commute for free and they

24   have 400 express buses also.       There’s nobody in

25   this room who gets to commute for free.

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2             Thank you.

3             CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Come out to Staten

4    Island on Monday and testify.

5             MR. HARTIGAN:     I will.    I will be there.

6             CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Karla Quantero.

7             MS. QUANTERO:      Hello.    My name is Karla

8    Quantero, and I am the Deputy Director of

9    Planning for Transportation Alternatives.

10   Transportation Alternatives is a 6,000 member

11   strong non-profit citizens’ organization that

12   works with communities in every borough to reduce

13   automobile use and re-envision New York City

14   streets as greener, more healthy and

15   environmental sustainable public space that

16   promotes transit, walking, bicycling, and other

17   efficient modes of transport appropriate for our

18   big, dense, diverse city.       I am also a lifelong

19   Queens resident and currently live in Astoria

20   close to my family.

21            As a Queens resident, a New Yorker and on

22   behalf of Transportation Alternatives, I am here

23   to express strong support for using congestion

24   pricing to fund transit, reduce traffic, clean

25   the air and improve quality of life in New York

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2    City.     The congestion pricing plan proposed in

3    Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC long-term sustainability

4    plan is fair and will bring benefits to Queens

5    and to the entire city – drivers, transit riders,

6    walkers, bikers, lower income, and working class

7    people and anyone who happens to breathe New York

8    City air.

9               Neighborhoods in Queens need traffic

10   relief.     We need fewer cars driving down our

11   streets, and we need better transit.         We need

12   funding to increase subway and bus service, to

13   reduce waiting time, and lessen delays so that we

14   can spend more time visiting our friends and

15   families, so that we can breathe cleaner air and

16   so that we can improve the vitality, health and

17   economies of our neighborhoods.        Congestion

18   pricing is a means to this end.

19              The goal of congestion pricing is to make

20   New York a better place to live, work, and raise

21   a family.     The point is not simply to charge

22   people who drive in Manhattan south of 86th

23   Street on weekdays between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00

24   p.m.    Specifically, congestion pricing will raise

25   very sorely needed funding for mass transit, it

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2    will improve public health by reducing pollution,

3    cleaning the air and reducing crashes, and it

4    will thin traffic, allowing New York City to make

5    greener, more efficient and healthful use of its

6    streets.    There is no other plan on the table

7    that will do all of these things, nor meet the

8    Urban Parnterhsip agreement that the City and

9    State signed with the U.S. Department of

10   Transportation.

11              Today, Transportation Alternatives is

12   here to express our strong support for a plan

13   that deposits congestion pricing revenue into a

14   transportation funding lockbox.        For any

15   congestion pricing-based plan to operate and

16   function as intended, the funds it collects must

17   be committed to paying for New York City

18   Metropolitan Area Transit improvements and the

19   plan must include a mandate for doing so.          If

20   congestion pricing fees are not placed into a

21   lockbox from which they can be spent on metro-

22   area transit improvements, they will almost

23   surely be lost amongst the State’s general

24   expenditures.     Equally problematic, congestion

25   pricing fees will come to be viewed, and likely

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2    rejected, as just another way of taking money

3    from metro area residents to pay for the rest of

4    the state’s needs.     To deliver the needed

5    transportation improvements that New Yorkers are

6    asking for, congestion pricing funds must go in a

7    lockbox for transit improvements.

8             Congestion pricing is the only proposal

9    on the table right now that will raise

10   significant funds for mass transit.         The New York

11   City region is facing a $31 billion

12   transportation funding gap.       While our transit

13   system is in better condition today than its been

14   in the past 20 years, it is still far from

15   reaching a state of good repair and meeting

16   today’s travel demand, let alone the projected

17   increase in demand bought on by a growing

18   population.

19            After congestion pricing is approved and

20   before it goes into effect, 105 new clean air

21   buses will immediately be put into operation to

22   crisscross Queens.     Three new express bus routes

23   will begin operation, serving east and northeast

24   regions of the borough.      In medium and long-term,

25   congestion pricing revenue will be used to open

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2    super express buses, or bus rapid transit, in the

3    borough and help complete transit improvements

4    needed to meet the growing travel demand across

5    the boroughs, city and region.

6             Borough-wide, everyone in Queens will

7    benefit from congestion pricing to pay for

8    improved transit and reduce traffic, including

9    the majority of people who take transit to work

10   and everyone who breathes the air.          Only a small

11   percentage of commuters will pay the charge and,

12   now, those who choose to drive can best afford

13   it.

14            Right now, in our borough the majority of

15   workers don’t work in the congestion pricing

16   zone, or they work in the zone but commute by car

17   pool, mass transit or some other means.          That’s

18   95.5 percent of the borough’s workforce.          Of

19   Queens’ workers bound for the proposed congestion

20   pricing zone, 87 percent take transit, walk, bike

21   or carpool there, and 85 percent of these transit

22   riders live within a five to ten minute walk of a

23   subway or Long Island Rail Road Station.          All of

24   these people will benefit from congestion pricing

25   revenues and better transit, they will benefit

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2    from less traffic clogging bus routes, they will

3    benefit from safer streets and for those who do

4    drive, they will benefit from less congestion and

5    quicker travel times.      Only 4.5 percent of the

6    borough’s workforce workers drive alone to the

7    proposed congestion prizing zone, and most of

8    them have a time competitive transit option that

9    they choose not to take.

10              In most of the borough, taking transit to

11   the proposed congestion pricing zone is time

12   competitive driving, only adding five to ten

13   minutes to the trip, and today 62 percent of

14   people who currently choose to drive to the

15   proposed pricing zone live within a five to ten

16   minute walk of transit and commuter rail, the

17   same distance as most people who already take

18   transit.    Even in the most eastern neighborhoods

19   where the difference between driving and taking

20   transit to Manhattan ranges from 15 to 20

21   minutes, 71 percent of central business district

22   bound commuters take mass transit.          These people

23   will benefit from congestion pricing revenues

24   going to improve their commute.

