Open Proposal

Proposed Move NY Fair Plan Legislation

Summary

A new bill is now being considered in Albany to reduce NYC traffic congestion and provide reliable new revenue for public transit improvements and road and bridge maintenance. On this site, you can learn about and discuss this legislation. Legislators, the Governor, and other key officials will be urged to read your input as the bill moves through the legislative process.

The bill was introduced on March 24, 2016 by Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez (East Harlem), who chairs the Subcommittee on Infrastructure. The initial coalition of 14 cosponsors includes Assemblymembers from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. It would impose new tolls for the four East River bridges and for vehicles crossing 60th St. in Manhattan. These tolls would be same as what drivers now pay to enter Manhattan through the Brooklyn Battery and Queens Midtown tunnels. Special rules would apply to commercial vehicles, taxis and FHVs. Tolls on the 7 MTA bridges would be lowered at the same time -- and the new tolls can't be implemented unless the outer bridge tolls are lowered. The new revenue would be dedicated to specific transportation-related purposes (e.g., public transit expansion, road and bridge repair, fare decreases) in all of the 5 boroughs and nearby counties. Most important, the new money would be legally protected from diversion to other uses, and transparency measures are included so the public can confirm this.

Proposed Legislation 2. Protecting the New Revenue - 27

Select other topics

Subtopics

1|Move NY Mobility Fund - 16

What the bill does: (i) Creates a new account, the Move NY Mobility Fund and directs that all the following must be transferred to this Fund -- and to only this Fund:

  • the new CBD avenue tolls (Topic 1.1)
  • the new East River bridges toll (Topic 1.2)
  • the new taxi and FHV surcharges (Topic 1.3)
  • any penalties and fees collected from people who don't pay the new tolls on time (Topic 4.2)
  • amount of new taxes from repealing the resident exemption to the parking tax surcharge (Topic 1.4)

Read the legislative language: V.T.L. §§ 1703(3), 1703(7)(c); 1705. S.F.L. § 97-pppp(1),(3) . P.A.L. § 1279-d(1)-(3).

(ii) Prohibits mixing any other kinds of revenue into this Fund.

Read the legislative language: S.F.L. § 97-pppp(2). P.A.L. § 1279-d(1)-(3).

(iii) Gives ownership of the fund to a new agency, the Move NY Highway and Transit Authority (MNYHTA) (Topic 4.1), which is required to spend the money only for specified transportation-related purposes (Topic 3), and which does not need an appropriation or other approval from the legislature or governor before making these transportation-related disbursements.

Read the legislative language: S.F.L. § 97-pppp(1),(4),(5). P.A.L. § 1279-d(4),(5).

Rationale: In the past, taxes and fees supposedly dedicated to transportation funding have been used for other things. The bill sets up a system in which money from the new tolls and surcharges never goes through the yearly budget process. It's kept in a separate fund, under the control of a new agency that must spend it for specified transportation purposes. The agency does not need legislative or other authorization for annual transportation spending.

To learn more about the rationale for this part of the bill, see NY Congestion Discussion Topics 4.3 and 5.2 and Move NY Fair Plan (PDF pp. 25-28).

Comments16

Commenting is now closed.

We do not need a new agency that's an adjunct to the MTA. The MTA needs to become more transparent and held accountable for it's actions and spending. Creating a new fund and authority will only make things more opaque.

Creating jobs for Move NY is not a priority. Pass legislation that helps the MTA become a better organization, rather than one filled with pet projects and executives that are out of touch with the citizens who utilize their services.

Hello, georgeberberian, thank you for joining this discussion.

It sounds like you’re opposed to a new agency (MNYHTA) because you feel it’s unnecessary to create a new agency to oversee an existing agency (MTA)--because it’d be simpler to institute transparency measures on the existing agency.

Under the proposed bill, the MNYHTA would disburse funds—limited to specified transportation investments only (Topic 3.1)—to three different transportation agencies (MTA, TBTA, NYC-DOT, also Topic 3.1) and would be subject to transparency measures (for example, annual public reports on disbursements; see Topic 4.1).

