Council Member Joe Borelli (R-South Shore), and Minority Leader Steve Matteo (R-Mid Island), announced today that he will be introducing legislation to establish a NYC-resident parking permit that would make it more difficult for out-of-state commuters to park for free at Park and Ride lots owned, operated, or maintained by NYC DOT. Non-residents would have the opportunity to purchase a parking permit for a $400 annual fee that would allow them to leave their vehicles in the same Park and Ride lots, residents will be able to obtain their permits at no cost.
A number of the outer-borough Park and Rides are at or beyond capacity already, as evidenced by the state of these parking lots during the morning and evening rush hours. Many NYC residents are forced to find on-street parking on residential blocks and then walk to the public transit hub. These residents are not able to utilize the Park and Rides that their tax dollars are supporting due to the tremendously high number of out-of-state residents who take advantage of these sites in order to avoid paying the fees that their own towns impose for parking at or near transit hubs. On a given weekday, 30 percent or more of the spaces at Park and Rides on the south shore of Staten Island are occupied by vehicles bearing New Jersey license plates.
The inequity resulting from the way the Park and Rides are currently operated is multi-layered. NYC tax dollars go to establish and maintain not only the Park and Rides, but also the express bus and train lines that pick up and drop off passengers at these sites, and the highways and city streets upon which the express buses travel. The cost of these amenities is never offset; MTA bus lines are subsidized heavily by NYC taxpayers and drivers; out-of-state drivers are more likely to use Port Authority and not MTA bridges, meaning the revenue generated doesn’t directly support NYC transportation infrastructure.
“Want to go to the beach? $25 to park. Want to go to Giants’ Stadium? $30 to park. Want to go to Liberty Science Center? $7 to park. Want to take a train in Ridgewood NJ? $1500 annually,” Borelli said. “The fact is, New Jersey residents don’t pay the MTA taxes that subsidize their rides, and they don’t pay the income taxes which paid for building the Park and Rides. They only pay a bridge toll, which subsidizes transit in their own state via the Port Authority. So, why should they be entitled to a free parking space in a City-run lot? I imagine most of these people left Staten Island at some point and their occupation of 30% of our parking spaces is no longer welcome.”
“We are asking for simple parity with respect to how New Jersey treats us. Given the number of complaints I have received over the years about the number of parking spaces, I’m confident that people will be willing to take the time to register for a permit if it ultimately gives them better access to parking spaces. Why should a Staten Island taxpayer have to park a half-mile down the service road when there’s a spot in a City-funded Park and Ride occupied by a vehicle bearing a strange yellow-colored license plate?” Borelli opined.
“I love our New Jersey neighbors and welcome them to our borough, but Staten Island taxpayers should not be subsidizing free parking and public transportation for them – especially when our borough has so few and such inadequate transportation options already. It is more than fair that out-of-state drivers pay for the convenience of our Park-and-Rides, as all New York City residents do,” said Matteo.