Press Release: Congestion Pricing Now Rally

Access-A-Ride, Access-a-Ride Reform Group, Disability Justice, MTA, News

Advocates, Elected Officials Rally in Support of Congestion Pricing Funding for Accessibility Upgrades

State Senator Gounardes and Assemblymember Simon gathered with accessibility advocates to call for the implementation of congestion pricing without further delay

NEW YORK, NY – Today, congestion pricing advocates, alongside State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, rallied at the Smith-9th St subway station in support of congestion pricing, which will provide funding for critically needed ADA accessibility upgrades at stations across the city.

The group also urged for a quick resolution to lawsuits being brought by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and others against congestion pricing, noting that a delay in congestion pricing’s implementation would also delay elevator installations and other accessibility upgrades.

“Congestion pricing is really about creating a transportation system that works for all of us,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “Public transit is the lifeblood of New York City, but for far too long, huge swathes of our transit system have been inaccessible to many New Yorkers. Congestion pricing will help fund critical accessibility improvements like elevators at subway stations that open up the system, not only for riders who use wheelchairs, but also for seniors with limited mobility, parents pushing strollers, riders carrying heavy luggage or groceries, and hundreds of thousands of others. Congestion pricing is key to creating a city that is cleaner, greener, and easier to navigate. It’s time to get it done.”

“I fought hard for congestion pricing to ensure a reliable, dedicated funding stream to upgrade mass transit, allowing for an accessible and equitable transportation system. On its best day, the current subway system is only marginally accessible due to the lack of elevators, inoperable elevators, and other issues, including dangerous gaps between trains and platforms. Revenue generated from congestion pricing will greatly benefit people with disabilities, who have been marginalized and faced inaccessible transit for far too long. We must not further delay the implementation of congestion pricing,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

“Congestion pricing will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for essential transit projects, including making stations accessible, by the literal truck and carload,” said Joe Rappaport, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled. “If the money doesn’t come through, everyone in the region will lose out.”

“Congestion Pricing will bring great benefits to New Yorkers and visitors alike, including people with disabilities, and must be implemented without further delay,” said Christopher Schuyler, Senior Staff Attorney for the Disability Justice Program with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “Congestion Pricing will ease traffic for those who most need the roads, including paratransit, emergency vehicles, and delivery drivers. Crucially, Congestion Pricing will also fund $15 billion of the MTA’s capital plan, over $5 billion of which is earmarked for much-needed systemwide accessibility improvements.”

“We can’t wait any longer to implement congestion pricing, reduce traffic and emissions, and fund promised accessibility upgrades, which currently can’t move ahead. Less congested streets will let paratransit and buses move more efficiently and make them more viable transit options for hundreds of thousands of people who don’t drive and can’t use the subway,” said Jessica Murray, Organizer, Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group.

“The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) believes that every New Yorker deserves reliable and accessible transportation to get to work, school, health-related appointments, family activities, recreational events, and so much more. Access to life activities is an essential right. CIDNY fought along with other disability advocates to ensure that the transportation system in New York City is accessible to all. The global elevator access settlement in June of 2022, requires funding for this process. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) reports that congestion pricing will assist to fund these projects. Thus, CIDNY supports the funds resulting from congestion pricing to be used for accessibility projects throughout the New York City ‘s transportation system,” said Sharon McLennon Wier, Ph.D., MSEd., CRC, LMHC, Executive Director of CIDNY.

“Elevators are for every rider and congestion pricing will bring unprecedented accessibility improvements to our public transit network,” said Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. “After decades of underfunding, the subway excludes a million New Yorkers who cannot climb stairs. Congestion pricing is an integral part of delivering the inclusive transportation system New Yorkers need and deserve.”

“Roughly three quarters of all subway stations in New York City are not ADA accessible. The money earned from congestion pricing will help change that,” said Jaqi Cohen, Director of Climate and Equity Policy for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “These funds are crucial for installing elevators and making other necessary upgrades that ensure everyone has equal access to our subways. It’s time for our city to prioritize accessibility and make sure our transit system opens its doors for all New Yorkers.”

“Congestion pricing will bring New Yorkers a more reliable and accessible transit system,” said Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). “Funding from congestion pricing will pay for critical upgrades to stations, including new elevators, escalators and ramps so that all riders can access transit. Less traffic on our streets will also speed up Access-A-Ride vehicles and buses. Riders desperately need the lawsuits to end so we can finally embrace better, more accessible transit!”

Congestion pricing was signed into law in New York State in 2019. The program is intended to ease gridlock caused by traffic congestion, reduce transportation-related emissions in the air, and generate funding to expand and improve public transit across the region.

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