page provides ongoing updates on NNYN's free transit study,
including press coverage, back to March 2007. For information
on the original announcement of the study, click
here. For information on the initial public response,
Mar. 13, 2009 Newsday published an Op Ed by Ted Kheel and Charles Komanoff entitled "MTA Rescue Must be Effective and Equitable."
Mar. 10, 2009 Streetsblog carried an article by Charles Komanoff
entitled "Beyond Ravitch: Still Time for a Bolder Plan", on the
advantages of the Kheel-Komanoff plan over the alternatives pending in Albany.
Feb. 29-Mar. 6, 2009 The Downtown Express, in discussing Sheldon Silver's advocacy of a $2 toll to help reduce the MTA budget deficit, quotes Charles Komanoff's statement that "The 'equation' of a bridge toll to a subway fare ought to be disturbing to any fair-minded New Yorker. ...For one thing, there's no 'fare-pooling' equivalent to car-pooling... For another, the congestion cost of each additional car trip into Manhattan is on the order of $30..., whereas the same for a subway ride is measured in pennies. Silver's equation flunks any moral algebra."
Feb. 27, 2009 In an AMNY article called "Step in the Right Direction" Ellis Hennican suggested that the next step for the city should be to reintroduce the concept of congestion pricing into transit thinking, as urged by transportation expert Charles Komanoff and long time transit advocate Ted Kheel.
Feb. 26, 2009 John Tierney, columnist for the New York Times Science section, relied on the Balanced Transportation Analyzer (“BTA”) to analyze the motor vehicle impact of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to close off parts of the city to traffic. The article, entitled “Will a Car-Free Broadway Work,” quotes Charles Komanoff’s description of the BTA as “the first transparent and publicly available tool to gauge the varying impacts of changing the transportation options in a city with a dense central core, like New York.”
Feb 9, 2009 The Gotham Gazette posted an article by Charles Komanoff entitled "Free Buses, Cheaper Subways -- and a Solution to New York's Traffic".
Jan. 9, 2009 Streetsblog editor Ben Fried posted an article on the “New Low-Cost Transit Plan From Team Kheel-Komanoff.”
Jan. 7, 2009 The blog Grist, with a national readership, posted a story entitled “The freedom fee: The Kheel-Komanoff Plan: A congestion toll to liberate New York,” where Charles Komanoff describes a revenue-neutral fare-reduction/tolling plan.
Dec. 31, 2008 In its best of the year awards, the widely-read Streetsblog announced: “Best Out-of-the-Box Transportation Policy Thinking: With regrets to Councilman Lew Fidler and his 9 CARAT STONE Plan, we're going to have to give the award to Charles Komanoff for the Kheel Plan and his Balanced Transportation Analyzer.”
Dec. 26, 2008-Jan. 1, 2009 An editorial entitled “Better M.T.A. fixes,” carried in the weekly Downtown Express, stated “Another idea worth discussing comes from Ted Kheel, the well-respected retired labor mediator who wants very high traffic pricing fees to pay for lower and free transit fares depending on the time of day. Many dismiss this as fantasy, but Kathryn Wylde, who represents the city’s largest corporations, says it is easier to sell than the idea on the table.”
Dec. 16, 2008 Ted Kheel and Charles Komanoff testified before the New York City Council regarding the merits of the new Kheel Plan as an alternative to the Ravitch plan for funding the MTA. Their testimony can be accessed here and here.
Dec.12-18, 2008 The weekly Downtown Express carried an article on the Kheel plan alternative entitled “Fare hikes? How about free buses instead, plan asks.”
December 10, 2008 Doug Henwood interviewed economist Charles Komanoff about Kheel Plan II in "Behind The News," an economics show on WBAI-FM, on 99.5 FM. The interview can be accessed here about 10 minutes into the show.
