As someone who has a strong understanding of politics on all levels, I don’t get too excited or too disappointed when new legislation passes or is attempting to do so. Too many people get caught up in the hoopla of success or frustration from failure. The main task they forget to do is actually take a look at & fully understand the language of legislation. This theory is playing itself out now with the latest in the saga of the bus cam bill.
The last piece of news made on this topic was almost two weeks ago when the State Senate Transportation Committee approved legislation that would allow the city to use cameras as an enforcement tool on up to 50 miles of bus lanes. As I opined in that entry, the headline was misleading since it was only inching closer to full approval.
Now it gets messy as it always seems to in politics. The legislation which was passed in the State Senate Transportation Committee has been completely watered down & shoved into the recent deal to save Student MetroCards. The watered down version contains language for camera enforcement on only select routes & nowhere near the near 50 originally proposed. Noah Kazis of Streetsblog has more in this report:
We reported on Friday that bus lane camera enforcement was passed as part of the so-called student MetroCard deal: If the MTA would eat the cost of student fares, Albany would allow it to keep its bus lanes free of traffic. That wasn’t ever a good deal for transit riders, but as is so often the case, it gets worse in the fine print.
The version passed into the budget bill wasn’t the original legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, which would have authorized cameras for 50 miles of bus lanes, but a more limited authorization that restricts cameras to a few Select Bus Service routes.
Here’s the offending language:
WITHIN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, SUCH BUS LANE PHOTO DEVICES SHALL ONLY BE OPERATED ON DESIGNATED BUS LANES THAT ARE SELECT BUS SERVICE LANES WITHIN THE BUS RAPID TRANSIT DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM AND ONLY DURING WEEKDAYS FROM 7:00 A.M. TO 7:00 P.M.
Click here for the complete report.
These kind of games are exactly why it is so hard to make progress in reforms for the better of mass transit in our region. This same theory can be used on just about any legislation or topic regardless of its merit or location. Some might argue that this should be celebrated as it is a small victory in a war yet to be finished. However one can’t always look at things with that perspective as there are times where things are either right or wrong. This watered down version is wrong & quite honestly any thinking otherwise is foolish & needs to reexamine things.
xoxo Transit Blogger