25              While only a fraction of Queens’

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2    residents would pay the congestion charge, all of

3    us will benefit.     In Queens, as in every other

4    borough, lower income and working people will

5    benefit tremendously from transit improvements

6    funded by congestion pricing.        Less affluent New

7    Yorkers ride transit much more frequently than

8    those with higher incomes.       Census data shows

9    that in Brooklyn and Queens, commuters making

10   less than $50,000 a year are twice as likely to

11   take transit as drive to work.        Borough and

12   citywide, households with cars earn twice as much

13   as households without them.

14             Congestion pricing will also benefit

15   small businesses because they will not be paying

16   their employees to sit in traffic to do their

17   job.    The times savings will mean lower overhead

18   to businesses.     It will also mean that workers

19   will get more done in less time and get home for

20   dinner with their families at a more reasonable

21   hour.

22             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Karla, if you could sum

23   up, please.

24             MS. QUANTERO:    Sure.

25             The Mayor’s proposal is the only one that

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2    meets the requirements set forth in the urban

3    partnership agreement signed by the city, state,

4    MTA and the U.S. Department of Transportation,

5    which grants $354 million to New York.          In

6    addition to the $354 million in federal transit

7    aid, Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing

8    proposal will bring in annual revenue of up to

9    $400 million.     The agreement with the United

10   State DOT, among other measures, is contingent

11   upon using pricing as a principal mechanism to

12   achieve a 6.3 percent reduction in vehicle miles

13   traveled within the congestion zone, and provides

14   for at least 18 months of congestion pricing

15   operation.

16              Just to conclude, I’d like to say in

17   reviewing the proposal, we should ask ourselves

18   what kind of neighborhood and city do we want to

19   live in.     That’s what congestion pricing is

20   really about.     What kind of lives do we want to

21   lead?   Do we want to live in a city that’s vital,

22   diverse, healthy and economically and culturally

23   thriving or do we want to live in one that’s

24   polluted and decaying, stuck in gridlock 24/7?

25              Thank you.

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2              CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you.

3              Dan Miner.

4              MR. MINER:     Good evening members of the

5    Commission.    Thank you.    My name is Dan Miner.

6    I’m here representing Sierra Club New York City

7    Group.    Some people in this room know me not only

8    as a Queens resident, but also as a staff member

9    for a Queens non-profit business services

10   organization that conspicuously does not have a

11   policy on congestion pricing.        However, Sierra

12   Club does, in fact, support it and I would like

13   to tell you and the members of the audience why.

14             So far arguments for and against

15   congestion pricing have not included the rising

16   gasoline price that is changing the economics of

17   transportation.     Skeptics, boosters, and the

18   general public implicitly assume that the price

19   of gas will remain basically stable even though

20   energy analysts see rising uncertainty and

21   volatility and many corporate leaders and

22   military analysts and national security advocates

23   worry that even slight disruptions to our oil

24   imports will raise gasoline prices over $5 a

25   gallon.    Some possible triggers include an attack

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2    in Iran causing a blockade of the Straits of

3    Ramuz (phonetic), the shipping channel for almost

4    a third of the world’s oil, turmoil in Nigeria or

5    Venezuela, terrorist attacks in oil, shipping and

6    refining infrastructure or more Gulf Coast

7    hurricanes.    However, even without a crisis fuel

8    prices are expected to keep climbing because,

9    simply, we’re running up against geological

10   limits.   We’ve discovered and extracted all of

11   the easy inexpensive oils and the days of

12   convenient abundant energy resources are over.

13             Many petroleum analysts say we will soon

14   reach a world peak in oil production, followed by

15   an irreversible decline.       And, incidentally, why

16   this not wildly speculative, it was reported a

17   few days ago by CNN.com reporting a German study

18   saying that world oil production, in fact, peaked

19   last year.

20             So even if there is speculation about the

21   exact timing of this point, that speculation is

22   pointless because world demand for oil has

23   already surpassed world oil production.          With

24   many of the world’s major oil fields in decline,

25   as well as the rate of new discoveries, much of

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2    our oil is now coming from geologically

3    challenging locations.      And, of course, we know

4    that there is lots of discussion about oil going

5    over $100 a barrel.      So the question should be is

6    the City looking for providing for the mass

7    transit infrastructure that people will need as

8    oil perhaps goes to unforeseen new heights.

9             The Army Corps of Engineers and the

10   Pentagon has warned that the military must take

11   immediate steps towards running an alternative in

12   renewable fuel so the increasingly costly supply

13   of oil will make the U.S. military’s ability to

14   respond to hot spots around the world

15   unsustainable in the long term.        So let’s apply

16   the same awareness here to New York City.

17            How would a sharp spike in oil prices

18   effect trucks bringing groceries to supermarkets,

19   winter heating fuel prices, the restaurants and

20   theatres, depending our tourists, and even the

21   operation of fire, police, ambulances and garbage

22   trucks, and what would this do to the commuters

23   who are currently driving into Manhattan and

24   might it not foresee and increased need/desire

25   for mass transit.

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2             So I would certainly encourage you to

3    look at the summary of the Sierra Club of New

4    York City’s Groups article on congestion pricing,

5    which we support as an interim measure of coping

6    with this need for greater mass transit at our

7    website beyondoilnyc.org.

8             And, once again, I would include both

9    this group and the City as a whole to anticipate

10   the possibility of volatility of energy prices in

11   the future and to make infrastructure decisions

12   accordingly.     Thank you very much.

13            CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Thank you.

14            Harbachan Sing.

15            (No verbal response.)

16            Phil Konigsberg.

17            MR. KONIGSBERG:      Good evening.     I want to

18   thank you for the opportunity to address the

19   board, the Commission.      I would say I’m a little

20   disappointed so far that I was expecting some

21   discourse back and forth amongst the speakers

22   previously and who come on after me.         You had

23   some, I think, great proposals, counter-

24   proposals.     You’ve heard from my borough

25   president.     You’ve heard from legislators and

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2    civic leaders.     I’m not seeing any questioning of

3    these proposals.     Someone has to have some

4    proposals or further discussion.        I hope that you

5    will take all this testimony and really give it

6    some thought.    Sorry for that initial.

7             My name is Phil Konigsberg.        I live in

8    Bay Terrace in northeast Queens.        And I’m for the

9    Fourth Vice Chair of Queens Community Board 7 and

10   also the past president of the Bay Terrace

11   Community Alliance, a civic association in north

12   Queens, northeast Queens.       I appreciate the

13   opportunity, as I said, to share with you my very

14   strong feelings regarding the proposed pricing

15   proposal and an alternative to this ill-advised

16   plan.

