May 31, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, hello, everyone. Sorry for the weather, we were all hoping to be outside, but at least for some of you, you went with us to see these new spaces. I want to start at the beginning and tell you what these signs really are going to mean for New Yorkers.
So look, if you live in any neighborhood of this city you deal with the reality of congestion. I want to make that really clear from the beginning. Some people I think harbor the assumption that congestion is just a Midtown, Manhattan problem. No, congestion is a New York City problem. Pollution is a New York City problem. These are things that we have to address every day, every way we can.
It’s about protecting our city and our people in so many different ways. We have to protect our environment, and our health. We have to make sure people can get around. We have to make sure that New Yorkers have more options for getting around. Right now the status quo isn’t acceptable. So our job is to create more and better options for New Yorkers to get around. And that’s why this announcement to me is very exciting, because for so many New Yorkers there is tremendous frustration when it comes to owning a car. And I experienced it myself, and I’ve talked to countless neighbors but also the people all over the city. When you own a car in this city you got a whole set of challenges that come with it. Obviously, the cost of insurance, fuel, repairs, but particularly the challenge of parking in New York City. There are just too many cars here. And to make matters worse, we’re growing, population is growing, number of jobs is growing, number of tourists is growing, everything is growing. I am thrilled we’re growing, there’s a lot of good things that come with that but there is also going to be even greater challenges in terms of addressing congestion.
So, we have to give people new options. We have to give people another way to get around. And if people only sometimes really need a car, let’s make it easier for them to get the car only when they need. And not have to pay all those other costs all year long for something they don’t need a lot of time, and certainly to get cars off the streets out of parking spaces. There is a lot of people who have their car in a parking space all week long and only use it really on the weekend. That’s not an optimal situation. So what we want to do is make it easier for people who only need a car a small amount of the time to have a great new option. And this is where this new initiative comes in. I think there is tremendous potential here. And I’ll just speak to some of the key points, and Commissioner Trottenberg will go into more of the details. But I am very excited about this because I am think it’s going to open up a whole new world of possibilities for eight million New Yorkers. Now, this is consistent with efforts we’ve made previously. And I want to thank all of the different leaders in this administration and all the agencies and all our partners – non-profit partners, private sector partners who have helped us to expand the number of options. Clearly that has happened with Citi Bike, it has happened with NYC Ferry. In a public sector way it’s happening with select bus service. These are all in the same vein - giving new options to New Yorkers making it easier for them to get around.
I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of that. And I want to offer some particular appreciation today to our partners in this initiative around car sharing. I want to thank and they’re here with us – Paul Metz the CarShare group manager for Enterprise and Justin Holmes the director for of corporate communications and public policy for Zipcar. Thank you both for being here, and thank you for the great service that you’re providing to New Yorkers. Also, this as I mentioned is very important to our overall efforts to create sustainability, to protect our environment, to have a city that is more and more built for the future – for a sustainable future. So I want to thank the person who I rely on to help us do that kind of planning, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Mark Chambers. And another important feature, because we believe in making opportunities like this available to a wide range of New Yorkers regardless of income. There is a great partnership here with these two companies and the New York City Housing Authority to make sure that housing authority residents have opportunity to take advantage of this service. I want to thank from the housing authority we have Executive Vice President for External Affairs Dave Pristin, I want to thank you for being with us as well. So, put this in the same vein. You’ve got Citi Bike, you’ve got NYC Ferry, you’ve got select bus service, now car sharing all pointed in the same direction. And it’s a really simple idea. You go online, you reserve a car, you go to where the car is, you unlock it, you drive away, couldn’t be simpler. It’s simple, it’s convenient, it allows people to get a car they need quickly and easily. It’s a lot less complex than traditional car rental systems are.
So in partnering with these two companies – this is something we’re going to start right away. So the partnership with Zipcar and with Enterprise literally begins Monday, this coming Monday more than 300 dedicated parking spots will be available around New York City. 24 of them in lots in the public housing developments and in addition, I mentioned for public housing developments I want to make these available and a good option. NYCHA residents will have the ability to join these car sharing services for free. The membership fee will be waived, and they will get discount rates. Also, for IDNYC holders they will get a one year free membership with Zipcar.
So, these are really great benefits. Also, in the category of news you can use, I want people to understand how affordable these services can be.
So, they start at $8 an hour and at $69 a day to rent these vehicles. And I can say as – from the early years of parenthood when Chirlane and I needed to, before we had a car, when we needed to do something with Chiara, our only choice was to call a car service and the car services were great but $8, you know $8 was for a ten-minute ride. You’re talking about here $8 for an hour, again, $69 for a day. This is a very affordable service for a lot of New Yorkers.
Again, the idea is you wouldn’t need a car that you have every day, all year round for when you only need to use it a few days a week or a few times during the week. It really makes sense. And here’s some of the example of what it could mean for the city going forward.
Every New Yorker – I guarantee you this, if you said to New Yorkers, what if we had a plan to get a lot of cars off the roads and off the streets and open up a lot more parking spaces, would you like that idea?
I bet you, you would get close to a universal yes. Here’s what studies have shown. For each shared car available, a city can take up to 20 cars off the road. Think about that. Twenty cars that will not be purchased or will no longer be necessary because the shared service is available.
Think about where that could lead us in terms of clearing up congestion, in terms of making more parking spaces available in the long term. So, this is very exciting and years from now if this goes well, I see tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers using this service and not needing to have a car and that making this a much better city.
I want to say just a few words in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that I want to turn to someone who is equally excited, our Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg.
Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I am excited and thank you for your enthusiasm. You have long been interested, I know, in seeing if the City could find a way to come up with an alternative that would enable people, perhaps, to give up owning cars but give them a practical and affordable way to use a car when they needed one. And we’re here with our leader from the Council – Council member Levine, who championed this legislation; Chairman Rodriguez; Borough President Brewer; my colleague from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; and our private sector colleagues, Justin Holmes and Paul Metz. It’s great to have you all here. We are excited about this partnership.
Under the legislation that Council member Levine got passed we are now going to be opening up 285 parking spaces across the four boroughs, 230 on street – and some of you saw today the Mayor stood at where those spaces will be here up on the Upper West Side – and another 55 spots in DOT municipal lots as well as the 24 NYCHA spots.
The pilot will really, we think, serve potentially two kinds of neighborhoods – one the Mayor sort of mentioned, a neighborhood where people are not using their cars to commute to work every day, they’re just using them occasionally on weekends but they’re keeping the car in the neighborhood, it’s very expensive, it’s very inconvenient. They’re very much a group that potentially could just benefit tremendously from Zipcar. And then in another neighborhoods, for example, like the Rockaways where there are fewer transit options, people perhaps don’t want to have the expense of owning a car but they need, from time to time, to have access to one.
Studies have shown that owning a car in New York City right now is about $9,000 a year with car payments, insurance, maintenance, as well as the hassles of parking, potential tickets, all the inconveniences of owning a car here.
So, these car sharing models give people potentially a chance to save dramatic amounts of money – just to put some math to what the Mayor said. The car-share prices can range from $8 to $15, $70 to $121 per day. So if you used a car, let’s say, four hours a week twice a month to run errands or visit family outside the city, you could be spending in the ballpark of about $1,500 a year as opposed to the $9,000 for owning a car full-time.
So that can be a real dramatic savings. And as the Mayor said, research has shown – and we’ve looked at a bunch of studies over the course of years – that in the long run car-share can induce people to give up cars. That eases congestion, tackles air quality problems, and we hope will really actually ease the competition for parking at the curb.
So, for those of you who saw today, we’ve put up specific signage at the curb and car-share companies will be parking their cars in those spaces. We’ve worked with local community stakeholders, community boards, elected officials to pick the areas. We went with a coalition of the will in neighborhoods that were very interested in doing this. And we will be doing a big effort of public outreach, social media, etcetera to make sure local residents are aware of the pilot.
