Weprin Votes In Opposition to Congestion Pricing in State Budget
Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Forest Hills) announced yesterday he voted in opposition to Budget bill A2009-C, because it included sections to create a congestion pricing zone tolling car drivers entering Manhattan below 60th street.
Weprin has been fighting against congestion pricing, effectively a tax on middle-class commuters and small businesses, since it was first proposed during the Bloomberg Administration.
Following passage of the bill in the Assembly, Weprin noted that the proposed plan delegated toll-setting authority, as well as details on toll exceptions that will affect thousands of commuters and small business to a duo of unelected bureaus, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and the soon to be created Traffic Mobility Review Board.
“I am very torn by this bill because as Correction Chair, I’ve long advocated for the criminal justice reform in this bill. Bail reform, discovery reform, speedy trial reform; all bills that we voted for in previous years in one house bills that I voted for,” said Weprin. “But, I cannot vote for this bill because I’ve been fighting various congestion pricing proposals for over ten years going back to Mayor Bloomberg. Of all these proposals, this is by far the worst. It gives a total blank check to the TBTA. We do not know how much we are going to be taxing our constituents whether it’s going to be ten dollars or twenty dollars or thirty dollars. Is there a cap on it? Is the zone going to be changed? How often will it go up? There are so many unanswered questions in this. So, even if I was a supporter of congestion pricing all those years, I could not vote for this proposal with the openness of it.
“I actually represent what’s referred to as a transit desert where you have to take two buses. The Eastern part of my district you have to take two buses and a train to get into [the] mid-town Manhattan Zone and it often takes my constituents two hours to get into the zone while if they are driving even with congestion it takes about an hour, so for all of those reasons I cannot in good conscience vote for this bill. I vote in the negative,” he added.
Katz Announces Queens Job Fair For 2020 Census
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday announced they will hold a job fair at Queens Borough Hall on May 1 to help recruit workers to assist with the 2020 Census count.
The decennial Census determines the borough’s representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as how much federal funding Queens receives for schools, infrastructure, health services and more.
“A Census undercount is something Queens simply cannot afford,” said Katz. “As the largest borough in New York and the most diverse county in the nation, we will have a lot of ground to cover once the Census begins a year from today. We’re serious about having all hands on deck to help reach every corner of every community throughout this great borough to help ensure as complete and accurate a count as possible.”
The job fair is slated for between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are strongly encouraged to RSVP in advance at queensbp.org/rsvp or 718.286.2661.
Addabbo, Barnwell, Holden Co-Host Rain Barrell Giveaway & Other Services Event
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways), Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth, Woodside, Middle Village, parts of Astoria, Sunnyside, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Long Island City) and City Councilman Bob Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, parts of Woodside, Woodhaven) later this month will co-host a multifaceted event in Maspeth aimed at helping local constituents and some furry friends as well.
The event will include a joint free rain barrel giveaway, bike etching, recycling and pet adoption services.
“What a great opportunity for constituents in all three of our districts to come and get several things done at one central location,” Addabbo said. “I encourage everyone to come out to Maspeth and take advantage of these offerings.”
The rain barrels that will be given away are 55-gallon plastic barrels that attach to a rain gutter to collect and store excess water during periods of rainfall. That rainwater can then later be used to complete tasks around the house and outdoors, rather than using fresh water.
“I’m always proud to sponsor such a great event with my colleagues to provide rain barrels, bike etching, pet adoption, and recycling services to the community,” said Barnwell. “Rain barrels are great for the environment and every pet deserves a loving home. We would love for you to join us!”
“It is important for us local elected officials to help our constituents have better access to resources that can improve the local environment on many different levels,” said Holden.
The event is slated for between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, April 27 at Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, 56-18 69th Street in Maspeth. In order to register for the free rain barrel giveaway, you must call Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111.
Sanders Seeks Nominations For Youth Leadership Recognition Awards
State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway) is seeking nominations for the State Senate Youth Leadership Recognition Awards.
The program recognizes and honors outstanding students who will become future leaders. Nominations must come from teachers, administrators, counselors, or other school faculty members can nominate students.
Sanders said the Senate is looking for well-rounded candidates who excel not only academically, but through leadership in extracurricular and volunteer activities. There are four categories to choose from, including Academics, Athletics, Arts and Community Service.
To nominate students, fill out the online nomination form through the link below, attaching a recommendation letter and the student’s brief statement about their accomplishment(s). Participating schools are invited to nominate a maximum of five junior or senior students for the program. All nominations must be submitted online by April 5.