What alternative would you offer to people who feel that creating the MNYHTA is efficient because those limitations and transparency measures would affect four agencies at once (MTA, TBTA, NYC-DOT, MNYHTA), through the creation of a single agency.

There is no efficiency in setting up a new agency which is enacted to collect revenue, distribute monies and nothing more. Will it oversee these plans by each of the agencies? No. Will it make sure there won't be budget overruns? No. Can it stop disasters like the Bloomberg pet project of the 34 Street-Hudson Yards station that is now deteriorating because the MTA chose poor contractors? No. Will it be able to speed the creation of new transit options? No.

The current agencies need to be made more transparent and held accountable for how plans are implemented and monies are spent. The MNYHTA is nothing more than a cover for Governor Cuomo and a Republican legislature which are unwilling to give the MTA and other organizations the monies needed to keep the powerhouse of the state going. They would rather keep the tax revenue for their own purposes in the state budget and let New Yorkers assume the burden of additional tolls and fees under the guise of improving current services which should be funded by the state with OUR tax dollars.

I did look at those sections. I have been living in NYC since I was born. The bill is just in its early stages wait for the final bill before we discuss what will really happen.

How do you know a politician is lying? His lips are moving.

I don't see how the MNYHTA is a cover for the Governor. The MNYHTA is taking money directly from the people who use the infrastructure and ensuring that it won't be misappropriated by the Governor or anyone from the executive or legislative branches.

It seems to me that we need to try at least something to make sure that funds are guaranteed for the MTA, TBTA and NYC-DOT. Especially worth noting is the fact that this plan is not ONLY for public transit users, but also for people who drive. This is better than what Bloomberg offered back when he tried to enact congestion pricing and one reason why there is so much support for this plan.

I think this is a good idea. The Port Authority is so big and diffused and political that it takes to long and costs too much to get any substantive things done. This idea will help allay legitimate concerns that all money is fungible and has a way of disappearing into a great black hole, rather than being used for its intended purpose. Think Al Gore and the Social Security "lock box."

I am generally supportive of this whole plan. My one concern is that I'd like the money collected from new tolls used to maintain the bridges and bridge access roads where the new tolls are collected.

Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth Mooney, and welcome to the discussion. The Move New York Highway Transit Authority would be directed to distribute the money collected from the new tolls exclusively to a list of specified projects – of which two of high priority are maintenance of roads and bridges where tolls are collected (see Topic 3.1). Does this alleviate your concern?

As usual it seems that the motorists will be taxed indirectly and all the money will magically disappear into the MTA morass.

The MTA cannot manage to bring a project in on time and under budget. Nor can they keep their executive salaries under control. They are constantly walking around with their hands out.

Motorists are sort of like the 13 colonies taxed without representation.

If any money makes it to the makes it to the NYCDOT it will be used to create more bike lanes or pedestrian plazas. No roads will be repaired and BTW those wonderful bike lanes just cause more traffic jams since they take away traffic lanes and force trucks to effectively triple park to make deliveries.

Historically the funds collected for maintenance of the citys roads and bridges just seems to disappear into the general fund or public transportation.

We don't need new patronage type organizations we need overhaul of the current ones.

Thank you for the comment, Oldbob, and welcome to the discussion. Have you had a chance to read Section 2.2 or Section 3? Those sections explain key components of the bill aimed at addressing your exact concerns. I’m curious to see your reactions in those sections, as well.

FYI, the complete street reconfigurations that include parking protected bicycle lanes have improved traffic flow because they enable the implementation of turning bays. Bike lanes don't cause traffic, automobiles do. In fact, painted on street bicycle lanes and sharrows are typically disregarded by motorists. They do create awareness however and delineate road space.

Trucks double park because there aren't enough loading zones. Blame parked cars.

Nick it sounds like you don't drive a car in NYC. At one time there was a law that said for any new construction in Manhattan the builder was required to provide enough parking for the residents so they could park off of the street. That seemed to get lost over time.

Yes more turn lanes do help the flow of traffic and there is a need for more mid-block cross walks to avoid back ups at these locations.

