Reps. Malliotakis, Gottheimer Call for 60-Day Extension of Public Comment Period for MTA’s Congestion Tax

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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) and Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) wrote to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) calling for an extension of the public comment period on New York City’s congestion pricing program. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced last week that the public comment period would be extended for an additional 14 days, however, the lawmakers argue the timeline does not allow the public to fully engage in the process.
“While we appreciate the FHWA acquiescing to our calls to extend the period, the timeline falls well short of the 60 days we and the public requested and must have to fully engage in the process,” the lawmakers wrote. “As we have previously stated, the initial 30-day public comment period fell within a well-established time period known to suppress public engagement afforded by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FHWA’s decision to conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA), rather than a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), guaranteed that the public has just 30 days to review, digest, and respond to a nearly 1,000-page document that lays out lasting and significant impacts on millions of residents in the region.”
In addition to calling for an extended public comment period, the lawmakers have been leading a bipartisan effort for the MTA and FHWA to conduct thorough and transparent environmental and economic impact studies rather than jamming through a smaller EA. They’ve also introduced legislation to establish a credit system to prevent double-tolling and require the Office of the Inspector General to conduct a full audit of the MTA to see how it spent billions in federal assistance over the past five years.
The lawmakers added: “Communities like Staten Island, the Bronx, and northern New Jersey were specifically called out in the EA as areas that will see higher congestion and increased air pollution as a result of vehicular transfer out of the Central Business District…To ensure equitable treatment for all involved, these communities must have their voices heard and given a fair opportunity to express their views. An additional 14 days does not come close to allowing these highly impacted constituents time to adequately participate and engage in the process…A 60-day extension of public comments is foundational in allowing FHW A to make their final decision in good faith and avoid any perception of an undermined process.”
Download a copy of the letter HERE.
Interested parties have until September 23 to submit written comment to the MTA HERE
Banner Image: City traffic. Image Credit – Pexels

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Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis was sworn in on January 3, 2021 to represent Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn. Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis was elected to the New York State Assembly on November 2, 2010, defeating a two-term incumbent. In the Assembly, she served as Minority Whip and the ranking minority member of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Employees. For five terms, Congresswoman Malliotakis fought to restore ethics in Albany, expand transit service in her district, improve programs for senior citizens, reform education and improve New York’s economic climate by reducing the tax burden on small businesses and residents. A cornerstone of her tenure was helping her community recover and rebuild following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In addition to advocating for these same issues in Washington, Congresswoman Malliotakis is acutely focused on securing New York’s fair share of federal mass transit funding, which would go towards expanding transportation services and easing traffic congestion, while also championing public safety by supporting our nation’s law enforcement officers. Congresswoman Malliotakis is the daughter of immigrants, her father from Greece and her mother a Cuban exile of the Castro dictatorship. She is currently the only Republican member representing New York City in Congress, representing a district spanning the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. She is a passionate advocate for animal rights and the strengthening of animal cruelty laws, and in her spare time, enjoys spending time with her chihuahua, Peanut.

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