Leading NY Environmental Activists Demand Albany Cut Vehicle Emissions, Pass Fix NYC Plan

Advocates Call on Albany to Cut Traffic Congestion, Lower Air Pollution, and Address Growing Health Concerns

March 13, 2018
Mitch Schwartz, 914-330-1026, mschwartz@SKDKnick.com

Today, New York’s leading environmental advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall to demand legislators pass the Fix NYC plan in order to tackle the region’s transportation crisis, as well as mounting concerns over New Yorkers’ health and the environment.

“Our City’s transit system has become an antiquated, unreliable liability for the region’s economy and New York’s standing as a global city,” said Alex Matthiessen, Move NY campaign director. “And as we clog our streets with ever more cars and trucks, we load up the skies with carbon and poison the lungs of our children with smog; it’s not a coincidence that asthma rates are higher near the traffic-jammed free crossings into the Central Business District. The Governor’s Fix NYC panel came up with a serious plan to address a serious crisis. It’s time for our state leaders to pass the full Fix NYC plan. New Yorkers can’t afford to wait any longer.”


Governor Cuomo convened the Fix NYC Advisory Panel in the fall 2017. Since the panel’s inception, several news outlets – including The New York Times – have editorialized in support of a bold and fair congestion pricing plan.


“For nearly fifty years, the New York City transit system has suffered from the lack of a permanent and robust dedicated funding source,” said Eric A. Goldstein, NYC Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And for just as long, traffic congestion in the nation’s most densely populated city has led to lost productivity, air pollution discharges and the frayed tempers of millions.  There’s never been a better opportunity to act than the pending Fix NYC Plan and we call upon Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie and Leader Flanagan to seize the moment and include funding for Fix NYC in this year’s budget.”


“Traffic congestion and failing subways and buses hit the City’s underserved neighborhoods the hardest,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “The Fix NYC plan will reinvest in the system that New York’s working families rely on while expanding transit access to those least well served. And by cutting traffic in and around the Central Business District, the Fix NYC plan would help reduce smog and the high asthma rates that go with it, thus protecting our most vulnerable communities.”


“The ‘summer of hell’ for transit and traffic is here to stay – unless Albany acts now,” said Andy Darrell, New York Regional Director of the Environmental Defense Fund. “The most reasonable path forward is action on the FixNYC proposal, including improved transit for communities without access, $1 billion in investments for infrastructure and a fair, flexible congestion pricing system that pays the bills, connects people with jobs and cuts pollution in our neighborhoods.”


“Though New Yorkers currently have among the smallest carbon footprints in the nation due in large part to our sizable public transit system, deteriorating subway service and idling from vehicles stuck in traffic have the potential to imperil our progress toward reaching the state’s 80x50 climate goal,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “A well-crafted congestion pricing scheme has the greatest potential to raise significant funds, create progressive incentives to manage traffic flow, and reduce transportation related carbon emissions.”


“Moms across New York are uniting to support action to reduce toxic traffic emissions that are so dangerous to our children’s lungs, hearts and brains. We need a transit and traffic system that works for—and protects—all of us,” said Dominique Browning, Senior Director of the Moms Clean Air Task Force.


“New York is growing as our transit systems are crumbling. We need progressive transit thinking and leadership now. The Fix NYC is the ticket,” said Roland Lewis, President of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “The plan will unclog our streets and create needed resources to get the old standbys buses and subways running smoothly again and create new alternatives like ferries to ease our transit burden.”


“Our worst-ever traffic congestion and outdated transit system is hurting our City – and no-one more than the most vulnerable among us,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE. “We’ve seen this crisis with our subways and buses coming for years. Now, with the Fix NYC plan on the table, we have a chance to do something about it. If Albany is serious about helping low and middle income New Yorkers and communities of color escape the past ravages of environmental injustice, now is the time for a serious plan to fix our broken transportation system. Fix NYC is the right plan at the right time to get the job done.”  


“Less traffic and better transit are essential to New York’s economic future and to the health of the air we all breathe,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT.


“New York’s streets are in desperate need of a decongestant and our transit systems need sustained funding so that we can move people effectively and efficiently. Governor Cuomo and Legislative leaders must buckle down and come out of budget negotiations this year with a true congestion pricing plan that addresses the health and environmental impacts of our failing transportation sector, ” said Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York.

Last week, the Let’s FixNYC campaign launched a month-long advocacy and public education campaign to pressure Albany and NYC policymakers to act immediately and implement a comprehensive congestion pricing plan.

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