Dec. 10, 2008 Streetsblog carried an article on Kheel’s alternative to the Ravitch plan entitled: "Kheel Plan 2 Seeks to Plug MTA Budget Gap". Streetsblog editor Ben Fried followed up the same day with a comprehensive interview about the plan with Kheel team economist Charles Komanoff.
Dec. 10, 2008 Ted Kheel sent a letters to Governor Paterson, one to Assembly Speaker Silver, and one to State Senator Malcolm Smith explaining his alternative plan to address the MTA budget crisis.
Dec. 10, 2008 Ted Kheel released an alternative to the Ravitch Plan that generates over $1 billion in annual revenue for the MTA while helping to recapture billions of dollars for the local economy, reduce congestion, and bring free transit to all New Yorkers. For a summary of the plan, click` here. For the press release, press here. To access the improved Balanced Transportation Analyzer, the analytic model that underlies the plan, click here.
Dec. 4, 2008 The New York Times City Room blog, in an article entitled "Reaction to Ravitch's M.T.A. Report" by William Neuman and Sewell Chan, reported Ted Kheel's position that "the proposed plan misses a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make meaningful, long-term change in our regional transportation system. Taxes and fare hikes, whether now or in the future, are 100% avoidable."
Nov. 21, 2008 In an article entitled “Kheel Planners: MTA Austerity a Recipe for Gridlock Hell”, Streetsblog reported on the impact the MTA’s proposed fare hike and service cuts would have on congestion, according to the latest research by the Kheel plan team.
Nov. 20, 2008: The New York Times, in a City Room blog by transit reporters William Neumann and Sewell Chan, reported that Ted Kheel blasted the MTA’s proposed 23 percent fare and toll increase as “a ticking time bomb that will explode in our vital but vulnerable transit system and damage the city’s and region’s economy.” The article also reported that the proposed increase will “drive 30,000 more cars into the city’s most congested streets, cause a 6 percent drop in subway ridership and a 4 percent drop in bus ridership, and reduce traffic speeds by 4 percent.”
September 16, 2008: Kheel's Open letter was noted in an article by the New York Sun.
September 15, 2008: Ted Kheel issued an Open Letter to the Ravitch Commission on the benefits of free transit and the relation between free transit and the funding issues facing the MTA.
Sept. 1-3, 2008 At the Fourteenth International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment in Malta, Jane Ann Williams, director of education and training for multicultural affairs at Virginia Tech, presented a paper on balancing congestion pricing and free transit that was inspired by the Kheel Plan. The presentation sparked interest among urban planners abroad in assessing the model for use in their own nations/cities. Thus, in Spain, where the City of Madrid Planning Council is exploring approaches to reduce congestion, the lead research council member will make a presentation based on the Kheel Plan. Similarly, in New Zealand, an official in the National Office Performance Monitoring Manager NZ Transport Agency plans to
assess the Kheel Plan for use in New Zealand.
July 23, 2008: In an article entitled "Give Mike Bloomberg the trains, too" in New York Daily News Opinions, Errol Louis recommended that "New York also should give serious consideration to a proposal by lawyer Theodore Kheel that would substantially boost parking, taxi and driving charges in Manhattan - and use the money to make the entire subway system free."
July 3, 2008: An article by Charles Komanoff appeared in Streetsblog
entitled "High Gas Prices Won't Cure Gridlock"
June 27, 2008 The New York Observer published an article entitled
"Transportation Advocates Agree: The M.T.A. Is in 'Deep Doo-Doo" which quoted Kheel's views on the politics of congestion pricing as follows: "The promotion, I thought, was in the wrong order. If you start out with free transit, you start out with something people would welcome."
June 26, 2008 Ted Kheel joined a panel on "Traffic Congestion and the Future of Mass Transit," which was moderated by Assemblyman Mike Kellner and included Jeff Zupan of the Regional Plan Association and Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.
June 26, 2008 Ted Kheel spoke to the New York City Transit Riders Council about free transit and his history of working for transit reform.
