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Congestion Pricing Must Move Forward to Pay For Accessible Transit Upgrades

State Senator Gounardes, Assemblymember Simon gathered with accessibility advocates to call for the implementation of congestion pricing.
Senator Gounardes and Assemblymember Simon rally alongside accessibility advocates.

Approximately three quarters of all subway stations in New York City are currently not up to the standard of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Advocates for congestion pricing are urging the government to implement the plan so the funds raised can help make systemic changes. 

Advocates, alongside State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, rallied at the Smith-9th St subway station on Friday in support of congestion pricing, which will provide funding for critically needed ADA accessibility upgrades at stations across the city.

The group also urged for a resolution to the lawsuits blocking the plan, noting that a delay in congestion pricing’s implementation would also delay elevator installations and other accessibility upgrades.

“Congestion pricing is really about creating a transportation system that works for all of us," said State Senator Andrew Gounardes through a news release. "Public transit is the lifeblood of New York City, but for far too long, huge swathes of our transit system have been inaccessible to many New Yorkers."

The senator said money made from congestion pricing will help fund critical accessibility improvements like elevators at subway stations that open up the system, not only for riders who use wheelchairs, but also for seniors with limited mobility, parents pushing strollers, riders carrying heavy luggage or groceries.

"Congestion pricing is key to creating a city that is cleaner, greener, and easier to navigate. It's time to get it done," he said.

Congestion pricing was signed into law in New York State in 2019. The program is intended to ease gridlock caused by traffic congestion, reduce transportation-related emissions in the air, and generate funding to expand and improve public transit across the region.

"Congestion pricing will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for essential transit projects, including making stations accessible, by the literal truck and carload," said Joe Rappaport, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled. "If the money doesn't come through, everyone in the region will lose out."