This is going to be a two-year pilot. We will be evaluating as we go. We will be seeing how the cars are being used, talking to our private sector partners and of course obviously surveying the users and seeing if they’re liking the service and it’s working as well as it should be. And then over the course of the pilot, we’ll see if we’re interested in expanding or what steps we might take next.
I think, as the Mayor said, if the pilot goes well this has real potential to offer New Yorkers a much more affordable way to have access to a car when they need it. I just want to give a thanks particularly to a couple members of my team – Alex Keating and Laura MacNeil who did a lot of the yeoman’s work of putting this together, William Lee and Tony Galgan from our borough engineering shop as well.
So, thank you, Mr. Mayor. We are excited.
Mayor: Thank you very much, Polly. Now I want to you to hear from some of the elected officials and I know Borough President Gale Brewer understands what her constituents go through all time when they need options to get around. And she has strong views on this matter. Borough President Brewer –
Mayor: Okay let’s take questions on this announcement and then we will go to other topics. Yes, back there.
Question: The ZipCar discount for NYCHA residents – is this a first year discount for everything or are you ensuring that people are going to be able to afford this program in the long term?
Commissioner Trottenberg: I think right now, and I’ll look to our private – I think we are doing it as a one year offer. I think we will probably evaluate how it goes and what the uptake is. And it’s a not having to pay the membership fee and then a discounted hourly rate as well.
Question: I wanted to ask for you to clarify one of the specific values you are going to be gauging during the pilot to determine whether or not it’s a success and how are going to ensure that people aren’t parking their private vehicles in these lots. Obviously there is going to be towing and things like that. But we see all around the city where people are not obeying parking rules and they are getting away with it without tickets or anything like that.
Mayor: I’m not, I just want to before turning to the Commissioner – I’m not sure most New Yorkers would say there are disobeying parking rules and getting away with it without a ticket. I think there is a lot of enforcement out there and there needs to be for people who violate our parking rules. I just don’t want to accept that premise respectfully, over to you.
Commissioner Trottenberg: Well, look the things we will be looking at to see if the program is successful – obviously we will see how many folks sign up, we will be working with the companies and getting their data on who’s using it. We are going to be doing surveys of the customers to see if they like the service, if they are considering possibly shedding a car or not buying that next car, obviously that’s the long term goal with this program. But look, we will obviously have to make sure that this works for the companies that they can operate in a way in New York that’s profitable and effective. And so we are going to be doing that evaluation as we go and reporting on what our findings look like. The question of enforcement – we are going to have the companies themselves will be able to enforce in the way that for example film companies do in movie shoots, they will be able to tow the cars somewhere else in the neighborhood you’ll get them just as you would in a movie shoot. NYPD will also be able to enforce after a two week grace period with a ticket and a tow.
Question: I have several questions – just clarification here, so people will be joining the program, they will be joining ZipCar? Is that right? And they will be joining –
Mayor: ZipCar and Enterprise, there’s two companies. Yes.
Question: And how much is that going to be?
Mayor: One of each there – ZipCar and Enterprise.
Question: Okay, alright. And how much will that be?
Commissioner Trottenberg: I think the annual fee, I’m looking, it is $40 to $70.
Mayor: $70 a month.
Commissioner Trottenberg: $7 a month.
Mayor: Oh $7, I’m sorry $7. We are really screwing this up here. $7 a month, sorry.
Commissioner Trottenberg: $7 a month. Now if you have an IDNYC you get the first year, you don’t have to pay the membership fee.
Question: And that’s for both ZipCar and Enterprise?
Mayor: No, they got different –
Commissioner Trottenberg: It’s two separate companies.
Unknown: Enterprise is free the first year and $49 the year after.
Mayor: Okay. So why don’t we say this – that you two will make yourselves after to the media? I mean will do some, obviously we will answer some specifics but if any members of the media need a lot more detail on company practices, these gentlemen will be available. Go ahead, okay.
Question: Sorry, just one last clarification here Commissioner. The number of spaces – first of all if you could clarify the number and also are these just street spaces that you are talking about here our are some of these in parking garages?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Right, it’s actually three categories – 230 on street spaces, 55 spaces in 17 of DOT’s municipal lots, and then 24 spaces in a number of NYCHA’s lots – so a mixture of on street and within city facilities.
Question: In four boroughs.
Commissioner Trottenberg: In four boroughs, correct.
Mayor: Go ahead, Marcia.
Question: Councilmember Rodriguez, stated his goal [inaudible] number of cars in New York City [inaudible] I wonder if you think [inaudible] what role of programs like CarShare play in helping to achieve that goal?
Mayor: So I’ll start and then the Commissioner probably has a lot more detailed understanding. I think it’s the right thing to say we have to greatly reduce the number of cars in this city, so I can’t speak to that specific goal because I don’t know the analysis but I think it is right to set such a goal ultimately. This is absolutely one of the ways we can reduce the number cars while still giving people the availability of a vehicle when they need one. And look I’m thinking from the perspective of the average New York City family that sometimes they need a car, and but they would like to have it be cheaper, they would like it to be easy, they like to save a lot of time and energy by not having to park. I spent more nights than I could possibly count circling the block, looking for a parking space – I think a typical night was 15, 20 minutes if I was lucky right? So think about this because this is really about quality of life more deeply too. Every New Yorker who owns a car and spends a really big portion of their time looking for parking, imagine not having to do that anymore, imagine not having that hassle. But when you need a car it’s there. And the truth is if – this a point that Gale made, if it’s by the hour you are going to be really smart about when you actually need it and only using it for the hours that are really important to use. So I think this absolutely will help us reduce the number of cars, reduce congestion, and open up parking spaces. Go ahead.
Question: You said that the goal is to reduce the number of cars. Is the [inaudible] to reduce the number of for hire vehicles on the streets as well. Does it include those?
Mayor: Again I’m going to start – you jump in with expertise whenever you feel moved, I’m going with my common sense answer. Yes I think it will also effect the for hire vehicle situation because I think for a lot of people, the services provided by ZipCar and Enterprise are still not familiar to them, the more familiar they become and the easier it is to access them, that’s a real, good alternative to using a for hire vehicle but again it puts a premium on only using it as much as you need. One of the problems we are having increasingly with the for hire vehicles is that they are out there circling around with no one in them. This is different than what we have had with yellow cabs with taxis where you know a typical New York City taxi – someone gets out and the next person is getting in a lot of the time, like literally. Unfortunately as we’ve seen more and more use of the for hire vehicles, we have a really bad trend of a lot of empty vehicles going all over our streets, we have to address that. But this gives people another affordable option that I think will help to reduce some of that dependency. Do you want to –
Commissioner Trottenberg: No I think I would just add, I think you put it well, I mean as DOT Commissioner what we face in the city, you mention the growth – 8.6 million New Yorkers, 62 million tourists, big increase in the Ubers and Lyfts etcetera, big increase in packages now you know, Amazon, FreshDirect, as well as a booming construction market. All great news but certainly for us and DOT, we experience with how we deal the congestion and the incredible demand at our curb. And we view this as something that could be tremendously efficient I mean as the Mayor points out, one family has one car and many neighborhoods, if you don’t take it to work, it just sits there all week. One of these cars can be used by in some cases, up to 70 households, that’s phenomenal efficiency in terms of the curb and just the sheer drag in terms of time, congestion, and environmental waste of people driving around trying to find parking. To reduce that could be transformative.
Mayor: Excellent, yes please.
Question: Just a quick follow up with the Commissioner – you mentioned the number of spaces, does that number of spaces correspond with the number of cars that are coming into this expansion, ZipCar and Enterprise are already, programs already exist in the city for our [inaudible]. The expansion today, does that correspond with the number of spaces, the number of cars –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Yes they are going to add cars, I think and I’ll look to them, I think they even add a little more than there are spaces because for example on weekends, there may be a lot of demand so they be replenishing those spaces, so maybe you all can –
Mayor: Okay, go ahead Gloria.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I wondered – Enterprise is car paying at all for the use of these parking spots?
