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Lawmakers press agencies on Vision Zero costs
City transportation agencies testified Thursday that they are implementing Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero street safety agenda, but had zero figures on how much it will cost.
A Taxi & Limousine Commission official had no price tag on the ambitious proposals to make cabs safer using speed-limiting and data recording technologies.
The TLC's operations chief, Conan Freud, said the agency is working with the city's Office of Management and Budget on devising a cost, though he said "some of the things that were proposed in the Vision Zero plan don't require any dollars," like public service announcements and better driving instruction.
Freud noted that money is already budgeted for more inspectors to pull unlicensed, phony cab drivers off the road, bringing in 60 more this June, for a total of 240. Last year, the city siezed 9,600 unlicensed vehicles.
The Department of Transportation, tasked with completing 50 street safety projects a year is also working with the city budget office on Vision Zero costs. In the meantime, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said "Vision Zero is already underway" at her agency, which will start doing town halls and workshops to identify projects.
The MTA, meanhwile, was asked about its safety agenda for pedestrians and riders. New York City Transit's Lois Tendler said NYCT president Carmen Bianco and Trottenberg had met about Vision Zero.
"Both are cognizant of the fact that the MTA has to be part of the discussion," Tendler said.
Tendler noted that technology to detect objects or people on tracks is being tested and a consultant will be hired to pilot platform doors. MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz later added that bus drivers attend annual safety refresher courses and NYCT's Office of System Safety investigates subway and bus fatalities with a goal toward preventing another incident.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the transportation committee chair, said he wanted the MTA to come up with its own Vision Zero proposal for the transit system.
"I'm not sure we would call it Vision Zero," Tendler said, "but we're certainly going for the same goal."