• NYC MTA Congestion Pricing Effects on NYCT, NJT, MNRR, and LIRR

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by lensovet
RandallW wrote: Sun Jun 16, 2024 10:06 am I'm under the impression that pretty much every public transit agency has seen an uptick in overtime these past few years--the jobs available within public transit have seen an increase in violence towards them and likely don't offer competitive pay (and may not even be able to under various legislatively set pay scales), so the use of overtime is the only way public transit systems have been able to keep system running given their inability to hire sufficient new employees to keep up with required staffing levels.

In the cases of overtime abuse, I'll posit that if MTA were to implement systems to identify it rapidly, they'll find themselves blocked at the legislative level from doing so, or blocked at the union level from acting on any information provided by those systems -- ending that abuse would require legislative action to tackle it and real action would be painted as "not supporting [insert employee type here]" (whether or not it is or isn't is irrelevant in political messaging), and so is a politically difficult act to accomplish. On top of which systems to monitor against fraud are expensive and require hiring more people to run those systems, so you have to go to the legislature with hat in hand to beg for the money that can be allocated to build such a system.

(Full disclosure: I work for a company that makes "accountability monitoring" systems and they are employed extensively where fraud, waste, abuse and other "insider threats" have led to loss of life or intelligence and military mission compromise, and in private industry although every single private employer using such a system will strenuously deny it.)
100% on point. The overtime abuse thing is a bogeyman being trotted out to deny MTA funding, plain and simple.
  by Jeff Smith
Editorial: https://www.newsday.com/opinion/editori ... r-ijy7ye2r
Trouble ahead for LIRR after governor presses pause on tolling plan
Hochul and the State Legislature could find money from other sources, which would cushion the blow. But by issuing bonds against the expected revenue, congestion pricing was expected to generate $15 billion for the current MTA capital plan; it won't be easy to fill that gap. That five-year plan, which began in 2019 with $55 billion, has $28 billion in remaining work to be contracted, according to MTA officials. Without the additional $15 billion, the MTA has just $13 billion to use. Officials say that likely isn't enough for the authority to keep up with so-called state-of-good-repair projects — necessary efforts to maintain the system so it doesn't deteriorate. It certainly won't be enough to do much, if anything, new. And it could devastate the next five-year capital plan, which will run from 2025 to 2029.

With 10% of congestion pricing funds earmarked for the LIRR, cuts would be significant — with real impact for the railroad and its riders.

The lack of funding could put the planned remake of the Babylon station and platform at risk. It could halt accessibility upgrades to nine LIRR stations, from Massapequa Park to Copiague, and short-circuit planned elevator or escalator replacements at stations like Valley Stream. It could delay structural improvements on the Main Line, the Montauk branch, and the Port Jefferson line.
Grander, forward-looking efforts would have to be scrapped. Say farewell, for example, to big plans for a new Penn Station, which Hochul has touted. Moving the Yaphank station closer to Brookhaven National Laboratory would have been an important step for the region's research corridor. But with a contract not finalized, it's likely stopped in its tracks. The new train yard at the Lawrence Aviation site probably is derailed, too.
  by Jeff Smith
Feds issue FONSI: https://www.amny.com/transit/congestion ... tan-tolls/
Congestion pricing: Feds give final approval, seem to counter Hochul’s economic reasoning for pausing Manhattan tolls

The Federal Highway Administration’s final approval for the MTA’s now-shelved congestion pricing program gave plaudits to the tolling scheme which Gov. Kathy Hochul scuttled for the sake of easing economic costs to drivers.

On the contrary, the approval decision on June 14 seemed to indicate that congestion pricing would provide significant economic benefits, including “travel-time savings and travel-time reliability improvements, as well as reduced vehicle operating costs.”

In determining the final plan approved by the MTA in March would pose no significant impact on the environment, the feds have now eliminated the final roadblock for the toll to commence — save for the governor herself, who announced this month that she indefinitely put the plan on pause just weeks before it was due to be activated on June 30.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Sgt. Smith, I hope you agree that this is a rail related topic, and not political, but this Times article appearing today, would suggest that Kathy has "1600 in '28" on her mind.

Fair Use:
In a country where the car is still king, New York had stirred hope that an ambitious policy prioritizing mass transit was possible.

But that optimism unraveled this month, when Gov. Kathy Hochul abruptly halted a congestion pricing tolling program that promised to take thousands of cars a day off the streets of Midtown and Lower Manhattan while generating billions for critical repairs and improvements to the subways, buses and two commuter railroads.

The governor’s decision came amid a fierce outcry from opponents, including many drivers from the boroughs and suburbs outside Manhattan. In doing so, she punched a $15 billion hole in the capital budget of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, leaving long-planned work on the subway in limbo.
But "thinking '26" (next Guv election), she has to think about parts of Westchester, and many more of Putnam, Rockland, and even Dutchess, where rail service is "sparse", and in the mostly WFH with occasional RTO's, some will "just drive in" - but they all vote!!!
  by eolesen
Some of you are actually arguing that $1B in overtime is normal? There comes a point where raising taxes to try and support public projects stops working.