Lastly take the Times Square plaza which was never completed as far as I am concerned. They need to provide fencing so that pedestrians who forget they are in the middle of a very busy area don't just step off into traffic looking at their phone or busily eating as they are walking. They definitely need to be funneled on to the cross walks. Plus, they need to add mid-block cross walks and turn lanes. The plaza was put in under the guise of improving traffic flow and it did far from that.

What really is needed is off street parking for all new construction and off street loading docks for deliveries.

The other solution is to require off hour deliveries, but good luck on that.

The previous politicians came up with the independent agencies so that when fares or tolls are raised they can say the agency did it. All another agency will do is become another way to for them to hide when all goes south on a project.

We need elected officials to take responsibility for these huge organizations such as the MTA or the PA not add another one to hide behind. Also, I am sure that there will be all these jobs in the agency to siphon off the funds aka patronage posts.

I am concerned that Move NY which has had too much of a hand in making a mess of the traffic in NY has a totally different agenda then what this bill says. I drive in NYC and have to contend with the trucks making deliveries and the huge articulated buses that seem to become pack animals regularly. They should of gone the double decker route since they take up less space.

I tend to agree obviously with georgeberberian.

Could not respond to your comment at April 14, 2016 - 6:05pm directly Oldbob so I will post it here. I do in fact own a car and a motorcycle, though I typically bicycle or take the subway to work/school in Manhattan (a place I especially avoid by automobile).

The previous law required new constructions to provide a certain amount of parking space per number of units, it's called a parking minimum. The law was retracted in Manhattan south of Harlem, downtown Brooklyn, and more recently a half mile from subway stations across most of the city. It was found that providing parking encourages people to own an automobile, something the city wants to discourage and cannot support. Additionally, parking minimums costs developers despite low demand. Money spent on parking could instead be allocated towards residential or commercial units. More parking is no good for the city.Though I agree that NYC requires more mid-block crossing for pedestrians, I highly disagree that distracted pedestrians are a serious issue in NYC. Virtually all pedestrians do indeed look before crossing, even if just a glance of the eye. A much greater issue is distracted and reckless drivers who are traveling at speed, controlling large heavy objects in a congested area. Most pedestrians who are killed or serious injured in NYC in crosswalks with the right of way. This has been proven through through the quantitative collection of traffic collision statistics.

Times Square doesn't need fences either, its a highly pedestrian oriented area. The city needs congestion pricing to reduce traffic volumes and we need further traffic calming citywide.

I'm concerned about the operating costs of the new agency. It'll either take money from the fund or take money from tax payers. Angecies aren't famous for being efficient

Welcome Kat1. You can see in Topic 4.1 that the new agency is actually headed by the same people who make up the MTA Board. Also, it has no powers other than receiving new revenue into the MNYM Fund, paying out the money to the listed transportation purposes (Topic 3), and reporting each year on this. So it looks like the bills’ supporters are trying to keep the new operation pretty lean. Are there other limits that could be added to address your concerns?

This structure seems to be a great way to avoid the tomfoolery that happens. Just collect the money and disburse it. No funny business. No political demagoguery. The existing agencies will surely still need reform, but that's a different question.

2|"Lockboxing" money in the Fund - 7

What the bill does: (i) Prohibits the director of the budget or any other person in the executive branch from diverting money from the MNYM Fund; removes the current exception that allows diversion if the governor declares a fiscal emergency; and requires the director of the budget to publish information about a diversion if one happens anyway.

Read the legislative language: Ex.L. § 182(2),(3).

(ii) Makes an "agreement of state," in which the State pledges not to take any action that interferes with the ability of MTA or its subparts to make full, on-time repayment to bondholders or others who lend it money

Read the legislative language: P.A.L. §1279-d(4).

Rationale: According to studies from other cities (PDF) and a survey of NYC-area residents (PDF), people are more willing to accept congestion charges if they believe the money will actually be used for public transit, highway and bridge improvements--and if there are guarantees of transparency and accountability for this use.

