By John Kelly
Building a better transportation network in Eastern Queens is very important to me. I’m starting a masters program in Brookyln and I need to take classes remotely because traveling the 12 miles home from their campus isn’t feasible at night.
It takes me about two hours each way to travel the 13 miles to work in Manhattan (about the same time it takes to bike that distance), a trip is already costing my wife and I $2,904 a year. We argue about if we want to pay an additional $5,424 a year on Long Island Rail Road just to save half an hour a day to spend with our newborn daughter. Spending a total of $8,328 a year for the two of us to commute within New York City is not financially sustainable. In fact, if we really cared about the environment and climate change, all public transit should be free and funded through taxes just like the NYPD and FDNY and DoT is right now.
But now is the time we can finally change things. A congestion pricing plan could help expand the subway, improve bus service, and cut the price of a LIRR ticket. We have some great local politicians, like State Assemblymember Nily Rozi, City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik and now State Senator John Liu. I have confidence that they and many other will work together to create the best congestion pricing legislation possible and pass it this year. There is no use waiting for the MTA to restructure or spend years crafting the perfect legislation; the constituents are hurting right now. There will never be a plan to fix everything or that will make everyone happy, but we need to start with strong congestion pricing now because the status quo is failure. So the next time you’re stuck on a long commute, remind your local politician to implement a strong congestion pricing policy now because a more robust, reliable and affordable transit system is possible.