MTA doesn't show any indication of fiscal responsibility when they're continuing to build showpiece stations instead of focusing on essentials like figuring out how to attract and retain enough regular employees to avoid those levels of overtime.

Had they done meaningful service cuts, that overtime might not have been necessary.

But that means less overtime for the unions, and MTA doesn't have the cajones to address that.

Why make difficult decisions if you can just fleece the taxpayers more?...

Sent from my SM-S911U using Tapatalk

  by Jeff Smith
Congestion Pricing "Pause" Halts Work: https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2024/06/18/ ... cing-pause
MTA Halts Work On Second Avenue Subway After Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Gridlock Gov. Hochul has joined the history books as the next governor to stop work on the Second Avenue subway.

Gridlock Gov. Hochul has joined the history books as the latest governor to stop work on the Second Avenue subway.

On Tuesday, the chief executive in charge of the MTA's capital construction told reporters that the transit agency stopped work on the expansion of the Second Avenue line because the governor's decision to pause congestion pricing means the agency can only perform capital work that keeps the system running.

"There are a lot of projects that we will not be able to build, and we'll be focusing on state of good repair," said MTA President of MTA Construction & Development Jamie Torres-Springer. "We have in a couple of cases issued stop work orders on projects that do not strictly meet that state of good repair requirements. ... But yes, we have stopped work on Second Avenue subway."

Torres-Springer said specifically that the agency had told contractors not to move forward on the early work of ripping up Second Avenue to relocate utilities.
  by lensovet
eolesen wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2024 10:48 am Had they done meaningful service cuts, that overtime might not have been necessary.
Ah yes, cutting service, the tried and true method of getting commuters back onto transit. Works wonders, I tell ya!

As far as showpiece projects, guess what, that’s what politicians fund. You know, the same politicians that just aborted this plan. As with a lot of things in life, new and shiny gets promotions and votes and boring and maintenance work gets jack.
  by Gilbert B Norman
It's long and I haven't read it yet.

But given it appears in The Journal, it should have some in depth reporting as to how an initiative to charge for the use of a scarce and irreplaceable resource - street capacity in Midtown and Lower Manhattan - got torpedoed at the eleventh hour:

Fair Use:
NEW YORK—Patrons at the Comfort Diner in Midtown Manhattan recently encountered an unexpected person working the tables: Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Rather than take orders, she went booth to booth seeking opinions about the city’s first-in-the-nation plans for congestion pricing—a $15 toll on vehicles entering the core of Manhattan.

Nobody realized at the time that the Democratic governor was heading toward a blockbuster announcement: she was about to scrap the program after years of planning and hundreds of millions of dollars spent. In one of the most consequential decisions in decades for America’s most prominent city, Hochul soon said she was indefinitely pausing congestion pricing—less than a month before it was set to take effect on Sunday, June 30.

The abrupt reversal, which some attribute to Hochul’s reluctance to impose a new fee in an election year, leaves metro New York grappling with a historic missed opportunity and fiscal mess. There is no relief in sight for the city’s traffic congestion, which is the worst in the world, according to data published last week.
Kathy doesn't face the voters until '26, and voters have short memories. Let's be honest, NY is "Deep Blue" and should the Democrats come looking for a new standard bearer before the Convention, it will likely be from a Purple must win state - and that means Gretchen or Josh (Gov. Shapiro; PA). So she will be "stuck" with her decision.

As I noted earlier, the Escalade's passenger from 880 Fifth to 40 Wall could care less about the $15; I'll bet emergency vehicles could care a lot.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Mon Jul 01, 2024 7:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by Jeff Smith
GBN, beat me to it by about 5 minutes. The article in question, which may be pay-walled, is a summary of the history of Congestion Pricing, including Hochul's reasoning for "pausing" it.
  by Gilbert B Norman
The Journal has not yet become The Times, and I am a print subscriber. Hopefully it will be OK.
  by Jeff Smith
Op-Ed by Janno Lieber: https://www.amny.com/oped/op-ed-mta-con ... june-2024/
Op-ed | Where the MTA goes from here, with congestion pricing on ice

This was supposed to be the week we turned on the congestion pricing system. As we all know, that’s no longer happening – at least for the moment.

A few weeks ago, Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered a temporary pause on tolling, and last week the MTA Board acknowledged the State’s decision, while also directing MTA staff to keep the machinery of congestion pricing in good operating order until that pause is lifted. In the meantime, we are reprioritizing and re-sequencing the MTA Capital Program – all the construction projects to maintain and improve the system – to protect riders and service.

