The subway is in dire straits. Traffic in Manhattan is perpetually gridlocked. New York's heroes have failed to save the city's public transit from falling into disrepair. But Gothamites can find one small shred of hope in a ragtag group of individuals who have been tasked with solving some of the city's most pressing infrastructure issues.
Dubbed the Fix NYC Advisory Panel, this collection of transportation experts and local stakeholders was assembled by Governor Andrew Cuomo's office to come up with a set of proposals that can help curb the gridlock on New York's streets while producing additional funding for the MTA. The panel will work with State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who will review the fiscal end of the proposals, and consultant firm HNTB Corporation, which will provide technical assistance and modeling. Everything about this panel points to the notion of congestion pricing, a concept that Cuomo floated over the summer that would bring tolls to some of Manhattan's busiest streets to help pay for the MTA's costly subway repairs.
Among the esteemed members of this Suicide Squad (so to speak) are local transit and urban planning wizard Sam Schwartz, chairman of the Regional Plan Association and infrastructure guru Scott Rechler and former MTA chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast. Gothamist noted that there isn't a single New York City official on the panel, which comes as no surprise considering that Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the idea of congestion pricing (and has been at odds with Cuomo since taking office in 2014).
Whether or not these thankless transit nerds actually fix NYC remains to be seen. But hey, between the new panel and Cuomo's competition to fix the subway, things have to get better at some point, right?