17            Congestion pricing is a good idea – a bad

18   idea, excuse me.     But rather than tell you why

19   it’s a bad idea, I’d like to give you some

20   suggestions or some following alternatives to

21   implementing the congestion pricing plan which

22   should be a prerequisite before any plan is even

23   considered.

24            The number one reason that midtown

25   Manhattan experiences severe traffic congestion

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2    is due to the understaffing of the New York City

3    Police Department Traffic Enforcement personnel

4    and the failure of the current personnel to

5    strictly enforce the existing traffic

6    regulations.    In order for this strict

7    enforcement policy to work, the City of New York

8    needs to provide the resources to hire and train

9    sufficient personnel to address this overwhelming

10   chronic condition of illegally parked cars,

11   parked vehicles on our city streets, both during

12   the rush hour and non-rush hour time periods.

13   Strict enforcement is needed against motorists

14   who double park.     We’ve heard about blocking the

15   box.   But it’s in addition, emphasis on double

16   parkers, specifically trucks, cars illegally

17   parked in no-parking zones, illegally standing in

18   a no-standing zone, as well as vehicles being

19   driven in a restricted bus-only traffic lane.             By

20   the way, Queens also requires greater enforcement

21   efforts.    Please consider that as well.

22              In addition, the Mayor must direct his

23   police commissioner, fire commissioner, and other

24   agency heads to have their personnel observe the

25   parking regulations that are so blatantly

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2    violated throughout the City.        As an example, one

3    just has to drive west on East First 55st Street

4    in Manhattan in the morning to see how many

5    vehicles with NYPD placards in their windshields

6    are parked in violation of the posted signs on

7    the same block that the police precinct and fire

8    house is located.

9             In addition, strict enforcement of

10   traffic violations, New York City must consider a

11   drastic change in the culture for the center

12   city.   With a lead time of approximately two to

13   three years, New York City must move to a

14   restricted delivery zone in midtown.         This

15   restricted delivery zone would prohibit most

16   businesses of having any deliveries made in the

17   center city during rush hours.        Basically, during

18   the rush hour most streets would not permit

19   trucks to stop anywhere in midtown to make

20   deliveries between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and

21   from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.       The results of

22   implementing this plan would free up cross-town

23   traffic dramatically during rush hour and

24   encourage delivery of goods in off-peak hours

25   that would allow for a greater amount of

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2    deliveries in a shorter time period.

3             Now, for those of you who may recall the

4    1964 World’s Fair that took place over by

5    Flushing Meadow, Corona Park.        All deliveries to

6    hundreds of exhibitors were restricted to non-

7    business hours, which meant that deliveries could

8    not be made until after 10 or 11 p.m., my memory

9    doesn’t strike me that well, or after early

10   morning hours.     If this idea was a proven success

11   over 40 years ago, perhaps we need to revisit

12   this idea again.

13            In closing, before any decision made to

14   endorse the congestion pricing proposal, the

15   above suggestions, in addition to a marked

16   improvement in the mass transit infrastructure

17   and service from the outer boroughs into

18   Manhattan must take place.       One other comment

19   just popped in my head.

20            The discussion as far as people coming

21   from the outer boroughs into the center city for

22   the hospitals, mostly on the east side.          I had a

23   family that – a family member that had to come in

24   and have surgery in one of the hospitals on the

25   east side, Sloane Kettering.       Do you know it cost

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2    $32 to park there?     When someone has a medical

3    problem, they’re going to do the best possible,

4    easiest way.    They can’t take mass transit; they

5    have to drive or have a family member that

6    drives.   So you’re going to hit them with the

7    congestion pricing scheme, as well as having to

8    deal with – no other reason than to drive in.

9              Thank you.

10             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Veda Jamoona.

11             MS. JAMOONA:     Good evening panelists.

12   Thank you all for allowing me to speak tonight.

13   Good evening ladies and gentlemen.          First, I

14   would just like to say that this seems to be an

15   issue that may cause a severe burden on citizens

16   in New York City.

17             First, the residents of all boroughs,

18   especially Queens, are already paying one to two

19   tolls to enter New York City. An additional toll

20   will increase the cost of travel to Manhattan.

21   This will be an additional burden on the cost of

22   travel for Queen’s residents who are already

23   overpaying at the bridges to enter New York City.

24             Second.   Handicapped individuals will

25   suffer terribly if they cannot enter into lower

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2    Manhattan at a low cost, especially if they are

3    not wealthy.     They will be deprived of a normal

4    lifestyle.     An equal opportunity should be made

5    available to them.

6             My third point.      For those individuals

7    who come to work in New York City from New

8    Jersey, Westchester, the Bronx and other areas,

9    they will park in upper Manhattan and overcrowd

10   the neighborhood.     The upper Manhattan residents

11   should be afforded a normal lifestyle without

12   overcrowding in their neighborhood, as all the

13   residents in lower Manhattan will have.

14            My fourth point.      Many individuals are

15   unable to use mass transit for many reasons.

16   There are also inadequate city express buses.

17   This new ruling will be inconvenient for many

18   residents of Queens and other boroughs where

19   transportation is concerned.       What arrangements

20   will be made for those individuals who are unable

21   to travel with subways to Manhattan?

22            A decrease in city travelers and shoppers

23   in Manhattan will cause individuals to go to

24   other states like New Jersey to shop.         Thereby,

25   the economy in New York City will drop due to

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2    this traveling difficulty.

3               We, the residents of Queens, are against

4    this new ruling of Traffic Congestion Mitigation

5    Commission.     We hope and expect that this issue

6    will be revised and it will not be put into

7    effect.

8               I thank you for your consideration of

9    this matter.     I hope you guys have a wonderful

10   night.

11              CHAIRMAN SHAW:     Harbachan Singh.

12              MR. SINGH:    Honorable Chairman and

13   members of this distinguished Committee.          Good

14   evening.     My name is Harbachan Singh, and shall

15   be talking on congestion pricing.

16              Firstly, it is unfortunate that we are

17   being proposed with a conventional piece-meal

18   solution to a problem that belongs to a dot.com

19   era.     We must use information technology in

20   finding an efficient long-term solution.