June 24, 2008 Ted Kheel is quoted in an article in the Observer on transit financing entitled "Next Stop: Trouble". The article quotes Kheel as calling on the Port Authority, with its great revenue-raising capacity, to spend more of its money on regional transportation projects. According to Kheel, "That agency is the ideal agency to come to grips with this problem of congestion."
June 13, 2008 The Sierra Club took note of the Kheel Plan in an article entitled "Pains, Trains, And Automobiles" published the Club's newsletter, "The Green Life".
June 3, 2008 Charles Komanoff gave a special presentation for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) entitled "A New Transportation Analysis Tool" where he discussed the Balanced Transportation Analyzer, or BTA developed for the Kheel Plan.
June 2, 2008 Streetsblog posted an article entitled "'Kheel
Plan II' to Revive Free Transit Proposal for '09 Races".
May 28, 2008 Author Bill McKibben, taking inspiration from
the Kheel plan, publishes an article in Plenty Magazine entitled "Bill
McKibben Tackles the Congestion Pricing Issue by Offering
an Unexpected Alternative: Free Public Transit for All."
May 22, 2008 Garett Sloane, amNewYork's Business Editor, published
an interview with NNYN President Ted Kheel.
April 2008 The Bus Riders Union of Austin, Texas published "A Proposal
for Free Public Transit and Improved System Efficiency in
Austin, Texas." The authors wrote that the Kheel
Report as well as the Balanced
Transportation Analyzer helped them in their analysis,
and also served as a source of inspiration.
April 21, 2008 Streetsblog posted an article entitled "Kheel
to Push Free Transit Pricing Plan in '09 Mayoral Race".
April 21, 2008 The Daily News blog posted an article entitled "Kheel
Plans To Put His Money Where His Mouth Is In '09".
April 10, 2008 Ted Kheel issued
a statement announcing his plans for continuing the fight
for a more balanced transportation system, which include a
grant of $170,000 to expand the Balanced
Transportation Analyzer, an analytic tool that forms the
basis for the Kheel plan for free transit.
March 27, 2008 Charles Komanoff gave a talk entitled "Beyond
Congestion Pricing: The Kheel Plan for Free Transit" to
the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association.
March 10, 2008 Charles
Komanoff spoke about the Kheel Plan to a gathering at
Solar 1, the Green Energy Arts and Education Center in New
March 13, 2008 The Riverdale Press published Charles
Komanoff's reply to its March 6 Editorial comment on the
March 6, 2008 The Riverdale Press published an Editorial comment
there such a thing as a free ride?" discussing the free
transit plan of long time Riverdale resident Ted Kheel.
February 20, 2008 The New York Press published an article
LAST JAM: 93-year-old Theodore Kheel wants to make mass transit
February 13, 2008 The Tri-State Transportation Campaign posted
an article entitled "Kheel
Plan's Powerful Ideas Won't Fade From Public View".
February 12, 2008 An Op Ed by Ted Kheel appeared in City Hall
News entitled "Free
Mass Transit for Only a $16 Fee."
February 11, 2008 An online environmental publication called
Grist posted an article entitled "A
Climate for Old Men: Spearheading Traffic for Livable Cities
at 93," by Charles Komanoff.
February 10, 2008 In a debate
hosted by Gabe Pressman on NBC, Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership
for New York City said that the Kheel plan for free transit "is an ideal scenario" and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky commented
that "He's done something interesting and important. [Kheel's]
reminded us that maybe the way to change behavior is to incentivize
January 31, 2008 The New York Traffic Congestion Mitigation
Commission issued its final
recommendation on a congestion pricing plan. The Commission
recommended an $8 fee for automobiles to drive into Manhattan
south of 60th Street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
January 31, 2008: The Downtown Express published an Op Ed
by Charles Komanoff, lead researcher on the free transit report,
about free subways to go with that traffic pricing?"