Commissioner Trottenberg: They are paying a licensing fee. They are not paying us, you know an hourly rate, they are paying in the municipal lots. They are paying our monthly lot fee and part of I think the process of this pilot is to look at what might be the appropriate finical relationship between the City and car-share companies because I think as you heard from Chairman Rodriguez and others, the City has its own potential goals we would like to see in this program – access for low-income New Yorkers, making sure that cars are accessible for people with disability, so I think there will be a number of things that will go into what is the potentially the ultimate relationship between the City and the car companies.
Mayor: Let me speak on behalf of my fellow tax payers – the City does not have to pay for this. And this is really important. Just like with Citibike, one of the preconditions has been we are not paying for this service, the private sector company has to pay for the costs, with this is part of what’s important here too, there is no cost to the taxpayer in making this service available.
Hold on one second Marcia, go ahead.
Question: Cost would be that the companies would –
Commissioner Trottenberg: I think $785 is the licensing fee and then the municipal lots it varies.
Question: For a parking space? Per space?
Commsioner Trottenberg: No, no that’s the fee to operate during this pilot and then they are paying the monthly fee in our municipal lots.
Question: So they will pay $785 per spot? So how much?
Commissioner Trottenberg: No, no. It’s for all the spots they are taking for this pilot.
Mayor: Get all the facts after if you want to clarify anything so go ahead. Who else? Rich.
Question: I’m sorry, if I could follow up – you’ve talked about the congestion issue and the for hire vehicle issue, where is that effort? You said that you wanted to work with the Council this year to address it? Once again where is that effort and –
Mayor: Sure let me speak to that, I’ll turn to the Councilmembers and obviously the Speaker, Speaker Johnson should speak to this but look, our view is to address this issue. And there has been a lot of interest in the Council. We are all focused on doing the most important thing we do each year, which is the budget, but once we get past that I think it’s going to be a major item on the agenda figuring out some kind of way to address this overflow and surplus of for-hire vehicles on our streets, but if either one of you want to speak to it.
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez: Well for my role as a Chairman of Committee on Transportation definitely will be working with Speaker Johnson in the Administration to address something that has been very important for us in the couple years which is congestion is real. No one can deny. And I think we have different ideas on the table, some of them been going through pilot projects, we will continue working with those pilot projects to see how they work and also sitting at the table later on to think about all the ideas on how we can put a solution to congestion that is affecting everyone, especially those Midtown Manhattan.
Mayor: Amen. Rich?
Question: So when you sign up for a usual rent-a-car, they always ask you whether or not you would want to take the optional insurance. Is - are these cars self-insured, I mean what’s the deal here? Do they – do you have to have insurance or what’s the deal?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Maybe – actually maybe we’ll just let the car companies talk about the insurance.
Justin Holmes, Director, Corporate Communications and Public Policy, Zipcar: Gas and insurance are included.
Mayor: Gas – say again?
Director Holmes: Gas and insurance are included.
Commissioner Trottenberg: Gas and insurance.
Mayor: Gas and insurance are included.
Paul Metz, Group Manager, Enterprise CarShare: And that’s the same with Enterprise as well.
Mayor: For both companies. Simultaneous translation, okay, who hasn’t gone, we’ll come back to those who have gone, Dave.
Question: Mayor, just two things, first of all is this included in your [inaudible] program [inaudible] just contact the companies, they don’t call 3-1-1 or anything like [inaudible] –
Mayor: They can go through the City website to get connected –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Right, DOT, we have - you can just go to our website or –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Or you can contact Enterprise or Zipcar directly.
Question: Alright so my second question is, do you know roughly how many cars are in the City on any given day [inaudible] –
Mayor: Do you mean total cars, or sharing cars?
Question: No, just all cars.
Mayor: All cars on any given day in New York City?
Question: A million, three million?
Commissioner Trottenberg: I mean it is as Chairman said it’s I guess about 1.4 vehicles registration in this city, I will admit there’s probably a good number of cars in this city that are not registered in this city –
Mayor: There’s suspicious number of Vermont license plates in New York City.
Council Member Mark Levine: I believe that there is one million private vehicles entering the borough of Manhattan every day. There are about 30,000 on-street parking spots, so the geometry doesn’t work, which is why leveraging this space when 50 families or more can share one spot is the solution.
Question: [Inaudible] got more than a million cars [inaudible] spaces?
Mayor: No wait, this is a pilot towards something, we think, much bigger. And the reason we’re sitting here with you is not the number of spaces in the pilot, it’s where this could go. If this works, we’re going to take it citywide in a very aggressive way because imagine if the theory proves to be true. Imagine if it is true in New York City that for every shared car, there are 20 fewer cars that are either purchased or owned. You immediately can see the potential of that.
And as Polly said, if one shared car is used by 70 people, there’s tremendous potential here. And it’s because we’re up against these daunting numbers that we better start innovating quickly. So we should – actually a really great question, what is that total? So I’m going to ask the Commissioner to come back to you and me both, Dave, between the cars registered here, and the cars that come in the day, particularly on a weekday, what does it look like? It’s a very daunting number. Which means the status quo can’t hold. We literally cannot keep doing what we are doing and expect a different result. We got to do something different.
This is very exciting to me because it just stands to reason. For a lot of people if they really think this is a convenient option, they’re going to say I don’t need a car anymore and I can – again I’ll speak of the perspective of my block, when I go back to my block on January 1st, 2022, I am not buying a car. I guarantee you. The last years before I gave up my car, I was cursing that car every single night. I’m like why am I going through this for something I only use some of the time, but I know that Zipcar and Enterprise are going to be available in my area, solves a problem for me immediately. I think a lot of people are going to be thinking that way once they realize this is available.
We want to make it as simple as, like I said, you go online, you make your reservation, you walk up, you open up the car, there you go. If it’s that simple people will use it, you know, it’s if you build it, they will come. But if we don’t do something like this, the situation you are referring to becomes less and less acceptable for this city. Way back, way, way back.
Question: A couple things for clarification, one how long is the time period? And then for either of you, what do you do if you discover as you survey people that they don’t like this system, what do you do then?
Commissioner Trottenberg: The pilot is a two-year pilot, and, I mean look, obviously if the pilot – if it doesn’t work, if people don’t like it, if they are not making use of it, if the companies are finding it doesn’t seem to have market potential, then I guess we won’t go forward. But I think our feeling, as the Mayor has said, and we’ve seen this in other cities, it’s proved pretty popular.
Borough President Gale Brewer: They’re going to like it.
Mayor: The people have spoken. Let me speak to this. I think there is a little mystery around pilots and I want to demystify. Think of, like research and development. Think about, you know, the tech sector, think about anybody who’s trying to create a new product or a new service. You go and test it out. You test it out with real people and when you are doing a two year pilot, say it’s working immediately, you can start to expand it immediately. There’s no, like, stone tablets here that say how long you have to do your pilot is, we think two years and we think these locations are going to tell us a lot.
But if it suddenly taken off, we can expand at any point we choose to. Say it’s not working, junk it, and go do something else. But we got to try. We already have enough evidence that there is tremendous potential, so we got to see where it can take us.
Question: Are we’re doing this instead of perhaps congestion pricing?
Mayor: There’s no instead anymore. Every – as move forward as a city, and again I’ll speak and welcome anyone else to offer their views, we’re going to have to look at every conceivable option to reduce congestion and address our mass transit needs, which is why we did NYC Ferry, which didn’t exist before, which is why we’re going to do BQX, which didn’t exist before.
Citi Bike until a few years ago predates us, but it didn’t exist, now everyone thinks it’s part of the landscape. It was a totally new, different, unheard of idea when it started here. We’re going to do car-sharing, we’re going to do everything we can get our hands on. Albany has some important decisions to make. But everything should be on the table as we trying to address this issue. Go ahead, Erin?