Part of accomplishing this is to create the separate MNYM Fund for all the new tolls and surcharges, with no other money mixed in, and to give control of the Fund to an agency that doesn't need Albany's approval to make yearly transportation investments. In addition, the bill prohibits any executive official from diverting money from the Fund, and it closes a "fiscal emergency" loophole that has been used in the past to divert dedicated money. If a diversion happens anyway, the Director of the Budget must issue a "diversion impact statement" that identifies: the amount of the year's diversion, as well as all diversions in the previous 5 years; the number of monthly transit fares equivalent to the diversion; and the estimated impact of the diversion on the public transportation system.

The agreement of state also helps, by protecting the anticipated funding stream that MTA and its subagencies use as the basis for borrowing money for large capital projects. If the State reneges on this agreement by diverting transit funding, other public financing deals will be threatened because investors are likely to consider NY bonds as riskier investments.

To learn more about the rationale for this part of the bill, see NY Congestion Discussion Topics 4.3 and 5.2 and Move NY Fair Plan (PDF pp. 25-28).

Comments7

Commenting is now closed.

Lockboxing the revenue is an essential component of the plan.

Hi Nick, thanks for letting us know how you feel about ensuring the MNYM Fund money is used for transportation only. What do you think of the "agreement of state" part, from paragraph (ii), to the left?

It is discouraging that these moneys are at risk, but wonderful that a conscious effort is being made to highlight this risk and limit it to the extent possible. Paragraph ii is important if we want to finally put a stop to misappropriation of funds. Now, if we could only get Albany to fully fund education and give back the money it stole from the DOE!

How important is the agreement of state? Aren't the existance of bondholders enough? If they don't care about the bondholders, they certainly won't care about the agreement of state. If something has to go in negotiations, it seems this would be the first thing to go.

Welcome to the discussion, JamesLess. If the agreement is made in a statute, it’s more difficult to change through negotiation. But you’re right that, in the end, it’s all about bondholders. The idea is that if New York State renegs on a promise made by statute, its future creditworthiness will suffer to an even greater degree with future bondholders.

I want this provision badly. But, I'm wondering if there is a way for the governor to use some other executive privilege, other emergency or constitutional power to undermine this mechanism?

Hello, Stephen, thank you for your comment. This provision makes every attempt to prevent diversion of funds under any executive privilege, even in the case of emergency. Can you see any specific place where the provision might be lacking to this end?

3|Maintenance of effort - 4

What the bill does: States that revenue from new tolls and surcharges is meant to increase, not replace, existing transportation funding from the City and State.

Read the legislative language: P.A.L. § 1279d(5).

Rationale: The last piece of making sure that the new tolls and surcharges actually lead to additional transportation investment is to prevent "robbing Peter to pay Paul"--that is, City or State officials leaving the new revenue in place but taking away other funding so that the the new revenue is just replacing money the City or State will now spend on something else. This maintenance-of-effort section works together with the agreement of state (Subtopic 2) to protect the value of the new transportation funding source.

To learn more about the rationale for this part of the bill, see NY Congestion Discussion Topic 4.3 and Move NY Fair Plan (PDF pp. 25-28).

Comments4

Commenting is now closed.

I'm confused. If it's meant to increase, and not replace, then we'll still have they same transportation taxes, but just better public transportation? We already have the best public transportation in the world. I want this bill to make that system which, I don't use self sustaining. Worthless to me.

Welcome to the discussion, FiveforFive. Besides public transportation, supporters argue that reducing the number of private cars in Manhattan will reduce air and noise pollution and increase safety for pedestrians, bicycle riders, and drivers. Also, the revenue is earmarked not only for public transportation, but also to road and bridge repair. You can read more about the rationale in Topic 1.2.

Again, love this idea, but what is enforceability of this provision, especially on city agencies? Can the state compel this?

Stephen, Good question. The requirement to maintain existing levels of funding does seem to cover the City, as well as the State. Historically, the State budget process has been the main place where transportation spending gets shortchanged, so it’s not clear that the Governor or other state officials would step in to apply pressure if the City budget process reduced transportation spending. Whether the state courts would hear a lawsuit to force maintenance of effort at either the State or the City level is an interesting (and complicated) legal question.

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