Monday, October 22, 2007

Hearing Loss

If the new Congestion Commission had wanted to purposefully denigrate the public review process, they couldn't have done a better job than scheduling the -hopefully-first round of hearings at such a short notice. The first hearing, in Queens, is set for this Tuesday, and the short notice gives both sides very little time to alert their partisans.

What this means to us, and we agree with Senator Liz Krueger on this (unusual in itself), is that the Commission needs to set up a second round of hearings and do a better job at publicizing them. As Krueger told her constituents, in a letter posted on Streetsblog: "I am extremely disturbed by the short notice provided for this hearing. I have discussed this issue with the members of the commission, and requested additional hearings be held in Manhattan with more adequate notice."

But not only in Manhattan. What about the fact that Rockland County is completely left out of the hearing process? Rockland, with no decent mass transut access to the CBD, is especially vulnerable to any congestion tax scheme-a fact that was pointed out when a number of Rockland legislators held a press conference to announce their opposition to the plan in July.

What the congestion tax plan needs is more exposure, not less. Any indication that the public review process is simply cursory will buttress opponents' arguments that the entire scheme has not been fully evaluated-and it lacks any degree of transparency. So, we guess that. as opponents of this ill-thought out plan we should encourage our friend Marc Shaw-someone not really comfortable in the limelight-to continue to keep on keeping on.