21              Secondly, this $354.5 million which the

22   federal government is dangling before us like a

23   carrot is actually money due to us.         It has been

24   recognized that we have reached an untenable

25   traffic situation which is harmful to the

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2    environment, business, health and security of the

3    people.   The federal government should dole out

4    the full amount instead of giving us only a part

5    and that, too, on unfair conditions.           If $354.5

6    million is the only amount that can be given,

7    it’s fine.    We will redress the problem according

8    to the availability of resources.           But to make

9    New Yorkers to pay from their pockets is like

10   imposing additional taxes, especially on the

11   working middle class New Yorkers in a

12   discriminatory way.

13             According to the Chairman of the House

14   Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Charles

15   Wrangle, the middle class are already the

16   heaviest payers of taxes in this country, and he

17   is seeking to abolish the alternative minimum tax

18   from the Tax Code.

19             So we wish to plead with our Congress,

20   please give us a straight grant from our

21   contributions.    It is a meager sum compared to

22   what we are spending daily on the Iraq War.

23             Thank you.

24             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      John Johnson.

25             (No verbal response.)

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2               Kevin Forrestal.

3               MR. FORRESTAL:     Thank you for this

4    opportunity to present our thoughts to this

5    distinguished Committee.       I am Kevin Forrestal,

6    President of the Hillcrest Estates Civic

7    Association, which is north of the Grand Central

8    Parkway to Union Turnpike and from Parsons

9    Boulevard on the west to Utopia Parkway on the

10   east.   First, let me just go beyond the issue

11   that we’re talking about this evening.

12              We wish to state that the issue that

13   prompted this discussion of traffic congestion is

14   just a symptom of a much more widespread problem.

15    As a society we have failed to maintain and

16   expand our infrastructure to meet the expanding

17   demands.     This includes, but it not limited to,

18   public transportation, electricity, roads, water

19   and sewer.     There is an urgent need to examine

20   these issues and develop a comprehensive and

21   integrated plan to resolve the issues in a way

22   that minimizes disruption.

23              Given the state of public transportation

24   in New York City today, we cannot support the

25   congestion pricing scheme as proposed by Mayor

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2    Bloomberg.    We endorse the goals to reduce

3    traffic congestion in the central business

4    district in New York County.       But with 30 percent

5    of those who travel into the central business

6    district and over half of the domestic business

7    and visitors come by car or truck.          For the

8    City’s future, the efficient movement of these

9    and other vehicles is essential.

10            We object to the congestion pricing

11   scheme for the following reasons.

12            It only addresses the central business

13   districts and creates unintended negative impacts

14   on other sections of the city.        In many sections

15   of the City the current mass transit is at or

16   beyond capacity.     Adding 9,000 more riders with

17   the hope of future improvement service would be a

18   disaster.

19            For many mass transit travel times to the

20   central business district would be excessive.

21            Currently, many neighborhoods have

22   subways or express buses that have their streets

23   turned into parking lots for those from suburban

24   communities or parts of the city not well served

25   by mass transit.     This plan will make the parking

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2    more intolerable.     It will also cause traffic

3    congestion.

4               The cost to administer the system

5    proposed is excessive.      In London, the

6    administrative costs are nearly 40 percent.           The

7    London experience demonstrates large follow-up

8    billing and fines.

9               We would anticipate consistent increases

10   in fees, as has occurred in London.

11              There is also a question of fairness.

12   Many low and middle income people will be taxed,

13   and those who travel by cab and limo within

14   Manhattan will go for free.       There is also an

15   equity issues as it relates to those, as an

16   example, that travel from Queens over the 59th

17   Street Bridge versus those residents in New

18   Jersey coming over or under the Hudson River.

19   Queens residents, remember, we are New York

20   citizens too, will pay for more than the out-of-

21   state residents.

22              We suggest the following.

23              Make significant improvements to the mass

24   transit system before imposing congestion

25   pricing.

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2             Add a surcharge to Long Island Rail Road,

3    New Jersey Transit and the MTA trains coming into

4    New York City.    These funds must be used to

5    improve and expand mass transit in New York City.

6     Add a surcharge for limos used in the CBD.

7    Restore Long Island Rail Road and MTA stations

8    within New York City that have been closed.

9    Expand express buses and add service in

10   communities that are not served.        Create parking

11   lots for those who are accessing the mass transit

12   system in residential communities.          Enforce

13   existing traffic regulations, especially in the

14   regulations of livery drivers. Create incentives

15   for off-hour deliveries.

16            In summary, we need to:       review all

17   infrastructures in a systemic and coordinated

18   manner; implement a long-term plan, including

19   financial alternatives; improve mass transit

20   systems before implementing congestion pricing;

21   and implement information technology to better

22   manage traffic.

23            Thank you.

24            CHAIRMAN SHAW:       Ronald Gentile.

25            (No verbal response.)

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2             Louise Vetter.

3             MS. LUI:    Good evening members of the

4    Commission.    My name is Xa-ting Lui.       I am here

5    to present the testimony on behalf of Louise

6    Better, President and CEO of the American Lung

7    Association of the City of New York, who deeply

8    regrets that she cannot be here in person tonight

9    to deliver this herself.

10            How will we reduce gridlock that is

11   clogging our streets and choking our economy?

12   How will we rebuild the mass transit system that

13   everyone in this room agrees that New Yorkers

14   deserve and need?     How will we clean our air and

15   make it healthier to breathe?

16            For more than 100 years, the American

17   Lung Association of the City of New York has

18   worked to prevent lung disease and promote lung

19   health among the residents of the five boroughs.

20    In that regard and on behalf of the

21   organization, I am pleased to provide the

22   following testimony regarding the proposals for

23   traffic congestion and congestion pricing.

24            The American Lung Association of the City

25   of New York supports the congestion pricing

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2    proposal because it has the potential to take

3    cars off the road, thereby reducing tailpipe

4    emissions.    As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s

5    comprehensive PlaNYC initiative, congestion

6    pricing will create a commuter system, which is

7    faster, more reliable and has necessary funding

8    for the future through 2030 and beyond.          Through

9    this combined approach of investing in mass

10   transit and dissuading vehicular travel,

11   congesting pricing can help the city realize

12   healthier air.

