May/June 1999, p.11

Prognosis Still Grim for NYC Bike/Ped Funding
Public Participation in NYC Federal Transportation Funding in Full Reverse - It's Time for Feds to Pull Plug on NYMTC

"Hi, our agencies are doing their absolute damnedest for cyclists and pedestrians. That's why we decided in 1999 to limit bike/ped funding to 10% of the available Federal clean air funds, and revoke the vote of bike and ped advocates and their allies on the project selection committee for Federal Enhancement funds."The U.S. Department of Transportation should no longer have any doubts about whether it should decertify the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) for its many public participation deficiencies - it should. If NYMTC's serious backsliding on public participation is not enough, the Feds should pull the plug on the organization for two other reasons: its perpetual failure to develop an air pollution model which has any relationship to reality; and, the continuing inability of its member groups to approve a Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) which conforms with the stated goals of the organization's Long Range Plan.

NYMTC, which consists of city and state transportation agencies, distributes billions of dollars in Federal transportation funds within the 17 million-person NYC area. Three years ago, NYMTC was almost decertified, which would have resulted in all Federal transportation aid to the NYC metro area being frozen. Ultimately, Federal watchdogs were called off by the White House. Now NYMTC, led by the NYC Departments of Transportation and City Planning, has sunk to new lows and seems to be courting Federal sanction once again. In recent months it has effectively excluded the public from meaningful participation in selecting which projects will be funded by Federal Transportation Enhancement funds (formerly a bright spot); agreed to freeze the bike/ped share of Federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to be spent in NYC at a maximum of 10% for the next four years without any public discussion or debate; and has created a CMAQ project selection process which consists of backroom haggling and zero meaningful public input.

The long and short for NYC area cyclists and pedestrians is a decline in both funding for important projects and less opportunity for their voice to be heard. Missing from the picture are the local and regional offices of the Federal Highway Administration, which are supposed to ensure that NYMTC complies with the will of Congress and the letter of the federal transportation law, i.e., the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

Demand that NYMTC be decertified unless it creates meaningful opportunities for the public to participate in its
decision making. Write to:

Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan
405 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10174

Sen. Charles Schumer
229 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Rep. Jerrold Nadler
11 Beach Street, #910
New York, NY 10013

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