January 31, 2008: Andrew Revkin of the New York Times published
an article and accompanying video on Dot Earth entitled "Managing
Traffic in the Urban Age," which discusses the traffic
woes of urban areas and potential solutions, including the
free transit plan of Ted Kheel.
January 27, 2008 Newsday carried an article on the free transit
plan entitled "City
Drivers? Make 'em Pay."
January 24, 2008 NY 1 reporter Bobby Cuza did a story on the
release of the final free report. To view his coverage, and
read the text, click
January 24, 2008 A front page story on the free transit report
appeared in the New York edition of the free daily newspaper Metro.
January 24, 2008 Charles Komanoff, lead author of the free
transit report, shared some thoughts on the report with key
policymakers. To read his message, click
January 24, 2008 The final report, "A
Bolder Plan, Balancing Free Transit and Congestion Pricing
in New York City," was released.
January 17, 2008: George Haikalis testified regarding the
implications of the free transit proposal at an MTA hearing
on increasing the transit fare. To read his statement, click
January 16, 2008 Ted Kheel testified regarding NNYN's study
on free transit at a public hearing of the New York City Traffic
Congestion Mitigation Commission regarding its interim report.
To read his statement, click
Jan. 11, 2008: WorldChanging posted an article entitled "Free
Transit for All" discussing Kheel's free transit proposal.
Jan. 10, 2008: The Daily News published an Op Ed by Ted Kheel
tame traffic, make subways & buses free - yes, free."
Jan. 10, 2008: Another Quinnipiac
poll found that New Yorker voters are in favor of congestion
pricing by a 60- 37 margin if the money is used to help transit.
Jan. 7, 2008: The Gothamist published an interview entitled "Ted
Kheel, Founder of the Nurture Nature Foundation," where
Kheel discussed NNYN's free transit study.
Dec. 20, 2007: Charles Komanoff, research director and lead
modeler of the free transit report, discussed the report in
a 20-minute interview on WBAI. The interview can be accessed here.
Note that the interview begins about eight minutes in, after
some introductory material.
Dec. 20, 2007 Ted Kheel and George Haikalis appeared on NY
1's half hour feature "Inside City Hall." A clip
from the interview may be viewed here.
Dec. 19, 2007: Marcia Kramer interviewed Kheel for WCBS news.
The story, called "Imagine This: Riding Buses & Subways
For Free-- One Man's Plan Would Raise $4 Billion For Mass
Transit," may be read and viewed here.
Dec. 18, 2007: Streetsblog published a story on "Kheel
Plan: Double the Congestion Charge & Make Transit Free."
December 18, 2007: New York Magazine published an article
entitled "Fare Enough" on Ted Kheel's
free transit proposal.
December 17, 2007: Ted Kheel mailed a letter to each of the
22 members of the MTA's board urging them to consider a Mini-Report of the free transit research team. The text of the letter,
with enclosures, may be viewed here.
December 14, 2007: Ted Kheel mailed a letter to each of the
17 members of the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission
urging them to consider a Mini-Report of the free transit
research team. The text of the letter, with enclosures, may
be viewed here.
Dec. 11, 2007: The Observer published an article entitled "Ted Kheel: Make Subways and Buses
December 10, 2007: Majora Carter, Executive Director of the
Sustainable South Bronx, commented on a preliminary report
of the free transit research team that this was worthy of
exploration, and that Sustainable South Bronx welcomes efforts
to rethink the way transit is paid for in order to make it
more affordable and accessible to underserved communities.
A copy of the statement is available here.
November 19, 2007: Another Quinnipiac
Poll showed that New York City voters would support congestion
pricing by a 53-41 margin if it "prevents a hike in mass transit
fares." The new poll also showed that a majority of voters
would oppose the idea of congestion pricing when not paired
with fare relief.
30, 2007: A Quinnipiac Poll was
released showing that 57% of the voters polled would support
congestion pricing if the money were used to prevent an increase
in mass transit fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.