13            The more than eight million residents of

14   New York City are exposed to some of the dirtiest

15   air in the nation.     Year after year the American

16   Lung Association State of the Air report shows

17   that the outdoor air quality in the five boroughs

18   is toxic.

19            The State of the Air report is county-by-

20   county report card on the two most pervasive air

21   pollutants:    particle pollution, soot, and ozone,

22   smog.   Long term exposure to both of these

23   pollutants can permanently damage lung tissue and

24   has been shown to shorten lives.        This year, the

25   report ranked the New York metropolitan area on

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2    the top-ten list for cities with the worst ozone

3    pollution and it ranked sixteenth worst for most

4    polluted by short-term particle pollution and

5    seventeenth for year-round particular pollution.

6             Mobile source emissions are a large

7    reason why.    The pollutants emitted from the

8    passenger vehicle fleet are the main contribute

9    to high ozone levels.      Ozone is a highly reactive

10   form of oxygen that is formed when pollution is

11   cooked on hot, bright sunny days.           Ozone eats

12   through rubber in high concentrations, is used to

13   purify drinking water and is a powerful

14   respiratory irritant.      Ozone has been shown to

15   trigger asthma attacks in those who have the

16   disease and can damage the structure and function

17   of a child’s lung, which could lead to diminished

18   lung capacity.

19            Additionally, tailpipe emissions emit

20   carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide,

21   and particle pollution.      When inhaled deeply,

22   fine particulates become lodged deep in the

23   lungs, causing asthma attacks, wheezing,

24   coughing, and respiratory irritation.           Children

25   are particularly susceptible to the effects of

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2    particle pollution since they breathe 55 percent

3    more air per pound of body weight than adults and

4    are more likely to be active outdoors.

5             The reality is that our lungs simply

6    weren’t made to breathe the levels of pollutions

7    New Yorkers are forced to inhale.           At the

8    American Lung Association of the City of New

9    York, we’re at the front lines of impact.

10            The Association works on behalf of the

11   more than two million residents who struggle with

12   diseases like emphysema, chronic obstructive

13   pulmonary disease and asthma, all worsened by the

14   simple act of taking a deep breath on a bad air

15   day.   In particular, of the one million residents

16   who have been diagnosed with asthma, 300,000 are

17   children.   Asthma is the leading cause of school

18   absenteeism among school-aged children, and in

19   some communities it has reached epidemic

20   proportions affecting one in four families.

21            Managing asthma is a constant struggle.

22   It requires the development of a personalized

23   medical regimen, daily maintenance medicines and

24   community-wide efforts to reduce exposure to the

25   many triggers that can exacerbate asthma and send

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2    families rushing to the emergency room.           Every

3    person with asthma has a unique set of triggers

4    that they must avoid, but there is one common

5    threat – pollution.

6               For a city like ours to be committed to

7    fight against asthma, we must do everything we

8    can to reduce exposure to poor air.           Asking

9    families to manage asthma in an environment that

10   fundamentally exacerbates the disease is asking

11   them to manage their disease with one hand tied

12   behind their backs.

13              At the heart of congestion pricing is the

14   commitment to use the fees derived from the

15   pricing for transit improvements.           A stronger

16   transit system reduces the need for passenger

17   vehicles and is a formula for less air pollution.

18    For these reasons, the American Lung Association

19   of the City of New York supports congestion

20   pricing.

21              In closing, the toll of poor air is an

22   enormous burden on the health of a city already

23   struggling to breathe.      We urge the Commission to

24   see congestion pricing as more than an economic

25   endeavor, but also as an important component of

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2    public health, one that can help keep cars in

3    their driveways and healthier New Yorkers in our

4    parks.

5             Thank you.

6             CHAIRMAN SHAW:         Thank you.

7             Mike Hefron.

8             MR. HEFRON:      Hi.     Thank you for giving

9    me the time to speak.      I have a very short

10   statement.   My name is Mike Hefron.         I’m the

11   Chairperson of the Transportation Alternatives of

12   Western Queens Committee.        I just want to say a

13   quick few words in support of congestion pricing.

14            As a resident of Queens, I get around

15   primarily by mass transit and by biking.

16   Congestion pricing will provide the money to

17   budget for new express bus lines in Queens,

18   better light rail connections in Queens,

19   especially to areas in Queens that are currently

20   underserved, as has been stated over and over

21   again.   That way, people who live there will have

22   a choice whether to ride or take mass transit.

23            Also, in Western Queens estimates have

24   shown that the congestion pricing will reduce

25   traffic by 27 percent for drivers who will no

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2    longer have a reason to cruise through LIC to

3    avoid the toll on the Tri-Borough of the toll in

4    the Midtown Tunnel because now there will be

5    tolls on the bridges, so there will be less

6    people trying to escape that.

7             I think our local elected officials in

8    Queens should be working, not against congestion

9    pricing, but to get the biggest piece of the pie

10   from the money we’ll get from congestion pricing

11   so Queens can finally have the mass transit it

12   deserves throughout the largest and best borough

13   of New York City.

14            Thank you very much.

15            CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Marc Scott.

16            MR. SCOTT:       I’m just one data point,

17   but I think I’m one of the only individuals

18   you’ve actually heard from tonight which is kind

19   of representing themselves.       I mention in my

20   statement that I’m a long-time member of the

21   American Automobile Association, and I say that

22   in part to make a point.        I actually disagree

23   with their position on this.       I’m speaking as an

24   individual.

25            I am a car owner.      I live in Jackson

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2    Heights, Queens.     It’s a very congested area.

3    But when I think about this problem, I think it’s

4    just a matter of priorities.

5             I may have to pay more if I drive in

6    Midtown during rush hour if this plan is

7    approved, but I still support the plan

8    unequivocally.

9             Think about it this way; it’s the right

10   thing for all New Yorkers.       We need to have safe,

11   calm streets.    Queens is a very dangerous place

12   on the street.     Sometimes, I think, we all

13   understand here how dangerous it can be.

14   Basically, unsafe conditions are going to lower

15   everyone’s quality of life and it’s going to be

16   hard on seniors.     There are a lot of them in my

17   neighborhood as well.

18            I think the Mayor’s plan is a step in the

19   right direction.     It’s not perfect.      What I’ve

20   been hearing tonight makes me think a few tweaks

21   here and there could improve it.        There’s a way

22   that people are throwing the baby out with the

23   bath water, and I think that’s kind of a mistake.

