Besides voting on a Mayor in two weeks, New Yorkers will have a chance to vote on the state's proposed $2.9 billion Transportation Bond Act that will put money towards various state and city (mostly MTA) transit projects. We've been noticing a lot of support for the bill (Pataki, Bloomberg, Ferrer, the Straphangers), but there is some opposition, especially from upstate groups which don't necessarily want to be the ones on the hook for a lot of NYC projects - we're just not hearing the opposition because we're in the NYC media bubble. The NY Times looks at the two sides of the Transportation Bond Act today, and from the article, we've broken down the basic pros and cons:
- Being able to start/complete MTA projects like the Second Avenue subway (the first segment), creating East Side access from Grand Central to the LIRR, subway track replacement and new cars, and new buses
- Other NY State projects, like improving the Kew Gardens/Van Wyck interchange, reconstructing Highway 347, and improving the West Shore highway
- MTA riders will have to shoulder less of the MTA's already crippling debt
- More debt for NY State that the taxpayers will eventually have to bear (NY State's debt is currently $47.6 billion)
- Not as many projects benefiting upstate
- Bond Act does nothing to prevent future fare hikes
Supporters of the bond act are hoping that high voter turnout in NYC can help, since it is a mayoral election year, but Gothamist wonders if voter turnout will be that high, given how Bloomberg seems to be cruising. Transportation Bond Act supporters have an ad campaign running on the subways (picture above), plus a website, Vote Yes NY, to explain the issue. Anyway, we're voting "Yes" on the Transportation Bond Act because it's one thing we can do to help the MTA; sure, it's sucks that the state debt will get worse, but we also blame the dysfunctional legislators in Albany for that.
In Metrocard vending machine news, if you buy your cards with a credit card, you'll have to give your zip code as well. This is to cut down on credit card fraud, because apparently people run out and buy tons of Metrocards when they steal wallets. And the MTA is going to look into why it's so hard for disabled riders to get into the subways, with closed entraces and broken AutoGate reader (machines that disabled riders swipe in order to open "Special Entry" doors). But here is a link to the MTA's accessible transit.