No matter how we feel about the pause, re-planning the Capital Program was the right thing to do, and it’s characteristic of the business-like and level-headed approach for which the new MTA is becoming known.

Whether the challenge is expected or unexpected, big or small, we follow the same playbook – assess the situation, develop thoughtful policy responses, and then relentlessly execute the plan. That’s how we approached the idea of congestion pricing in the first place.

Five years ago, the New York State Legislature handed MTA the responsibility of implementing a historic, first-in-the-nation program – a job that is frankly somewhat outside of our historical scope of responsibility and expertise.

And yet because there are hundreds of MTA employees who put their heart and soul into it in every aspect of it – the federal environmental analysis, the wildly complicated traffic and air quality modeling that document required, and hundreds of public outreach events – we were ready for Day One. All in the service of reducing traffic, making our streets safer, and funding mass transit.

But then the pause was announced, and – true to form – folks at the MTA stayed calm and started another business-like response. We mobilized first and foremost to protect riders and service. I asked senior leaders to start reviewing the operating budget and the MTA’s $55 billion 2020-2024 Capital Program.

As they explained at last week’s meeting, with certain funding no longer available, we are shifting gears to prioritize critical State of Good Repair work at the expense of other key projects – like those that address subway accessibility, signal modernization and system expansion like Second Avenue Subway Phase 2.

Governor Hochul has said she is working to secure funding to preserve and revive those projects now moving to the backburner, and we stand ready to work with her and all other partners on that effort. In the meantime, I am focused on what we can do to help New Yorkers, and not what we can’t do.

We can pivot and work to protect the short- and long-term interests of the MTA and of transit riders.

We can get to work on State of Good Repair projects that now move to the front of the line.

We can work to make sure that the projects being moved down the list are ready to go when funding shows up.

And we can stay prepared for the day the temporary pause on congestion pricing is lifted, while looking ahead to the next MTA Capital Program, which is due to be approved and enacted into law by this time next year.

No doubt the road ahead is challenging, but this is what we do as professionals. We take a breath, come up with a plan of action, and then execute so we can make sure that the New York region – supported by the best mass transit system on this side of the globe – remains an economic powerhouse and also can become a greener, safer, more equitable, and more affordable place to live for the 20 million residents who call it home.

Janno Lieber is chair and CEO of the MTA.
  by eolesen
Pandering and gaslighting....

When MTA shows how they're operating within the budget based on projected funding levels, I'll pay attention. Until then, they're out of touch elites.

It's not about the Escalades, imported sports cars or the limos. It's about raising the price of goods and taxing those lucky enough to afford a car NOT built within the last five years.

With reasonable accommodation for those who live south of 60th and/or have incomes under $200K, I'm sure the plan could work. Maybe a reasonably priced monthly permit would have been a fair consideration.

But no, MTA got just a little too greedy.

Sent from my SM-S911U using Tapatalk

  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Olesen, according to The Times, it appears that some kind of compromise could be in the works.

Fair Use:
Weeks after Gov. Kathy Hochul abruptly pulled the plug on New York City’s congestion pricing program, state lawmakers have privately begun an informal campaign to persuade her to move ahead with the tolls, but make them less expensive.

In a series of recent conversations, the legislators suggested to Ms. Hochul that she could bring back a modified form of the initiative, which would have been the nation’s first central business district tolling program.

If the governor agreed to reduce the yearly amount of money that the law requires to be collected from the tolls, she would have some cushion to alter the program — potentially lowering the proposed $15 charge to enter Manhattan below 60th Street.[/url]
  by eolesen
She knows where her bread is buttered. Statewide outside of NYC and I believe Westchester, she lost to Zelden by 4-6%. NYC tipped her in the other direction by "only" 200,000 votes, which given Mayor Adams' performance to date and other factors aren't guaranteed to stay in the same bucket come 2024 or 2026.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Olesen, you do have a point.

In '22, I've now learned from the article (which I've read three times, BTW) that Kathy lost three Outer Boroughs (Bronx and Manhattan were hers), as well as Nassau and Suffolk on LI. Apparently there are low-income (that means <$100K) in NYC who need to "drive in" for work. Also, as I know first hand as a kid - and may actually have been an NYC "E 70's" resident '61-62 - that Subway/Bus transfers are at times, especially in the Outer Boros - "uh, not exactly" convenient and exposes one to "the elements" - including crime.

Sure, you live in the burbs along the MNR, LI, and NJT lines, and work in Midtown or Lower, you're "in like Flynn", but what if you don't (and what if your employer offers free or reduced rate parking)? If you work in Lower and reside "on the Island" or in Jersey, how far are you from the Holland or the Battery tunnels?

As noted, Kathy lost three Outer Boros and LI in '22. What if this congestion pricing cost her Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess as well come '26? Yes, politicians can "make a comeback"; we are more likely than not to see just that come November, but it is rare - and there would go any visions of "1600 in '28" that dance in her head.
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