24            There are other things that are more

25   personal.   Basically, safe, uncongested streets

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2    would, I think, ultimately keep down costs, even

3    for me if I ever spend money to go into the city

4    with my car.     Basically I’m paying all kinds of

5    health costs associated with pollution.

6               My son is asthmatic.    He’s seven years

7    old.   Basically, if we just reduce the

8    unnecessarily idling on my street, that would

9    help him be able to breathe better.         It’s a

10   simple thing.     I think this is the kind of thing

11   that moves a project, so to speak, in the right

12   direction.

13              I also happen to be, just as an aside.

14   I’ve used the water taxi to get the Medical

15   Center in NYU where is where it pulmonologist is.

16    It’s a lot of fun to take a kid on a water taxi.

17    A little expensive, but it’s a lot of fun.

18              I just want to say that basically, I

19   actually think the Mayor’s proposal could spur

20   economic growth, different from what a lot of

21   people here have been saying.       We’re going to

22   have better public transportation, more

23   pedestrian walkways, I think, if this really goes

24   forward.     Make the City a more desirable place.

25   Good for business.     Good for property values.        A

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2    lot of people in Queens are homeowners.         I think

3    many of us prefer to take good public

4    transportation for small errands, but the buses

5    basically don’t come often enough for us to make

6    this workable.

7              I will conclude here with I have lived in

8    New York City for more than 20 years.         I have

9    seen some very big improvements in the quality of

10   life here, particularly under Mayor Bloomberg,

11   which I will add I have never voted for.          The man

12   has a vision and a mission to make New York City

13   better.   Let’s find a way to back his leadership

14   and think about the big picture here.         Basically

15   this is a good start.      Let’s see what happens.

16             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you.    Justin

17   Green.

18             (No verbal response.)

19             Michael Fedonski.

20             (No verbal response.)

21             MR. BUTNICK:     Hi.   Good evening.       My

22   name is Noah Butnick.      I’m speaking on behalf of

23   Michael, who had a last minute emergency and

24   asked me to read his remarks.       I’ll just add that

25   one piece of information that I heard today that

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2    I haven’t heard mentioned that will address some

3    of the concerns that many speakers raised

4    tonight, was I learned that the Department of

5    Transportation announced today that they are

6    launching public workshops in seven neighborhoods

7    to address concerns about possible impact of

8    congestion pricing on neighborhoods and on

9    parking.    I’m very glad to hear that because this

10   is something that I’ve heard from other borough

11   as a concern, too.     Hopefully this is good news

12   tonight.

13              To Michael’s statement.     As a lifelong

14   Queens resident and a commuter, I support the

15   Mayor’s congestion pricing plan.        Everyone would

16   benefit from the nearly $500 million a year that

17   congestion pricing would generate for

18   improvements to mass transit, not to mention

19   improvements to air quality, reduction of

20   childhood asthma and lessening or impact on

21   climate change.

22              Approximately 95 percent of commuters to

23   Manhattan already use mass transit.         The biggest

24   transit users are people making $50,000 or less.

25    The new express bus routes, additional local

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2    buses, and Long Island Rail Road and subway

3    enhancements paid for by congestion pricing would

4    be a great benefit to Queens residents.

5             Please ensure passage of a meaningful

6    traffic reduction plan.      Thank you.     On behalf of

7    Michael Fordonski, Community Board 5,

8    Transportation Committee Member, and Chairperson

9    of Citizens of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together.

10   Thank you.

11            CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you.     Darlene

12   Henderson.

13            (No verbal response.)

14            Nicole Goluboss.

15            MS. GOLUBOSS:     Good evening.     I’m Nicole

16   Belson Goluboss.     I am a lawyer and an advocate

17   for telecommuting or tele-work.        I serve on the

18   advisory board of the Tele-Work Coalition, an

19   organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.,

20   which is dedicated to promoting tele-work.

21            I have had experience as a telecommuting

22   litigator, and I currently work from home.          I

23   thank the Commission for the opportunity to speak

24   here today about the important benefits of

25   telecommuting and why I believe that the city and

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2    state should encourage wide scale use of this

3    driving alternative.

4             Telecommuting is a rapidly growing

5    practice nationwide.      As Assemblyman Lancman

6    mentioned earlier, 12.4 million Americans

7    telecommuted to their employers at least one day

8    a month last year.     That number represents a 63

9    percent increase from 2004.       The reasons for the

10   surge in growth are clear.       The technology that

11   facilities from work has become increasingly

12   powerful and affordable, and the benefits for

13   employees, employers, and communities are

14   tremendous.

15            This evening I’m going to focus my

16   comments primarily on two kinds of benefits that

17   tele-work offers.     First the environmental and

18   energy conservation benefits, and second the

19   economic benefits.

20            Tele-work can play a crucial role in

21   addressing our environmental and energy concerns.

22    Wide scale tele-work reduces both the number of

23   drivers on the road and the number of people who

24   rely on mass transit.      As a result, this commute

25   alternative can substantially reduce traffic

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2    congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas

3    emissions.   Tele-commuting also reduces fuel

4    consumption, helping us on our way to energy

5    independence and reducing the amount of money

6    workers have to spend each year on gasoline.

7             A recent study by Teax, a technology

8    processing company, determined that a full-time

9    telecommuter who lives on 22 miles from his

10   company’s office would reduce carbon dioxide

11   emissions by 4½ to 6 tons a year and save about

12   320 gallons of gasoline.      This is the savings

13   just one individual can achieve.        When companies

14   implement broad tele-work program, with many

15   employees telecommuting even only some of the

16   time, the savings can be dramatic.

17            According to IBM, here in Westchester,

18   32,000 of its U.S. employees telecommuted last

19   year, and as a result the company avoided 68,000

20   tons of carbon dioxide emissions and saved about

21   eight million gallons of gas.

22            In addition to environmental and fuel

23   conservation benefits, tele-work offers New York

24   significant economic benefits.        First, by

25   decreasing employee’s use of roads, buses, and

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2    trains, tele-work can help lower the cost of

3    maintaining and expanding our transportation

4    infrastructure.     In addition, tele-work can offer

5    substantial financial advantages to New York

6    business, and as a result it can promote economic

7    growth here.

