Photo via Wikimedia
Actress and candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon released last week her plan to fix New York City’s transit system and many of the ideas look pretty familiar. To pay for much-needed subway repairs, Nixon’s plan calls for congestion pricing, a concept supported by her opponent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a millionaires’ tax, an idea backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio (h/t NY Post). Her campaign also details imposing a polluter fee on fossil fuel companies to “generate billions of dollars to be used to fund New York’s transition to green energy.”
And while disparaging the MTA remains one of the focal points of her campaign, Nixon’s plan to upgrade the subways is nearly identical to the Fast Forward plan released by NYC Transit Authority President Andy Byford last month. Jon Weinstein, a spokesperson for the MTA, said in a statement: “After three months of slamming the MTA in the press, Ms. Nixon released a plan to fix the subways and it was the MTA’s plan. Thanks.”
The MTA’s Fast Forward plan calls for upgrading the system’s signal system, making stations more accessible and rolling out new subway cars and buses, all within the next 10 years. While reports have said the plan could cost nearly $37 billion, the MTA has not released an official cost estimate.
Nixon’s campaign website details different revenue streams, proposing “comprehensive congestion pricing, as well as funding from part of the revenue generated from a polluter fee and a millionaires tax.”
Her congestion plan keeps the surcharge on for-hire vehicles implemented by state lawmakers in this year’s budget, but adds a congestion pricing fee of $5.76 for entry and exit into a particular zone. Nixon’s platform also includes giving low-income drivers who commute to Manhattan a partial toll rebate, which would not cost more than a subway ride, according to the campaign.
Nixon’s millionaires’ tax appears to be the same concept as the one supported by de Blasio. The mayor’s proposal would tax rich New Yorkers to pay for more subway repairs, increasing the tax rate of this group to 4.4 percent from roughly 3.9 percent for couples with incomes over $1 million. Last summer, Cuomo had called the plan “dead on arrival” because of political opposition in Albany.
While the mayor’s plan would tax rich New Yorkers living in New York City, Nixon is calling for a statewide tax on millionaires. The idea is unpopular with Republicans and a handful of Democrats, who told the Daily News that hiking taxes “is bad optics” and risks support from suburban voters.
“They’ve done pretty well under their reign and don’t want to give up their tax breaks,” Laura Hitt, a spokesperson for Nixon, told the Daily News. “It’s ridiculous to suggest that asking the wealthy to pay their fair share will turn off voters, especially in a blue wave year.”
[Via NY Post]
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