Cuomo’s proposed MTA budget requires more funding from New York City

January 17, 2018

Photo of Cuomo via the governor’s Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Tuesday his proposed $168 billion FY 2019 executive budget, aimed mostly at raising revenue and protecting New York taxpayers from future federal cuts with a possible restructuring of the state’s tax code. “Washington hit a button and launched an economic missile and it says ‘New York’ on it, and it’s headed our way,” Cuomo said. “You know what my recommendation is? Get out of the way.”

While the governor’s budget clearly targets President Trump and his administration, it appears to impose more financial responsibility on Mayor Bill de Blasio as well, according to Politico New York. The budget includes three provisions that require the city to increase their funding of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including making City Hall pay half of the authority’s $836 million emergency action plan. So far, de Blasio has refused to provide any additional funds to the MTA.

Cuomo’s budget plan says the city should “provide in full all funding required to meet the capital needs of the New York City Transit authority” in its five-year capital plans. While a state official told Politico this would simply reinforce a preexisting law from 1981 that requires the city to fund the subways, the law has never been interpreted by the city that way.

If the law had been in effect when the state was negotiating the MTA’s $30 billion five-year capital plan in 2015, the city would owe roughly $16.5 billion. It committed only $2.5 billion.

There’s also a provision in Cuomo’s budget that requires the city to pay half of the more than $800 million short-term action plan that MTA Chair Joe Lhota announced this summer. According to the budget, if the governor declares a state of emergency for the city’s transit system, the city would be forced to pay the same amount of money as the state to fund it. Cuomo declared the subway in a state of emergency this summer.

Another proposal in the budget calls for the MTA to create districts in NYC and then receive the real estate tax receipts from those special areas to pay for MTA projects.

After Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subway and called on the city to pay its fair share, de Blasio demanded the state take responsibility for the MTA, a state-run authority. In July, de Blasio said: “The state of New York is responsible for making sure our subways run,” the mayor said. “Again, everyone knows this. It has been decades and decades that the governor of the state, whoever the governor is, has named the head of the MTA and has effective control over the MTA.”

Cuomo, who hinted at his congestion pricing plan in his speech but provided no new details, is expected to announce a more detailed proposal for charging drivers a fee for entering Manhattan during peak hours. The state legislature and governor will negotiate the budget and will have to approve a final plan by April 1.

[Via Politico NY]


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