Thursday’s Headlines: ‘Defund Transit’ Caucus Edition

The two-person "Defund Transit Caucus." Photo: Office of U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer
The two-person "Defund Transit Caucus." Photo: Office of U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer

Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) drove into Midtown Manhattan for free on Wednesday to announce the formation of an “Anti-Congestion Tax Caucus” in Congress to advocate against congestion pricing — and showcase their truly awful records behind the wheel.

Malliotakis scrambled away from the presser into the backseat of a Cadillac SUV — parked in a pedestrian zone — with 25 speeding tickets on its record in the last three years alone, including 11 such violations in the 12-month period between January 2022 and January 2023.

The car’s many infractions, dating back to 2013, occurred mostly in the vicinity of Malliotakis’s district, according to public data — and included nine red light ticket violations, several parking tickets, and a whopping 36 (!) speeding tickets over that decade-long period.

Malliotakis and Gottheimer — the “Defund Transit Caucus,” in the words of Riders Alliance’s Danny Pearlstein — claim to want a full “environmental impact statement” from the MTA before it implements the tolls, which will fund a huge chunk of the authority’s capital needs.

The MTA, however, can only wait so long for the money before it starts to delay sorely needed maintenance and modernization, according to transit officials. Gottheimer’s rep stems from his leadership of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, but he’s going out of his way to create problems for millions of New York City commuters, including many of his constituents.

“Yesterday it was reported that New York City has the most traffic congestion of any city across the United States, and incredibly today, we have members of Congress driving into midtown Manhattan trying to make sure those traffic problems remain,” MTA spokesman John McCarthy said in a statement to the Staten Island Advance tearing into the two members of Congress.

“The bottom line is reducing car and truck traffic is good for the environment, good for getting fire trucks, buses and delivery vehicles through the city, and good for the 90 percent of people who depend on mass transit.”

The Daily News and Gothamist also covered the rally.

In other news:

  • Keechant Sewell wants a “well-lit parking lot” at every NYPD precinct house in the city … Unclear if she’s going to just shine bright lights on the sidewalk. (NY Post)
  • Meanwhile, the city agreed to pay $75,000 to a protester rammed by an NYPD car during the 2020 anti-cop protests. No officers have received discipline related to the incident. (Gothamist)
  • Mayor Adams wants to make the city’s notoriously slow and inefficient Department of Design and Construction a state authority. (Gothamist)
  • No federal help for migrant in-take means more strain on NYC’s budget. (NY Post)
  • Assembly Member Inez Dickens has slightly out-raised Council Member Kristen Richardson Jordan in her bid to oust the Harlem incumbent later this year. (Patch)
  • Brooklyn neighbors reacted to a shooting on the B44 in Prospect Lefferts Gardens (ABC7 NY)
  • The Times and Daily News covered Albany’s proposed residential parking permit program for New York City, as did Streetsblog.
  • … While state Sen. Mike Gianaris appeared on NY1 to defend the proposal: “There’s a lot of neighborhoods, like my own, where people from elsewhere come, drop their cars off in the morning and hop the subway to get a quick ride into Manhattan,” Gianaris said.
  • Amtrak service between New York and Montreal is coming back next month. (NBC New York)
  • Thomas Edsall sounds the alarm on the state of American cities. (NYT)