Question: A couple things, so these are one-way – or sorry, round-trip spots, meaning you would have to take it out and bring it back to the same spot, is that right? And if so, is there a reason for that? Is there a reason you can’t take it one neighborhood and leave it one of the spots in the other neighborhoods –
Mayor: You again – again I’m going to caution just to everyone – where you feel you have full answer, great, and where you don’t you can always say, see the two companies afterwards.
Commissioner Trottenberg: These are round-trips. We actually – for the pilot we invited both types of companies to participate, but I guess the market is sort of moving more to the round-trip model where there are guaranteed parking spaces, so that’s what we are doing here. But, look, if later on entrance wants to come in and try and do more of the one-way, we’re open to that.
Question: And follow up on the enforcement question, is there any kind – is this forbidden to anyone who parked there, for instance police vehicles, people with placards, there’ve been a lot of complaints about, you know, those types of cars parking illegally. Are the companies –
Mayor: Yeah, it doesn’t – you can’t - you can’t have this work if other people are parking the spaces. So we’re going to have a lot more to say about placards soon, updating the people of this city on all the efforts being made to address placard abuse. But no, it doesn’t make sense for any other kind of vehicle to be in this. It’s just as simple as that. It’s authorized for these vehicles and these vehicles only. In the middle of an emergency, of course a police vehicle can park anywhere they need, but in a non-emergency situation, only authorized for this particular use.
Question: And then finally, your comment that you definitely will not have a car I think is new to us, can you talk a little bit more about your car?
Mayor: It’s breaking news.
Question: Will you pick one up? You know there is a lot of commentary on your use of the car now –
Mayor: Breaking news. No, it’s just – look – again I don’t want to insult your intelligence. Whether I like it or not, I am a prominent person, and there are security realities that go about being this person and holding this role, and the NYPD can speak to that.
But on January 1st, at 12:01 am, on 2022, I get to do my own thing. And I’m going back to my house on 11th Street, and I’m not owning a car, guarantee, like Chirlane and I’ve discussed it, it’s not even close. It just doesn’t cost out anymore, it doesn’t make sense – unless you need car every single day, it makes no sense to own a car in New York City. Now we have options that didn’t use to exist. So I’m going to use mass transit and I’m going to use these services, and I think life is going to be a lot mellower. David?
Question: For clarity, did the company paid $780 for the year?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Yes.
Question: For every spot, so they get 200 spots –or 150 I guess each – for the cost of what someone would pay for one spot in a garage -?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Just during the pilot period.
Question: Why is that – but they also get advertisement on the street that they didn’t have before in the form of these signs?
Mayor: We’re getting – look I’m just going to give the layman’s answer, we’re getting a public service and the taxpayers are paying nothing. It’s - again look at the Citi Bike parallel here, we got something for free for the people of the city. And we feel this is a fair deal to begin. Now Polly also indicated, we are very interested if it continues going forward to evaluate and decide what we think makes sense for a longer term deal. But on a pilot basis, we’re comfortable with this because we get a free service for the people.
Question: [Inaudible] for this contract?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Two.
Question: So it wasn’t [inaudible] deal –
Mayor: It’s a new thing.
Commissioner Trottenberg: I mean look, I - I think, again, part of why this is a pilot, there are challenges to operating a service like this in New York City. And you know, again, we’re looking forward to working through how that’s going to work here. And a lot of other cities, you know, the competition at the curb is less fierce so.
Council Member Mark Levine: Can I also just say Dave, that we’re currently giving away this precious public real estate for free. It’s being used by one family with one car and now we can have 50 or 70 families using it. And that serves a higher purpose. And it really wasn’t about the revenue, it was about more people being served by this precious space on our street.
Commissioner Trottenberg: And can I just add, I mean the car companies are also providing discounts for NYCHA residents, for IDNYC users. They’ve gone to some lower income neighborhoods. They’re going to be able to provide on-demand cars that are accessible with people for disabilities. So, you know, the City gave them a number of requirements that we wanted them to meet. So, there are some things of real value we’re getting during this pilot.
Question: Two questions. One is I’m wondering if you can specify what the discount is for NYCHA residents. And also, not to belabor the point, but on David’s question, this is a huge boom for these companies in terms of the free advertising alone at [inaudible]. I’m still not clear why the City wouldn’t have sought some kind of – other kind of payments or benefits from these companies.
Mayor: I just disagree. As simple as that. I think the bottom line here is we’re getting a public service. We’re getting a lot of considerations that we care about like having a free membership with an IDNYC, like having free membership for NYCHA residents, and reduced rates for NYCHA residents, like having them in communities which wouldn’t necessarily be immediately the most profitable choices to be in but where a lot of New Yorkers want a service. We think this is a smart way to get a service to people.
Now, Yoav, if the public sector provided this kind of service, this would be a different discussion. Or if nonprofit entities provided this service. They don’t. The only way you can get this is through a private company. So we want to encourage the broadest use of this. This is a smart move for the short-term, for a two year pilot.
If it becomes a long-term deal then we’re going to evaluate the larger interest here and make sure we feel that there is fair compensation all around. But this is about trying to change a paradigm. This is about trying to give people a whole new way to get around on a broad scale. That’s a good deal for New Yorkers.
Question: Can you specify the NYCHA discount?
Mayor: NYCHA discount? Is it – both companies –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Right.
Mayor: Dave, you want to tell us?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Yes, maybe –
Mayor: He’s throwing us something.
Commissioner Trottenberg: Oh – wait –
Mayor: He’s our lifeline.
Commissioner Trottenberg: NYCHA has thrown us – yes so, you get first year for free. You get a $20 –
Mayor: ZipCar – that’s a ZipCar?
Commissioner Trottenberg: This is ZipCar, and here with Enterprise you get a $20 credit and then you save $1 an hour on the hourly rate. And I don’t know –
Mayor: Say that one more time. Free –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Free membership the first year, and I think that’s true for both – that’s true for both companies, ZipCar and Enterprise.
Mayor: Free first year membership for both companies for NYCHA residents.
Commissioner Trottenberg: ZipCar is a $20 credit. So basically NYCHA resident, it’s free to join and you can try it out free and see if you like it – I don’t know for – Enterprise is $25. So for both, no membership fee upfront and an ability to go try the cars out for free. And then after that a discount on the hourly rate. ZipCar is $1 an hour – no –
Mayor: $1 an hour discount –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Right. And ZipCar will be in 24 – have 24 vehicles in a number of NYCHA –
Mayor: And again I’m going to emphasize on more detailed questions that what we’ve heard so far, go see these two guys. Okay we’re coming around. Who has not gone? Everyone’s gone. Okay we’re going to go back around sort of in the order we went before.
Question: So I think a lot of the questions about the cost are, you know, kind of signifying look at how many cars are on the street, how many parking spaces you’re going to have. Municipalities typically, including New York, just undervalue the price of parking – the value of curb space. So I wanted to see if the City is also looking at adjusting meter rates. I think there’s been talk about that for years. But then also, I think legislation from Ydanis Rodriguez to propose a residential parking program, I think a lot of the details were going to left up to the City. Is there any progress on that as well?
Mayor: Okay let’s separate the first point. Our recent announcement –
Commissioner Trottenberg: I can speak to the first point because that was included in the Mayor’s executive budget. And I spoke about it at actually my budget hearing in front of the Council.
The City is going to be raising parking rates modestly. And in Manhattan we’re going to be doing something that other cities, San Francisco and other cities, have been perusing which is progressive rates which is the second hour will cost you more than the first to try to encourage turnover and better pricing at the curb. So, yes. Parking prices are a part of the tackling congestion and improving curb accessibility. Residential parking permit?