14, 2007: The Secretary of Transportation announced that the
federal government will provide $354 million to implement
congestion pricing in New York City, if the State Legislature
acts by March 2008 to put in effect a congestion pricing plan
in Manhattan. Click here
July, 2007 An article by NNYN's consultant George Haikailis,
entitled "The Best Things in Life
are Free: So Why not Public Transit in NYC" was published
on the inside front cover of Transportation Alternatives,
the official magazine of a transportation advocacy organization
with nearly 5,000 members.
July 26, 2007 The Alternet posted an article entitled "Fare-Free
Public Transit Could Be Headed to a City Near You" (adapted
from a five-part
series noted above), which generated a lively online discussion
of the free transit issue.
July 9-16, 2007: Citing Bloomberg's position that free mass
transit is good public policy, the Tyee, an independent online
pub in British Columbia, published a series of articles with
information supporting free mass transit, which includes among
other thing a list of cities that have adopted some form of
it. See articles at:
here for the first article
here for the second article
here for the third article
here for the fourth article
here for the fifth article
here for the sixth article
June 28, 2007, the New York Sun published an additional
article following up on the study and NY1 news carried
story on it.
June 26, 2007, George Haikalis presented a progress report
summarizing some preliminary results of the Price Matters
Study at the Auto-Free New York meeting (see www.auto-free.org).
To view the information presented in that progress report,
June 11, 2007: Gabe Pressman commented on Ted Kheel's free
transit proposal in "Gabe's
View: Free Subways and Buses."
June 8, 2007: At a hearing of the New York State Assembly
on the Mayor's sustainability plan, IRUM submitted comments
regarding the need for reduced or free fares. For the full
June 7, 2007: Legislation
was introduced in the NY State Senate to help implement congestion
pricing. That day, Mayor Bloomberg also recognized the relationship
of mass transit pricing and congestion pricing, observing
that congestion pricing could help the MTA avoid fare increases.
The Mayor's comments followed an analysis by the city showing
that transit fares could go as high as $3 over the next three
years. For additional details on the Mayor's statement,
May 28-June 1: George Haikalis of The Institute for Rational
Mobility (IRUM) traveled to San Francisco to find out more
about the free transit study being conducted there. For a
report on his findings, click
May 16, 2007: NNYN joined the Campaign
for New York's Future, a coalition of civic, business,
environmental, labor, community and public health organizations
that support the goals and strategic direction of PlaNYC.
April 23, 2007: Mayor Bloomberg released PlaNYC2030, strongly
endorsing congestion pricing, a concept that he had rejected
as impractical a few months earlier. For details on the transportation
component of the Mayor's plan, click
here. Although it is a bold and exciting initiative, and
provides for various mass transit improvements, the Mayor's
plan omits mention of any fare relief for mass transit passengers.
April 20, 2007: In an interview with WABC, Mayor Bloomberg explained: “If you were to design the ultimate system, you would have mass transit be free and charge an enormous amount for cars.”
April 11, 2007: NNYN produced an 84 page brochure entitled
"The Road Not Taken" that was distributed at a panel discussion
at the Museum of the City of New York on Robert Moses and
Transportation. To read Kheel's introduction to the brochure,
which explains its relevance to NNYN's free mass transit proposal
and the current transit situation in New York, click
April 1, 2007: The New York Times published an Op Ed article
entitled "Bridge and Tunnel Vision" by Ted Kheel regarding
the Robert Moses exhibits and traffic in New York City. In
it, Kheel reiterated support for both free mass transit and
congestion pricing, explaining that revenues generated by
congestion pricing could subsidize the fare. To
read the article, click here.
March 1, 2007: IRUM's President, George Haikalis, provided
testimony to the New York City Council Transportation Committee
on the need to consider reducing or eliminating entirely the
fares charged for transit service. To
read the testimony, click here.
developments and press coverage in the weeks immediately following
announcement of NNYN's free transit study, click
information on free transit, click