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After months of refusal, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Saturday the city will pay for half of the emergency rescue plan for the subway, which was announced by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in July. The mayor’s decision to fork over $418 million for subway repairs came after the state lawmakers passed on Friday Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $168.3 billion budget. The approved budget includes giving the state power to take funding from the city if it did not pay for its share, as the Daily News reported. The state has already paid its half of the $836 emergency plan, aimed at repairing, upgrading and stabilizing the beleaguered transit system.
The action plan was first announced by the MTA during a particularly rocky summer for the subway. And for many months following the announcement, de Blasio refused to give additional funding to the MTA, claiming the agency has a lot of money not being spent on system fixes, including the $2.5 billion the city contributed to the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan.
But on Saturday, a de Blasio spokesperson, Eric Phillips, said the budget met the mayor’s demands. “When it comes to the subways, Mayor de Blasio has always demanded two things: significant movement by the state toward a real plan, and a dedicated lockbox so city riders’ money goes toward fixing city subways.”
He added, “This budget appears to respond to the mayor’s demands on behalf of the city’s straphangers. There are no excuses left for the governor to hide behind. He must do his job and fix the subways.”
In addition to forcing the city to pay for the action plan, the budget also places a surcharge on for-hire vehicles driving below 96th Street. Revenue from the fees, $2.75 for for-hire vehicles and $2.50 for yellow cabs, will be directed to the MTA.
“We finally got the City to pay half the Subway Action Plan,” Cuomo said at an event on Saturday. “Hurray, which means straphangers who have been suffering with the delays, we’ll now be able to accelerate that construction because we haven’t had full funding.”
[Via NY Daily News]
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