Mayor: Resident parking permits. So, Polly Trottenberg and I have something in common, we spent part of our life in a city with residential parking permits, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and they have joys and sorrows. And that’s a much easier, smaller location. So, I inherently can make the argument for residential parking permits. But I could also tell you there’s some real downsides. So we respect the interests of the Council for sure, but the jury is still out, I think deeply, in trying to sort out all the issues that would go with it. Do you want to add?
Commissioner Trottenberg: I mean I can just say having spoken to other cities that have done it, and there’s no city obviously that’s as big, as complicated as New York. And I know we have – our Council members here who have some legislation on this front. There are sort of different problems you can solve for. One is the problem, I know you are experiencing in Upper Manhattan, perhaps people driving in from New Jersey, from other states.
The challenges of setting up different zones, of deciding where the boarders are, of decision how many spaces are allocated, the administration of that, it’s complicated. And, for example, in Boston right now we heard that for every given parking space in some of their very desirable neighborhoods like Back Bay, they’ve issued 20 permits. So the demand basically, if you really want to make it work so that people can find a parking space you have to, at some point, really cap the number of permits you give out. Not an easy thing to do.
Commissioner Trottenberg: So there’s just a lot of policy questions around it. I know it’s something the Council wants to explore further, a lot of policy questions.
Mayor: And they should be – I want to be clear, it should be explored. It should be explored, but that fairness point is a really daunting one. If you gave out a permit for everyone who has a right to it you have a huge number more permits than there are spaces available. What do you do then? It’s a tough one but it should be studied. Marica?
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez: [Inaudible]
Mayor: I’m sorry, you want to speak to that?
Council Member Rodriguez: Yes, I just want to say that the fact that we are open to explore is important for us because what we are saying is [inaudible] very challenging, different from those in San Francisco who are already – who are starting 1971, we know that the city is a whole big, largest municipality. So – and we will have a hearing on the 12th about parking. So but the fact that you’re open, it doesn’t mean that you support it but you’re saying you will hear – we can explore –
Mayor: It’s worth exploring for sure. Thank you for that. But I would also note, the root cause – the whole underlying discussion here today is the root cause. If we don’t reduce the number of cars, we’re all screwed. Let’s be clear about it. We’ve got to find a way to address this reality.
So, the challenge also with a parking permit model is some people may think great, it’s even more reason to have my own car because I get a permit now. The last thing we want is to incentivize more cars in a city that already has too many and that’s part of what we have to weigh here as well. Marcia?
Question: Mr. Mayor I know that you said they’re paying a licensing fee, about $780 [inaudible] I wonder [inaudible] other cities that have done this to show how much they charge initially and how much they could charge for valuable on street parking [inaudible] turn into something where the City could raise some money and save [inaudible]
Mayor: I appreciate the question so I want to emphasize that one, this is not the permanent model, this is just the initial test with a small number of spaces. And two, when we charge we have to factor in the other things we’re asking for.
So – obviously companies would not normally say if you have IDNYC you get a free membership or if you’re a NYCHA resident you get a free membership. We want things back in the equation. Now if we had said we just want straight up cash we could have charged very differently for the permits. So I just want to ask everyone to recognize this is a pure trade-off of deciding what we valued and making sure we got back the things we needed.
That is a very different discussion than the long-term, but it’s a great question. Have we looked at in other cities what kind of pricing model they applied to the companies?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Yes, and I do just want to emphasize because when – when the Council – when we had hearings and we discussed this we heard loud and clear from the Council some of their important policy goals as the Mayor mentioned: accessibility of these vehicles for low-income New Yorkers, accessibility in low-income neighborhoods, vehicles that would be available for people with disabilities, that we would also have vehicles – new models that were very environmentally friendly. So I think from the Council’s point of view there were a number of potential social and environmental goals we want to, basically, experiment with in this program.
I’ll turn to these two because they are operating in other cities. I don’t – I – maybe you can talk a bit about what other cities are charging you, if you feel comfortable with that.
Justin Holmes, Director, Corporate Communications and Public Policy, Zipcar: Many cities when they launch programs like this, do so on a pilot very similar to New York City. And in many other cities we pay exactly the same pricing that we’re paying here in New York.
Question: Which is?
Director Holmes: A minimal fee with zero cost for the individual parking spaces for a defined pilot period. And I’m happy to get into specifications –
Mayor: Okay, let’s let them do that with you guys afterwards. Way back.
Question: Just another clarification here. I did a preview piece on this a couple of months ago and it was 14 communities in four boroughs. Is it still 14 communities? And which borough is not participating?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Staten Island is not participating at the moment yet. It’s – if you look at the press release, it lays out the 14 neighborhoods for our piece of it and then NYCHA has some additional neighborhoods. So, I can read them if everyone –
Question: I don’t have that –
Mayor: Okay, we’ll get that around to you.
Commissioner Trottenberg: The release lists all the communities.
Mayor: We will get that to you. Yes?
Question: Commissioner, the parking spaces that now become car-share parking only, were they – are any of them formerly metered spots, are they alternate-side, and if so [inaudible]?
Commissioner Trottenberg: There were only a few – we did find a few spots where meters were very underutilized but they’re mostly alternate-side. And the companies, just as we do with bike-share, – the companies are now responsible for hand-cleaning the spots. So, they don’t have to move them during alternate-side but they have to meet Sanitation standards of cleanliness.
Question: [Inaudible] maintain that –
Commissioner Trottenberg: And that’s how Citi Bike works.
Question: So, will the street spots actually be designated to specific cars? In other words, if you’re taking a car off the street spot and then you come back, will there be a spot right in that particular zone? Could you walk me through – I’m uninitiated when it comes to car sharing – how does that happen?
Mayor: Mark, do you want to do the walk-through? I think you have a really good take on how people live with car sharing.
Council Member Levine: Well, we’re going to have to take you for a ride, Rich, anytime.
It is incredibly simple. It’s technological. You don’t need to fumble with keys. You have an account. It’s totally seamless. It’s generally charged to a credit card. You don’t have to worry about gas or insurance, as was mentioned. And –
Question: [Inaudible] the car and does – what happens –
Council Member Levine: Yes, you have a code. You have an app on your phone basically and the doors unlock and it knows who you are and your account is activated.
Mayor: It knows who you are, Rich.
The cars are taking over. So, but on the question – you got to go back to a spot that that company is designated for. And you see on the signs it says. But it’s not my impression you go back to the exact same spot. [Inaudible] want to clarify it.
Mayor: Same exact spot.
Mayor: Same with you. Two choices. Same exact area. Two choices. So, yes, and I’m going to ask Rich his next question – what if those places are taken up?
Mayor: What if those spots are taken up by other cars from your service? Is that possible or not?
Unknown: [Inaudible] location and call us and we’ll work out a plan –
Mayor: You mean just like on a regular street parking?
Mayor: Rich, if those spots are taken –
You call them and they’ll come deal with it. Gloria?
Question: I was wondering – I have two questions –
Mayor: Coming around, don’t worry.
Question: Two questions – one about if this is a pilot [inaudible] talked about how you hoped this will bring the number of cars [inaudible] –
Question: How are you going to track that to see [inaudible] now that this pilot is available, I decide to get rid of my car? And then my other question is about cost. I understand you have these discounts in there but once that is up, how affordable is this for a NYCHA resident or someone who does not have a lot of income coming in and has decided to get rid of their car because they have this [inaudible] prices go up?
Mayor: So, I would just start with some common sense answers and then let other folks weigh in. In terms of the evidence from other places, which Mark and Gale have looked at, I assume Ydanis has as well – let them speak a little bit about that too.
So, again, I want to demystify pilots. Pilots are you take an idea that has already some merit, some proof and you try to build upon it and test it in real-life conditions. This – we’re not the first place to do this.
So, we’re already aware of the positive experiences elsewhere and the evidence and the studies that have shown a reduction in car ownership and car purchasing that comes with it. So, that’s an important starting point.
