Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The NY Times is reporting on the possibility that Assemblyman Hevesi will be investigating the local transportation monitoring organization called NYMTC:

"The State Assembly has begun an investigation of a little-known government body that plays a major role in setting transportation policy in New York City and its suburbs. The investigation is the first significant inquiry undertaken by Andrew Hevesi, the new chairman of the Assembly’s Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee. He is investigating the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council...

“It’s an entity that’s ripe for review,” Assemblyman Hevesi said. “I’m not going to prejudge, but there needs to be an analysis of their decision making since they’re using large amounts of taxpayer dollars for different projects in communities throughout the city of New York.”

Oh boy is Hevesi right about that. And while he is at it he might want to examine the role that this group played in the failed oversight of the Willets Point ramps. When confronted with the ramp proposal NYMTC never even bothered to do any of the needed due diligence and simply rubber stamped the project because the city sold the group a bill of goods that hid the dramatic traffic impacts that the ramps would have - not only on the Van Wyck - but on local roads as well.

When the Willets Point United and Brian Ketcham went to the NYMTC meeting last January the assorted members of the group were struck dumb by the information we gave them. But it shouldn't have been if the Department of City Planning-a NYMTC member organization-had apprised the group of the contradictory reporting from EDC's traffic consultant in the FGEIS on Willets Point and the AMR for the ramps.

Hevesi's investigation is prompted by a concern about the impact of rail freight transportation in Queens but he should be even more concerned about a whitewash and rubber stamping of a project that will generate 80,000 car and truck trips a day-choking the Van Wyck and the Grand Central right up to and through the Kew Gardens Interchange.

The exit question is: Who is NYMTC and what does it do to actually protect the public interest when it comes to mega-developments that will adversely impact the local transportation infrastructure and the environment? Millions of dollars flow through the NYMTC funnel. Isn't it time that someone gives some oversight to the overseers?