347 Madison Av
Dear Mr Dolny:
We spoke after the Planning Committee meeting on July 9. I enjoy your forthrightness and foresight, so I write to reaffirm the following. The best interests of the MTA and the region will be brought to the forefront if Metro- North takes a firm stance rejecting the HOV lanes on I-287.
The Benefit/Cost Ratios for the cross-Westchester rail link were calculated with the HOV lanes in place. The Benefit/Cost Ratio will be significantly better if the lanes are not built. Such improvements can arise in three ways: larger ridership, lower cost of building in the highway median and greater benefits of reduced pollution and congestion due to fewer automobiles on the road. Metro-North has not tested the cost-effectiveness of the cross- Westchester rail link without the HOV lanes. Mr Dolny, I encourage you to have Metro-North evaluate a Benefit/Cost scenario without the HOV lanes.
In our conversation about the board report, I mentioned Metro-North planners' false assertion that HOV lanes will build long term ridership for an East-West rail line. You replied the assertion was made by NYS DOT engineers, Metro- North engineers are only sitting in on the HOV lane process. Metro-North is rolling over for the DOT by repeating the assertion.
Relieving congestion by widening highways is like trying to kill ants by pouring honey on them. At first, the honey smothers some ants, but in the long term, other ants thrive off the sweet delight. NYS DOT is similar to an alcoholic who is willing to say anything to get their next drink. "HOV lanes will reduce congestion... and... they'll increase transit use. Well... we know it's impossible to build our way out of congestion... but... this will be the last time we'll do it... honest."
Acquiescence on the subject of highway widening will hurt us. The $600 million for the HOV lanes should instead be the down payment for the rail line. Without HOV lanes, the rail project will happen much sooner and be much more effective.
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Last updated: 4 April 1999