We’re starting with a positive. Then – I think your point is very fair – how are we going to know the exact impact in the places we do it? Of course, we’re going to survey people who use it and find out, and the companies will know who those users and hopefully a lot of those people want to participate in the survey and find out what it meant for them and what it did in terms of changing their behavior.
And we’ll look at what happens in the neighborhoods as a result and one thing or another. So, that is pretty straightforward to see if we see progress. That encourages us to keep going.
We do know for a fact a lot of people want this service. That’s already been established but we want to test for those additional positive impacts. Do either of you want to talk about other cities?
Borough President Brewer: It was just 23 to 32 percent of people who cars, gave them up to use car sharing. So, I don’t know – I can get you the study itself but that’s a pretty high number.
Council Member Levine: Well, other cities do customer surveys and they show as little as eight to ten and as much as 20 cars given up either because the customer says, ‘I was going to buy a car and now I decided I don’t need to,’ or they say, ‘I actually had a car and I got rid of it or I needed an upgrade and I decided I don’t need to.’
And I believe there is going to be customer surveys in New York as well –
Commissioner Trottenberg: Yes, extensive surveys.
Council Member Levine: Just on your part of affordability – to own a car in New York City, the gas, the insurance, the repairs, the tolls, all that, it’s thousands of dollars a year. I think the Commissioner said $9,000 on average. And these services are $8 an hour.
So, if you’re only using this a day or two a week, then you’re just going to save thousands of dollars and most people who own cars in uptown Manhattan are not driving to work every day.
Council Member Levine: They are taking mass transit to work every day and they’re using the cars to visit relatives out of town, to take a sick mother to the doctor, the kind of thing you could do one or two times a week. And so, this actually could save a ton of money for low-income New Yorkers.
Mayor: And I want to point out with the housing authority – again, sometimes I think there’s very unfair stereotyping of people who live in public housing. There’s 400,000 people, a very high percentage of whom are working New Yorkers by the way a lot of whom own cars. If you go to NYCHA developments, there are substantial parking lots for the residents who won cars.
So, if you’re already owning a car, you just bought into all those costs that Mark just talked about. Somehow, you are affording that. We’d like to actually make it easier to get the car when you need it but for a lot less money so those hard-working people will have more money for other things in their life and can make ends meet better.
So, we understand we are in America and car ownership in America has been encouraged for decades and decades and decades even when it wasn’t necessarily good for some people economically, here’s a way to make the virtues of a car available with a lot less cost.
Let’s go to this side, yes?
Question: For the NYCHA spots, do you have to be a NYCHA resident to take one of those cars or are they available to everyone? And also, tolls were mentioned, do you pay your own tolls or are they included or how does that work?
Commissioner Trottenberg: You don’t have to be a NYCHA resident to use the NYCHA spots. I believe you do have to pay your tolls, correct? Enterprise and Zipcar.
Mayor: Gas is included and what was the other thing?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Insurance is included.
Mayor: And insurance. Gas and insurance are included but you pay your own tolls. Go.
Question: [Inaudible] I’m a Zipcar member –
Mayor: Oh my God, you just poisoned the whole situation.
Question: I have been for at least four years. Where are we getting this $8-an-hour figure? I have never gotten a car in this city for under $12. Where are we getting that figure?
Unknown: Our rates in New York start as low as $8.50 –
Question: In Manhattan?
Unknown: Perhaps not in Manhattan –
Mayor: I’m sorry, hold on, I want to take issue – there’s these other parts of New York City that aren’t Manhattan, maybe you’ve heard of them? So, the whole point, because this is important, the whole idea here is we are bringing these services to the outer boroughs to a lot of communities that haven’t had them previously, but could benefit. So, yes, they start as low as $8, or $8.50 an hour, and as low as $69 a day, depending on where, depending on the day, this kind of thing.
Question: What should it go up to?
Mayor: Say again?
Question: What – how high do they go up?
Mayor: Someone said it before – what’s the range?
Commissioner Trottenberg: I think the highest is – $18 I think is the highest for peak in peak places, but I could have that wrong. These guys I think can give everybody –
Mayor: It’s all online too, but they will go over the whole range with you.
Commissioner Trottenberg: And to be fair, maybe they’re going to be experimenting a bit with what makes sense here in terms of demand, etcetera, in different parts of New York City.
Mayor: Supply and demand.
Question: Any clarification here – what James was just saying, because I’m also a member of ZipCar – I have never gotten a car, ever, ever in this city for less than $15 an hour – ever.
Mayor: You’ll have it out with them.
Question: So, what I’m saying to you is, because when you guys are talking about the program initially you made it sound as though it’s $8 a day in all of the four boroughs –
Mayor: No, no, no, wait –
Commissioner Trottenberg: An hour –
Mayor: We said – again, we can’t go into much back and forth on this. It’s really factual – they’ll have it, they’ll go through all of the details with you afterwards. We said what the lowest prices available are in the five boroughs. They go up in some places, that’s clear. But still, when you compare it to car ownership, or – I use my own personal example – if you don’t own a car and you had to get somewhere, you might call a car service. On an hourly basis, you’re still way ahead of the game, and we believe a lot of people will see that basic math and go with it. But they will answer – they’re going to have their own separate press conference with you guys to answer. You can have the podium after we’re finished and take up – okay, we’re going to turn over to other topics, unless there’s something burning and not too specific on this one.
Do you have a burning, non-specific – yes?
Question: Well, I guess it’s technically off-topic, but the Governor was today saying that to pay for Byford’s [inaudible] plan, that real congestion pricing will have to happen. He doesn’t think a millionaire’s tax is feasible. He doesn’t think either House supports it. I mean, you said that all options are going to be on the table – would you consider congestion pricing for looking at the Byford plan? And have you given the Byford plan a full review yet?
Mayor: No, I have not given it a full review. I like the basic tenants of it, but I have not given it a full review, and I look forward to sitting down with Mr. Byford and going through it in detail with him as soon as we finish the budget. Look, I believe in the millionaire’s tax, I’m going to say it again. And I think it’s absolutely wrong to suggest that it is not politically viable in what I think will be the new world of Albany. And I don’t really know many people Democrat or Republic to expect there not to be a Democratic Senate in Albany on January 1st. I believe that Democratic Senate will look at our proposal, which has, as you know, Senator Gianaris, who is a very significant figure in the Democratic conference, is the sponsor of the millionaire’s tax legislation, and Assembly Member O’Donnell in the Assembly, who I think represents this very community. This is a tax on millionaires and billionaires who live in New York City to pay for mass transit in New York City. That’s one option the legislature will consider, including suburban and upstate legislators who can vote for it as a matter of fairness, but honesty not have to ask anything of their constituents in the dynamic – versus congestion pricing, which must be discussed, by definition, but has natural opposition in both the suburbs and the City. I don’t think it’s such a – I respectfully disagree with the Governor, I think the millionaire’s tax is actually going to be more politically viable than congestion pricing, and the survey data we saw in April from Quinnipiac put it at over 70 percent approval. That’s going to mean something to legislators. In terms of the actions that have been taken so far, I think the surcharge on the for-hire vehicles was a very good idea and a very good step. And I also think that the Governor’s commission contributed something positive to the discussion by proving a vision of congestion pricing that was different than the one in the past that included the bridges and I applauded them for that. So, I’m certainly willing to keep talking about it. I have the same fairness critiques and concerns on behalf of the outer boroughs I’ve always had about congestion pricing. I’m willing to talk about it, but I disagree that the millionaire’s tax is less viable, I think it’s more viable, starting January 1st.
Question: Last week, the City Health Department started a program to warn bars and nightclubs on the Lower Eastside about cocaine laced with fentanyl, and how deadly it is. They’re giving out posters to bars with safety tips for cocaine use, including use with others in case you overdose, and bring narcan in case you overdose. I’m just wondering – the City’s thought behind the messaging? And are you concerned it might actually encourage more cocaine use?
