Long Island Streets E.D. gave testimony at the NY Senate Standing Committee on Transportation Public Hearing on the MTA/LIRR re: less focus on expanding public space for the storage of idle metal boxes and more focus on better buses and complete bicycle infrastructure at all LIRR stations (versus token bike racks in a corner). In addition, support for Congestion Pricing to help battle a public health and climate crisis, unfair MTA/LIRR fares boosting Nassau Inter-County Express / NICE Bus fares, removing the useless $5 LIRR bike pass, and concerns that the proposed consolidation of the 6 existing MTA entities could mask accountability and potentially make NYC transit and the LIRR less autonomous from the whims of upstate legislators.
There were so many incredible speakers advocating on behalf of public transit extending beyond the MTA/LIRR as critical pieces of a healthy transportation network, including:
Larry Penner, a transportation historian, advocate and writer who previously worked 31 years for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office, gave strong testimony (see video below) on the “tricks of the trade of the MTA,” decades of delayed projects, positive train control, the East River tunnels crisis, the Empire Point Development Corp following wonky guidelines, the changeover of leadership at the MTA / lack of accountability via changing of staff: “The saving of $2billion is fantasy.”
People with disabilities had a strong presence with Transit Advocate Paul Pressman speaking about Suffolks 3 bus systems and the violations of ADA, elevator upgrades / access to platforms, and the desperate lack of funding.
NICE Bus Chief Executive Officer Jack Khzouz spoke about a dedicated revenue stream & predictability that would allow them to have long-term planning, the recent innovations brought in for ticketing, GPS, micro-transit pilots, a vision for a stronger network of connectivity to allow seniors and young people to stay. Click video below for full hearing.