8             One reason telecommuting is profitable

9    for businesses is that it can help them save on

10   real estate and overhead expenses.          At Sun

11   Microsystems, for example, over 17,000 employees

12   worldwide work from home or in a flexible office

13   up to two days a week.      According to Sun, because

14   of its flexible workplace program, last year the

15   company saved approximately 7,000 office seats

16   and cut real estate costs by almost $70 million.

17            In addition to reducing overhead costs,

18   tele-work can reduce recruitment costs, while

19   enabling employers to attract the best workers

20   from the broadest geographic area.          It can help

21   employers retain these workers, minimizing

22   turnover costs.     The employees that companies are

23   able to retain by offering tele-work include,

24   among other people, employees with young kids,

25   employees with elder care responsibilities,

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2    workers with physical handicaps, baby boomers who

3    are nearing retirement, and Generation Y

4    employees, who companies are hiring to take the

5    baby boomer’s place but who are demanding

6    workplace flexibility to help them meet both work

7    and personal roles.

8               Tele-work can also increase worker

9    productivity.     In fact, a 2006 survey conducted

10   by a Connecticut Business and Industry

11   Association found that increased productivity was

12   the number one benefit to telecommuting

13   businesses.     Among the reasons that telecommuters

14   are more productive is that in the absence of a

15   lengthy or stressful commute they have more time

16   to devote to work.

17              In addition to reducing overhead

18   recruitment and turnover costs and increasing

19   productivity, tele-work can help businesses

20   survive disasters that strike their central

21   offices.    This is especially important to New

22   York post 9-22.

23              When telecommuting is routine in a

24   business or a government agency, employees know

25   how to keep the operation going from a distance,

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2    even if there’s a terror attack, a catastrophic

3    storm or a public health crisis like a flu

4    pandemic.   Because of the substantial financial

5    benefits tele-work offers employers in terms of

6    costs savings, increased productivity and

7    business continuity, expanding the use of this

8    commute alternative can help assure that New

9    York’s business remain competitive in today’s

10   global market.

11            New York City can maximize the advantages

12   I’ve identified if the city and state take steps

13   to broaden reliance on tele-work here.         They

14   should provide incentives to businesses who make

15   use of tele-work, offering credits to employers

16   that permit tele-work.      City and state government

17   should also model for the private sector to show

18   how tele-work can help organizations thrive.

19   Towards this end, government employees in each

20   branch of government should be authorized to

21   telecommute to the greatest extent possible.

22            I urge the Commission to recommend these

23   and other pro-tele-work initiatives to facilitate

24   the growth of this valuable commute option.           If

25   the goal is to get more New Yorkers off the

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2    roads, we must get more of them traveling not

3    only by bus and train, but also via the internet.

4             Thank you.

5             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you.     Seymour

6    Schwartz.

7             (No verbal response.)

8             Gene Kelty.

9             MR. KELTY:      Good evening members.        My

10   name is Gene Kelty and I’m Chairperson of

11   Community Board 7 in Queens.       I come before you

12   tonight to testify on the congestion pricing

13   proposal.   I would like to speak to you in two

14   phases – first, as the chairperson representing

15   one of the largest community boards in the City

16   of New York, and, second, my own personal opinion

17   on congestion pricing.

18            On September 10, 2007, Community Board 7

19   took a position on congestion pricing, and I sent

20   off a letter to the Queens Borough President with

21   the board’s opinion.      That’s attached.     We

22   mentioned 13 points that the City should look at

23   before instituting the program.        To mention a

24   few, we ask that additional express bus service

25   to areas that are not being served now.         Two.

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2    Additional bus service period.        MTA over the

3    course of the years has hidden behind the cloud

4    that if service is not at a certain level to

5    discontinue the services.       In Whitestone, Queens,

6    where I live they took care of the Q44 shuttle

7    that they had and they got rid of that.         At the

8    same time we were telling them why don’t you look

9    into jitney buses to provide some type of

10   services to that area.      Their answer is they

11   didn’t do anything.     They left it up so people

12   have to commute using cars or walk a long

13   distance.

14            We said designate taxi stands in

15   Manhattan.   No cruising.     Look more into one

16   person – look more into more than one person in a

17   cab and zones.     After the last taxi strike, the

18   roads were opened up and traffic moved much

19   better this way.     Let’s look at it again.

20            Establishment of water taxi routes.

21   That’s come before our board several times.          And

22   the problem we have is where the route is

23   excellent and it works very well, the problem is

24   the City will not pay for parking for the people

25   that want to come over there to use the taxi.

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2    So, again, we’re impacting the community when we

3    have the taxi routes over there.        I believe it

4    was over by LaGuardia Airport, we tried several

5    years ago to have it done.

6             Implementing the muni-meters for

7    commercial vehicles throughout our City, also for

8    cars as well.     Too often the commercial vehicles

9    sit there the whole day and cause other vehicles

10   to travel round and round until they get

11   disgusted and double park.

12            Last and foremost, enforcement,

13   enforcement, enforcement.

14            The community board was very leery in

15   passing any tax along to the MTA.           Just look at

16   their track record.     We are now up to the third

17   time rebuilding the 2nd Avenue subway, as well as

18   the scandal that went on with Two Broadway when

19   they moved them over there, the amount of

20   overruns that were done there made the national

21   debt look easy.

22            It is time for the MTA to make good with

23   the pot of gold that they have now and put back

24   into the community.     Bridges and tunnel tolls are

25   supplementing these MTA projects, not to mention

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2    the – what is it – the MTA surcharge that’s on

3    everybody’s telephone bill.       That’s got to be a

4    monumental amount of money that they’re putting

5    in there that’s put into their pocket.         We don’t

6    see any results back to the community.

7             As a matter of fact, we just talked about

8    the articles in the paper regarding the bridges,

9    how bad they are.     And, yet, the tolls that are

10   being used by them are not being put back to fix

11   the bridges.

12            Those were the concerns of the community

13   board the night of September 10.        I present them

14   for your review.     I am also including a copy of

15   Community Board 8’s letter to the Borough

16   President regarding the same issues.

17            Now I’d like to tell you regarding my

18   opinion of the congestion pricing.