Mayor: The last thing we want to do is to encourage more cocaine use, so when the Health Department tries to figure out a public health campaign they are very mindful of not wanting to have unintended consequences, and will always watch for any unintended consequences. But let’s be blunt, tragically there’s a lot of people using cocaine and thinking it’s safe. I don’t know why anyone would think that, honestly, but a whole lot of people in this city, particularly younger people, do think that. Any way to tell people it’s not safe anymore and could be laced with an extraordinary lethal drug, that’s our obligation to get that information out. So, that’s what’s motivating the Health Department.
Councilman Levine: Can I say a word as the Health Chair, Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: Please, yes, I think you should.
Councilman Levine: We are losing three people a day in New York City. Three people are dying a day from overdose – that’s more than homicides, suicides, and car crashes combined, and they’re largely dying because there’s fentanyl in the drugs they’re consuming. If you look at the history of when we had a spike in fatalities, it’s as fentanyl started to be introduced into heroin and cocaine and other drugs. So, our first duty is to protect people and to save lives, and so I fully support the Health Department doing everything in its power to educate people to prevent overdose fatalities, and that means a very frank, upfront conversation on fentanyl. And it means going to where people are and that does include bars.
Question: And the three [inaudible] cocaine [inaudible] overdoses? You say three overdoses a day.
Councilman Levine: Well, that counts the opioids as well, and that is the majority of overdose deaths, but when people die from cocaine use, it’s usually because there’s fentanyl in the cocaine.
Mayor: Okay, yes?
Question: On NYCHA, the deadline I believe is this Saturday to pick an emergency manager to oversee NYCHA repairs. Do you have any candidates for that? Has there been any progress on selecting that person? Where does that stand?
Mayor: As I’ve said before, we are in very intensive discussions with the Southern District of New York and very productive discussion to settle what has been a two-year ongoing effort by the Southern District related to the Housing Authority. Those conversations are happening every single day. So, that’s our focus right now. That, to me, is the way to address some of the longstanding challenges at NYCHA and that’s where our focus is.
Question: Councilman Richie Torres sent a letter asking why [inaudible] which we think is going to put the City on the hook for over [inaudible]. Why are you negotiating? And do you think the administration is liable for anything [inaudible]?
Mayor: So, NYCHA is its own organization, is it’s own entity by law. It’s chartered by the federal government and the State government – and that’s the reality, that’s the legal reality. That said, the City has obviously been supporting NYCHA financially in various ways and plays a role. We think the Southern District has come forward with a set of concerns that are historically grounded that we want to try and address with them, and that requires negotiation. It’s been productive negotiation. Obviously, a negotiation like this is not done in public, it’s a legal – this is about a potential legal settlement. It is a sensitive matter. It has t be done in the manner we’re doing it now, but I’m not going to get into any details, I’m not going to confirm any details. I’m only going to say I think if we can get to fair settlement, that’s in everyone’s interest.
Mayor: It always concerns me when there’s any crime, and I want to note that the NYPD has driven down crime now four years in a row, and continues to. With the help of the Council, we put 2,000 more officers on patrol. Of course we care about literally every single crime, every single victim. I don’t know all of the details of this case. I do know, at the same time, we need to achieve public safety while achieving fairness. We need to make sure that those who previously were saddled with a criminal record for something very minor are not, whenever possible. We need to make sure that police resources are going to the most important issues, not smaller issues. We saw, and everyone has acknowledged, that there’s been disparity in police enforcement – that has to change. There’s been too much use of arrest. Remember, this NYPD under, first, Commissioner Bratton, then Commissioner O’Neill, have reduced arrest markedly while driving down crime – 100,000 fewer arrests in 2017 than 2013. We’ve got to keep working to do more of that, and that’s the plan the NYPD will come out with.
Mayor: I understand if anyone’s been a victim of a crime how painful that is, how frustrating that is, and I would understand if that was their first impulse. I would hope when they have a chance to reflect on it, they’d recognize this is the safest big city in America with such extraordinary things to offer anyone. I really feel bad about what happened to them. I know justice will be served with the perpetrator, but I would ask them after they’ve had a chance to think about it to recognize there’s a lot of good in this city.
Question: Back to NYCHA for a second, did you or did your administration forgo the chance to help pick a State monitor because you believe that a federally appointed monitor would supersede that?
Mayor: The – I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail because of settlement discussions. I would only say the federal government is clearly the top level of government and a federal monitor changes the entire discussion. We’ve had federal monitors before, very productively. Right now, this minute, the Police Department and Correction Department – it’s been a very productive situation. So, we have to resolve this to make sense of the whole rest of the equation – that’s the bottom line.
Question: So, it sounds like you’re expecting a federal monitor here.
Mayor: I’m not going to get into any details of a settlement, I’m not going to project anything, I’m not going to confirm anything because we are in negotiation. I’m going to say there have been productive discussions, that they’ve been consistent discussions, meaning the conversations are happening literally on a daily basis. I am hopeful of a settlement and I believe this is where we all need to focus.
Question: Do you see the irony in – it seems that the City would be happier with a US Attorney appointed by Donald Trump naming a monitor for NYCHA rather than a monitor named – really just quartered by the Democratic Governor –
Mayor: Honestly, you shouldn’t politicize it. I know everyone feels it’s the natural thing to do, but I want to emphasize – do not presume anything about this US Attorney. He’s a new person in the role. I can say from our dealings with him, he has been fair and it’s been a good dialog. So, I really think it’s important to judge people by their deeds. Also, I’ve said previously, that, you know, what we saw with the State executive order was a different kind of executive order than we had seen previously with other agencies. But most importantly, this has to be resolved with the federal government for all the other pieces to make sense, and that’s why we’re focused on it.
Let’s see if there’s anything else – way back?
Question: Mr. Mayor, I’m just wondering if you can say anything about the delays of City agencies paying out some of these contractors. I know one of the agencies said it had to do with buyer backlog [inaudible] can you explain –
Mayor: I can editorialize more than I can explain, because I’m not familiar with the details, but I’m not happy with it, I don’t accept it. For nonprofits especially, they have real cash flow challenges – and I’ve said this to members of my team, I’m not talking out of school here. A lot of nonprofits that do such crucial work in this city, they are hand-to-mouth in terms of their budgets. The City of New York obviously is a huge entity, we owe it to them to pay them as quickly as possible. So, I’m not satisfied with the state of affairs. I’m sure there are some backlog issues that put extra pressure on our agencies. And you all know that the world got very complex because of the mistakes of the past, meaning you have VENDEX and so many other checks and balances because people did the wrong thing in the past and now there is many , many layers that slow things down but that’s not the whole answer. The City needs to focus on paying these organizations as promptly as possible and we are still not doing it well enough and I’m going to instruct all my agencies to fix it. Yes.
Question: Last night President Trump endorsed Dan Donovan, who are you endorsing in that district?
Mayor: I’ve said this about the elections around the state in 2018, there will be a day when I decide to speak about them, it’s not today. And I’ll look at each race and decide if I’m going to be involved at. But it will depend on whole the candidates and what their requests are as well but we are not there yet. Yes.
Question: The City was very active in helping Puerto Rico is recover from Hurricane Maria, do you have any thoughts on the study that was released this week that espoused that the actual death toll there was close to 5,000 people?
Mayor: Yes, it’s sickening. This whole situation, every one of us can see how wrong it’s been from the beginning – how long it took to restore electricity, how little help came from the United States government, how long it took for it to get there. I mean this has been a horrible situation from the beginning. It pains me deeply but doesn’t shock me that we weren’t told the truth about how many people died. And it is part of how people have evaded responsibility and the federal government should be ashamed of itself when it comes to Puerto Rico. But you know what? Rather than words, how about deeds, they could right now fix the situation. They could continue to give assistance to the victims of the storm, which they are constantly are talking about cutting off. I mean this is the other strange thing, how would you after ended up not helping people originally, do you want to cut them off so quickly? Right, I mean that’s what we hear all the time – these folks are threatened with cut off all the time. They should not be. Everyone who is getting assistance should continue to have the assistance while families get back on their feet. There should be a national priority to restore electricity in all of Puerto Rico and it’s still not done. And this death toll is devastating and frightening and you know there is a whole lot of
people still suffering, why don’t we go make it up to them as a nation. Yes.
