Transit Chief Asks City Council To Fund Fast Forward Plan, Touts Improvements

December 04, 2018 - 3:28 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The head of the New York City Transit provided an updated Tuesday to the City Council Transportation Committee on subway improvements.

With the system stabilized and on-time performance improving Transit Chief Andy Byford implored the council committee during a Tuesday testimony to get on board with the Fast Forward plan and find a way to fund it.

“If we bite the bullet, we have the opportunity, ladies and gentlemen, to move from a state of emergency to state of the art transit within ten years,” Byford announced.

Byford first introduced the Fast Forward plan in May, he originally promised to provide a “costed roadmap.”

The price of the plan is $40 billion. Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez said funds must come from multiple sourced.

“It cannot be the congestion plan or the millionaire, it must be both,” Rodriguez recommended.

Over the last year, the subway system has been caught in a battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo who both proposed different plans in order to fund improvements for the aging infrastructure.

Cuomo suggested introducing congestion pricing, which would charge taxis, trucks and other vehicles entering Manhattan an increased fee in certain areas.

The mayor, however, has suggested increasing the city’s highest income tax rate from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent on taxable income above $500,000 for individuals and above $1 million for couples.

Earlier Monday, the MTA also announced that if it could not come up with more funding, it would have to cut down on cleaning costs.

“It does not mean that we will clean cars, but it will mean that we will only on some lines clean them at one end,” Byford said at the MTA budget meeting.

The budget proposal also included getting rid of $4 million spent on police overtime to catch fare-beaters.