19            This is a tax put on the middle class to

20   make a pot of gold so that the Mayor could have

21   another slush fund.     He mentions that you cannot

22   travel in Manhattan during the day.         If that is

23   the case, why is he proposing a tax on people

24   that drive into the city and by nine o’clock have

25   their cars parked and off the street.         How is

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2    that adding to the congestion during the day?

3             Just take a look at the amount of TLCs

4    that are sitting illegally each day at the curb.

5     Some of them are in the no standing zone, some

6    are in the parking for commercial traffic, and

7    others are parking on hydrants.        Again,

8    enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.

9             If the Mayor wants people to use mass

10   transit, why did he recommend put more yellow

11   taxi cabs on the street?      Why will he allow more

12   TLC base stations to be developed?          This is a

13   smoke screen for him.      If the subways are good

14   for the outer boroughs, then what’s different

15   with the rich Manhattanites using the subway and

16   buses where they are now?       The congestion pricing

17   is nothing more than making a cast system.

18            The impact that is going to be imposed on

19   the outer boroughs if this implemented will be

20   evident almost immediately.       Right now commuters

21   are using the outer boroughs to park their cars

22   in the residential neighborhood and then take the

23   subway or buses into Manhattan.        Examples are

24   Astoria, Long Island City, and not to mention

25   Staten Island Ferry area that is impacted right

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2    by the ferry.    Why not do a survey in these areas

3    and see how they feel?

4             The City with the great wisdom of the MTA

5    introduced the tandem buses in Manhattan.          Anyone

6    that has followed them can see that when they

7    pull out of the bus stop it takes two to three

8    lanes to get them back into the moving lane.

9    When going through an intersection they often get

10   stuck with the back end of the bus in the

11   intersection.    I challenge you to sit on York

12   Avenue, 1st Avenue, and 3rd Avenue at the

13   intersections of 72nd, 79th, and 86th Street and

14   you will see this condition happen, especially

15   during rush hour.     At nighttime as these metal

16   monsters are traveling down the avenues and cross

17   streets with a minimum of people on it.         Why

18   doesn’t the MTA go to small jitney buses or the

19   single bus systems at nighttime?        Again, why give

20   the MTA more money to throw it away?

21            One other suggestion of improving traffic

22   movement is what DOT instituted with the cross-

23   town streets.    You can use these streets with no

24   turns allowed until certain avenues.         It works

25   very well.   Why not look into increasing those

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2    streets?

3               In conclusion, if you really want to see

4    what is happening, take a tour of Manhattan

5    between 10 and 3 and see who is exactly causing

6    the problem.     Please don’t let the congestion

7    pricing become a reality that will ruin the local

8    neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

9               I thank you for allowing me to testify.

10              CHAIRMAN SHAW:     Thank you very much.      I

11   thank all the Commission members for sitting

12   patiently.     We are done.   Thank you everybody.

13              MR. SMITH:    My name is Angus Green

14   Smith.     I’m a Queens resident, father - my four

15   year old son has asthma – homeowner, and small

16   business owner.     Tonight is my birthday and I

17   planned to do other things, but this issue is

18   important enough to me that I’m here talking to

19   you.

20              Many speakers tonight have complained

21   that the plan focuses on the central business

22   district and does not address congestion in

23   Queens.     I would like to read an excerpt from a

24   statement about congestion pricing in PlaNYC

25   written and signed by me and 11 of my neighbors.

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1C   NYC Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission – 10-30-07 119

2     I’m not an organizer or a civic; I’m just a

3    businessman and I didn’t have time to go rounding

4    up any more people than that.

5               Today, during rush hour, Queens

6    Boulevard, 43rd and Stillman Avenues are choked

7    with traffic to and from the free Queens Borough

8    Bridge.     Under PlaNYC, many people who currently

9    drive will probably choose to take the train or

10   the bus, which will take hundreds of cars off our

11   streets.     Mr. Hefron said a 27 percent reduction

12   in traffic in Long Island City.        This means less

13   pollution for asthmatic children, less danger

14   crossing our streets and avenues, a faster bus

15   trip for bus riders and for people who do choose

16   to drive.

17              Even before the congestion pricing

18   program is put in place, bus riders will see a

19   tremendous improvement in service with dedicated

20   lanes from 51st Street and Queens Boulevard all

21   the way to the Queens Borough – all the way

22   across the Queens Borough Bridge to Manhattan.

23   More frequent, faster bus service will make the

24   Q32, Q39, and Q60 buses a viable alternative to

25   the train.

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1C   NYC Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission – 10-30-07 120

2             Representative Joe Crowley (phonetic) and

3    State Senator George Arnorato (phonetic) have

4    already endorsed PlaNYC in light of the benefits

5    we mentioned above.     We urge our leaders to

6    implement the bus and train improvements as soon

7    as possible, and to ensure that some form of

8    congestion pricing is put in place to reduce the

9    traffic that passes through our neighborhoods.

10            Speaking for myself, I would like to add

11   that I know you have heard from many Queens

12   residents who are opposed to this plan.         These

13   people, even though they may claim to, do not

14   speak for all of Queens.      As you can see from my

15   presence here and the statements of my neighbors,

16   there are plenty of people in Queens who want to

17   see congestion pricing – 30 percent, according to

18   the Quinnipiac (phonetic) poll.        Where are the

19   people representing that 30 percent of Queens

20   residents who said they want congestion pricing?

21    It’s the right thing to do for our safety, for

22   our health, for our quality of life, and for our

23   children.

24            Thank you all for taking the time to find

25   a way to get these cars off our streets.

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2             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thank you.     Happy

3    birthday.

4             MR. SMITH:    Thank you.

5             CHAIRMAN SHAW:      Thanks again.

6             (Whereupon, New York City Traffic

7    Congestion Mitigation Commission adjourned at

8    8:15 p.m.)


















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1C   NYC Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission – 10-30-07 122





                      EN-DE REPORTING SERVICES

              C E R T I F I C A T E

    I, FRANK GRAY, a Shorthand Reporter and

Notary Public in and for the State of New York,

do hereby stated:

    THAT I attended at the time and place above

mentioned and took stenographic record of the

proceedings in the above-entitled matter;

    THAT the foregoing transcript is a true and

accurate transcript of the same and the whole

thereof, according to the best of my ability and


    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my

hand this _________ day of __________, 2007.


                          FRANK GRAY


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