Now is the time to prepare for the NYS legislative session. Here’s an update from our previous efforts and information to help us support a sustainable and effective transportation system throughout our state. Reminder: elected officials tell us that they do not hear about transportation issues from their constituents. So, let’s make some noise! As always, transportation is a concern in the NYS budget. What will Cuomo propose that impacts transportation funding? Appropriate action: remind NYS legislators that any action to “reduce tax burden” must continue to support improved transit funding in the 2014-15 budget.
- The BRIDGE Act (aka S1071B) was passed by both houses of the legislature, but vetoed by Gov. Cuomo this summer. Reminder: this bill pushes NYS to abide by the law enacted in 1991, a “lock-box” which intended for the gasoline tax to be used for road and bridge repair and maintenance. Currently revenues from the gas tax are siphoned off for the general fund, supporting the NYSDOT. The LWVNYS supported this bill, as did the editorial board of the Buffalo News. Appropriate action: ask the governor: why the veto?
- New York Public Transit Association testified at a hearing held 12-5-13 before the NYS Assembly transportation committee. They recommended that structural changes be made to state-wide funding for public transit, such that a small portion of state sales tax revenue be directed to upstate transit agencies– as is currently done for downstate transit agencies. I’ll have more to share on this at the LWVNYS meeting in Albany, Feb. 4th. Appropriate action: ask local legislators to consider supporting such a change.
- The current Federal transportation bill, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21), is set to expire on 9-30-14. Meanwhile, Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced a bill to gradually raise the Federal gas tax to a level which accounts for inflation. For more information, see Transportation for America at 4america.org for updates. Appropriate action: maintain relationships with our Congressional representatives, especially to monitor closely the next transportation bill, after MAP-21.
At the advocacy training event offered by LWVNYS in Albany on February 4, 2014 there will be information and materials to help you engage your local League in the vital work of advocating for sustainable transportation policies that have great impact on all of our communities.