Monday, March 01, 2010

NYMTC Numbnuts

For those of you who don't know, the Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) is an association of governments, transportation providers and environmental agencies that is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. As such, it is charged with providing, "a collaborative planning forum to address transportation-related issues from a regional perspective and plans and makes decisions on the use of federal transportation funds."

NYMTC, in its capacity as out local MPO, had the responsibility of evaluating and signing off on the request to include the Van Wyck ramps in the latest Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). In our view, NYMTC has acted irresponsibly-Basically, it seems that NYMTC did not thoroughly study the ramps and their impacts, before amending the TIP. Instead, NYMTC rubber-stamped the ramp project, as has happened with other aspects of the WP development.

To demonstrate this, WPU made a FOIL request of NYMTC to view the ramp project information that NYMTC actually sent to its voting members, prior to their vote to amend the TIP to include the ramp project. We have already been told by a representative of NYMTC that the voting members received only the very brief description of the ramp project that appeared at NYMTC's web site, which did NOT disclose any of the harmful effects of the proposed ramps and the development that the ramps support.

Therefore, it is our belief that NYMTC's voting members did NOT have sufficient and accurate information on which to base their votes. They only had misleading information. If so, the TIP amendment vote ought to be nullified, and the vote taken again; but only after providing appropriate materials to NYMTC's voting members.

In addition, if the NYMTC decision is allowed to stand, NYSDOT and FHWA may consider the TIP amendment to be a preliminary approval, and they may presume that it is not only legitimate, but has been properly vetted as well. Anyone who looks at the TIP and sees the ramp project listed on it will presume that the ramp project meets a certain standard. (After all, NYMTC has rules to follow when amending the TIP; can't we presume they followed them, and carefully evaluated the ramp project before including it on the TIP?).

Apparently not! This is further demonstration of not only how slipshod the entire Willets Point review process has been up until this point, but at the same time how compromised it as been. From illegally constituted non profits to below standard environmental reviews, Willets Point stands proudly as the poster child for government at is most unseemly-a perfect symbol of Mike Bloomberg's tainted special interest rule.