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OpinionLetters

Letters: Tolling proposal can work for New York City

Reader letters to Newsday for Monday, March 18, 2019.

Traffic fills 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan on

Traffic fills 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan on Jan. 25. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Opinion writer Herbert W. Stupp misrepresents the nature of congestion pricing and the work of the New York City Department of Transportation [“Congestion plan will take its toll,” March 8].

Congestion pricing would not “tangibly harm modest income people,” who overwhelmingly travel to Manhattan by mass transit, not private car. It would create funding to repair, modernize and enhance transit for all. Without this new revenue, Metropolitan Transportation Authority fares will rise sharply and traffic congestion and access for many will worsen.

Bus lanes and bike lanes have expanded the ability of streets to move people efficiently and safely. DOT studies consistently belie Stupp’s claims that transformed streets have increased congestion. Our analysis shows that car travel speeds on these streets remained the same or improved slightly.

Design enhancements have helped reduce city traffic fatalities to their lowest levels in a century as part of our Vision Zero initiative, while traffic deaths are up nationally. The city’s population, jobs, tourism, and cruising for-hire vehicles have skyrocketed, adding to congestion. Stupp calls London’s congestion pricing a “failed system,” not recognizing that less congestion there reduced road fatalities. We believe it can do the same here.

The governor and mayor have made a compelling case for congestion pricing, which is far from being “patently unfair.” It is a proven, effective and equitable path out of an unsustainable status quo.

Michael Replogle, Manhattan

Editor’s note: The writer is deputy commissioner for policy for the city Department of Transportation.

Congestion pricing is a powerful policy tool to reduce unnecessary driving, promote environmentally sound transportation, and finance 21st century improvements to our aging transportation infrastructure [“Keep New York moving,” Editorial, March 3]. Congestion pricing has proven effective in many cities around the world.

William Vickrey, a co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for economics, proposed it in the 1950s for New York City. Congestion pricing passed in the City Council in 2008 and had an unprecedented coalition of supporters, but was not approved by the New York State Legislature. Congestion pricing remains one of the only options on the table to ease New York City’s twin ills of traffic congestion and under-funded public transit. Now is the time.

James T. Rooney, Centerport

Reflections on college bribery scandal

People have paid colleges forever to get their kids in, but it’s normally with a large donation, which while unfair, is not illegal [“College admissions scandal,” News, March 13].

I hope those who have complained about affirmative action will speak up now against this bribery scandal. Affirmative action is a noble act, with the intention of giving underprivileged children a chance to escape poverty and manual labor. The positive results benefit us all.

Yes, some kids may lose a place, and that’s regrettable, but in our country, our goal is to help those who work hard but still need assistance. We are not supposed to continue a system in which these people never get the opportunity to rise above their upbringing, which is of no fault of their own.

The courts need to come down hard on all involved in the scandal, and not show leniency because of status.

Robert Broder, Stony Brook

I was furious to read about movie stars allegedly making payoffs to get their children into elite colleges. Many people have seen their own children struggle for admittance to certain colleges, only to be denied. I hope those who got in without merit are denied full matriculation.

Beth Pruzan, Huntington

A lot of people in the world of alternative education, which comprises schools and organizations that build on the interests of the learner, rather than a curriculum-centered approach, are scratching their heads about the college bribery scandal.

We are fed up with simplistic tests that high school students are pushed to take to get into college. Many colleges have found that these tests are not good predictors of success, and more than 1,000 have made the SAT or ACT optional for applicants. Many of these barriers have been broken down by home-schoolers and alternative-school graduates who send colleges portfolios of actual work.

Also, many parents and students from alternative approaches are not so interested in elite colleges, whose traditional methods are out of date. These students are more interested in higher education alternatives that have more individualized and innovative approaches, such as Goddard College in Vermont, with its low-residency program, and Antioch College in Ohio, a pioneer in work experience education.

Jerry Mintz, Roslyn Heights

Editor’s note: The writer is director of the Alternative Education Resource Organization, a nonprofit network.

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