Question: I wanted to ask about the First Lady’s role as Chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund. There was a story that she has attended less than half of the Fund’s board meetings, that fundraising is down. What’s you assessment of how she’s done in that position and should she be doing more to raise money for these public programs?
Mayor: I think she has done an extraordinary job and I think there is an absolute misunderstanding here of the fullness of her work. I mean, I know she described it yesterday but I will restate it. She originated and now manages the Thrive initiative, which is over $800 million initiative which took years to construct, is being built out all over the city, has become a national model, is now being emulated in 50 states literally. That took an immense amount of work. I remember in the beginning where she went to community after community, she held town hall meetings, she talked to providers, she talked to patients. It’s just an extraordinary research effort to prepare the ground work for Thrive and now it’s something she works on essentially every single day.
She’s worked on domestic violence issues. She worked on the needs of LGBT youth, there’s a whole host of initiatives that she is spearheading. The Mayor’s Fund is one piece of her work. Now she said yesterday they often intersect because for example Thrive has elements that are funded by the Mayor’s Fund but it’s a small part of their funding compared to the public funding.
So it terms of where her time and energy goes? It goes into a host of initiatives that are having a really big impact. The fundraising for the Mayor’s Fund is one of many, many things on her plate and there’s other people on her team who do some of that which is normal with any team. I think she’s got her priorities right. And I agree with her statement, don’t – if you think how many dollars they raise is the way to measure work, you are missing what her work is about. When you look at the Mayor’s Fund and you take out the extraordinary circumstances of the previous administrations, like 9/11 which obviously elicited a tremendous amount of donations, or Sandy – those were two crisis moments where rightfully people came forward with a huge amount of resources, let alone that the previous mayor had a whole different set of relationships than I have or Chirlane has. If you factor in that than the fundraising has been constant but the fundraising is really not the measure. The measure is how much is she changing the lives of everyday New Yorkers and if you take the Thrive initiative, the domestic violence initiatives, the efforts of behalf of LGBT youth, the efforts on behalf of incarcerated women and there are more behind that ,she’s having a profound impact.
Question: [Inaudible] somebody who is a chair of a non-profit shouldn’t they go to at least the majority of board meetings –
Mayor: Again –
Question: From a leadership standpoint to be kind of in control or knowing what’s happening –
Mayor: She knows exactly what’s happening. The Mayor’s Fund is functioning well. She has a professional staff including an executive director that she depends on for a lot of the day-to-day. She goes to any meeting that she’s needed at and she has a lot of other responsibilities.
And I didn’t even mention that I rely on her to sit in on a number of decision-making meetings and on a lot of the interviews to choose senior personnel of the administration. And as I have noted previously, she does all that for zero dollars a year.
So, I think she’s got her priorities right. I think she has a professional staff to help cover some of the other things and I think she’s getting results.
Unknown: Last two.
Question: Following up on that – she has said that she doesn’t think she should get paid. Do you still think she should get paid?
Mayor: The law is clear. I’m speaking as a husband and I’m speaking from what I think is fair. I think we’re in a whole new era where guess what, there are spouses – and in this case it’s a female spouse, more and more you’re going to see it’s a male spouse – who are also professionals who give their time and energy and get a lot of results.
I think it would be nice if they’re compensated. I understand the law doesn’t allow it. It’s probably not going to allow it anytime soon. So, she’s being her typical realistic self. It’s not going to change. But do I think she’s worth being compensated for what she’s achieving for the people of this city? Of course.
Go ahead, these two. First you and then Rich.
Question: Just one quick question here and it’s for ZipCar but I’m asking it so that all of my colleagues here can hear the answer. But with ZipCar currently, you don’t have to pay for the gas unless it goes below a quarter of a tank and then you need to replace that. So is that the way the system is going to work?
Mayor: Can I just say – you’ll get all this afterwards with them. I really don’t want to go back into technical questions. So –
Question: Well, I think it’s more than just technical –
Mayor: My friend –
Question: You’re saying that the gas is going to be for free so I just want a clarification –
Mayor: My friend, we’re going to step away in a moment. They’re going to come up here and answer any questions you all have. Let’s go to a final question.
Question: Mr. Mayor, so in regard to the millionaire – and what you called millionaire and billionaire’s tax today, your predecessor –
Mayor: I have called it before a millionaire and billionaire’s tax.
Question: Your predecessor had a unique perspective on that –
Mayor: That’s a [inaudible] statement –
Question: He would insist that the wealthy would move out of New York if you were to impose that. Are you – and also are you working with legislators on this? Do you have an assessment of why you think the chances –
Mayor: No, it’s a great question, so, both parts of the question.
Question: Have you ever talked to him about [inaudible] –
Mayor: Yes, actually. Way back. I respect my predecessor. As you know, there’s some areas that I fully agree with what he did and other areas I couldn’t have disagreed more but I really do respect him.
That said on this one, he never had any evidence. It was very anecdotal. I have asked our team including our Economic Development Corporation if there’s any proof anywhere that these changes in taxation are having an effect on the behavior of the millionaires and billionaires who live here. Literally no one has any evidence that it changes things one way or another.
I asked Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz when I first proposed the millionaire’s tax for pre-K did he fear there would be a negative impact. He said there’s a lot of study of this and what are effectively marginal changes in taxation do not affect the geographical choices of millionaires and billionaires.
By the way I asked him that. This is one of my favorite New York moments. It was during the 2013 campaign. I was outside the subway stop at 96th and Broadway campaigning and – this is only in New York – the Nobel Prize winning economist walks by. So, I said, ‘Hey, Joe, while I got ya, let me ask you this.”
But I think that’s the truth. There’s no evidence of a change. When some people leave, we hear about it but we also hear about a lot of people coming in, how many tech millionaires and billionaires and other folks have come into New York City in recent years and I think it at least balances out.
But the other factor here is we just saw the biggest tax giveaway to the wealthy and corporations in decades in the legislation in Washington. And even though it’s a bit of a mixed bag for New York, our studies so far suggest that a lot of millionaires and billionaires who live here ended up substantially better off. Some ended up a little worse off but again not enough, I think, to change fundamental behavior.
The millionaire’s tax would be a small impact for most of these folks but it would have a very big impact on our ability to have the subways run properly for all New Yorkers.
To that last part of your question, why do I think that the political environment allows for it – so I’m betting on a Democratic Senate. We already know the Assembly has supported the notion previously. They’ve been in favor of it – I should say it this way, they’ve been in favor of additional taxes on millionaires and billionaires.
They have not been in favor of congestion pricing to date. And again, I understand the virtues of congestion pricing but I want to talk just pure political analysis – we know the Assembly has an appetite for increasing taxes on the millionaires and billionaires of this city.
The Senate – the guy authoring the bill, is one of the most influential members of the Democratic Senate Conference who attests to the fact that there is a lot of support for it. And again, what I said before, I think we need to have a fuller discussion of congestion pricing but if you’re asking about political popularity, show me a poll that shows congestion pricing is more popular than a millionaire’s tax.
I have a poll that shows how popular the millionaire’s tax is. I have no such poll for congestion pricing. So I just want a level playing field. We have to talk about all the options or you could have a hybrid in theory. But right now – humor me there will be a Democratic Senate and then Senator Gianaris will lead the way and a lot of us will be joining in on a millionaire’s tax – I think it has at least a good of a chance if not a better chance of being the way we come up with a long term funding plan for the MTA.