The Legislative Front
New York State: New York Surface Transportation Efficiency Act: Assembly Bill A10611
If the Tri State Transportation Campaign's newly-crafted bill gets through the New York State Assembly, the State DOT will have to start taking a good look at different forms of travel before widening roadways and adding to the flow of traffic. The New York State Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, (NYSTEA) will also require transportation agencies to adopt any alternative that cuts back on tax dollars, pollution, accidents, suburban sprawl, and energy use. The bill will soon be amended to promote the construction of bicycling and pedestrian facilities.
Cathy Nolan (D-Queens), who introduced the bill to the Assembly in March, said recently that NYSTEA "gives mass transit a priority in funding and planning for the first time. This will ultimately improve our state's efficiency and make us more competitive as welt as cleaning up the air." So far, about 40 co-sponsors in the Assembly have signed on to the bill. It has not yet been introduced in the Senate because influential Transportation Committee Chair Norman Levy (R-L.I.) has yet to give it thumbs up.
With NYSTEA made into law, environmentalists and advocates of alternative transportation would gain a critical tool in the effort to shift priorities away from autos toward environment-friendly transportation projects. Transportation Alternatives urges you to contact your representatives in the State Legislature and insist that they co-sponsor and work for the passage of NYSTEA.
If you need help tracking down your Assembly Rep. or State Senator and their address or phone number, call T.A. at 212-475-4600, the League of Women Voters at 1-800-836-6975 or the Legislature's Switchboard at 519-455-5100.
City Council Member Sheldon Leffler has introduced a bill that would require New York City companies that pay for employees' car parking to offer the full federal tax-deductible public transit benefit ($60 per month) to its workers. The bill, Intro 98, has just been referred to the Council's Transportation Committee and will probably not see any action until at least July, after the City budget is adopted. If passed, the bill will help balance auto and transit subsidies. Transportation Alternatives urges you to contact your City Council member and ask them to co-sponsor Intro 98 and work for its passage.