Mayor Adams appoints TWU’s John Samuelsen to board reviewing NYC’s congestion pricing

Aug. 2, 2022
Samuelsen will join MTA’s five appointees on the board that will make recommendations for the Central Business District Tolling Program to the MTA Board for consideration.

International President of Transport Workers Union (TWU) of America John Samuelsen has been nominated to the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said the TMRB had been empaneled with its five appointees. The TMRB will be chaired by Carl Weisbrod, who will be joined by John H. Banks, president emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York, Scott Rechler, chair of the Regional Plan Association, Elizabeth Velez, president and principal of the Velez Organization and Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City.

The TMRB will recommend toll rates, credits, discounts or exemptions for the Central Business District Tolling Program, also referred to as congestion pricing. The program would levy a toll from vehicles that enter or stay in the city’s Central Business District with revenues funding transit improvements.

In an update on its appointees to the TMRB, it noted all have experience in public finance, transportation, mass transit or management, a statement that holds true with Samuelsen’s appointment, as well.

While he has served as international president of TWU since 2017, he started on a track gang at New York City Transit Authority in 1993. He served as chair of the Track Safety Committee and chair of the Track Division, as well as acting vice president of the Maintenance of Way Department. His career has been spent focused on keeping track workers safe and he authored the Comprehensive Track Safety bill that was passed by the state’s legislature.

He was elected president of TWU Local 100 in December 2009 and reelected in 2012 and 2015 before moving up to his current position.

“John Samuelsen is a champion of safe, reliable public transit, and he shares my commitment to getting congestion pricing done so we can invest in mass transit and reduce traffic,” said Mayor Adams. “I am encouraged to see this process moving forward and my administration will continue to work closely with our partners at the MTA, in Albany, and in Washington, D.C., to get this done for all New Yorkers.”

“My appointment to the TMRB is an historic recognition by Mayor Adams of the importance of MTA workers as the second biggest stakeholder in our nation’s largest transportation system,” said Samuelson. “Workers will now have a voice in the implementation of this important plan.”

Congestion pricing must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration to move forward. Last week, MTA said it anticipates releasing the Environmental Assessment for the program around Aug. 10. Following the Environmental Assessment, public feedback will be gathered throughout August.

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