Joseph Lhota

April 25, 2018

De Blasio pens letter to MTA seeking transparency in spending of $836M subway action plan

Photo via Wikimedia Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed earlier this month to fund half of the MTA's $836 million emergency rescue plan for the subway, leading many to believe the feud between the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the funding had simmered. But on Wednesday, de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson penned a joint letter to MTA chair, Joe Lhota, laying out terms of the funding agreement, with plenty of subtle insults to the MTA included. While the city's commitment of $418 million came with a "lock box" arrangement, to ensure the money goes to repairs and nothing else, the mayor and speaker are calling on Lhota and the MTA for even further transparency, better measurements of progress and frequent briefings about the plan.
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March 22, 2018

Despite declining service, MTA will most likely raise fares in 2019

Without another option to bring in revenue to the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, straphangers will most likely have to pay higher fares next year. The fare hike would be the sixth since 2009 when the state legislature approved a financial rescue plan that included increasing fares every other year. While funding for the financially-troubled authority continues to be negotiated among lawmakers before the state's budget deadline next month, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told the Daily News he did not see a scenario where the fares could remain the same.
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November 9, 2017

Costly MTA improvements may mean unplanned fare hikes

According to the annual financial outlook report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, recent and much-needed improvements by the MTA may mean fare increases could come sooner than the ones that are already scheduled, Newsday reports. DiNapoli’s report pointed out that even if it gets the hoped-for additional government funding, recent improvement efforts that address subway performance could add up to $300 million annually, requiring an unscheduled fare and toll increase of about 4 percent. Currently, a 4 percent hike is planned for 2019, and another for 2021.
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August 7, 2017

De Blasio wants to tax rich New Yorkers to fund subway repairs

Continuing this summer’s subway saga, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan on Sunday that would tax the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers to fund the system’s much-need repairs and renovations. The proposal, which requires Albany’s approval, would also provide half-price MetroCards for low-income straphangers. As the New York Times reported, the “millionaires tax” would increase the tax rate of the city’s wealthiest residents to 4.4 percent from roughly 3.9 percent for married couples with incomes over $1 million and for individuals who make more than $500,000 annually.
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July 28, 2017

Cuomo wants to fund subway fixes with $600K corporate station naming rights

Subway image via WikiCommons On Tuesday the Metropolitan Transportation Authority revealed an $800 million emergency rescue plan for the city’s beleaguered subway system. As 6sqft reported, the MTA board has been scrambling for new ways to pay for the plan amid increasing dissatisfaction with fare hikes, even as the agency says they'll need to raise fares by roughly 4 percent every other year as part of their long-term financial plan. According to Crain's, Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke Thursday about a possible corporate sponsorship alternative: For $600,000, a donor can publicly “adopt" a station to help pay for amenities and improved cleaning; for $250,000, a “Partnership Council” membership would help raise money for improvements without the donor's name attached to the station.
Who wouldn't want to adopt a subway station?
July 27, 2017

MTA board members seek an end to routine fare hikes, mulls selling subway station naming rights

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority revealed on Tuesday an $800 million emergency rescue plan to fix the city’s failing subway system, which includes hiring 2,700 workers, removing some seats and adding additional train cars. And on Wednesday the MTA board grappled with ways to pay for the plan, with some members calling for the agency to end its routine fare and toll hikes and find revenue through other means. However, according to the New York Times, the authority’s chief financial officer, Robert Foran, said the agency needed to continue to raise fares by roughly 4 percent every other year as part of their long-term financial plan.
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July 26, 2017

MTA announces $800M emergency rescue plan for a distressed subway system, includes removing seats

After months of what has seemed like rapidly accelerating deterioration, scary incidents, complaints and finger-pointing, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority revealed on Tuesday an $800 million emergency rescue plan for the city’s beleaguered subway system, the New York Times reports. Some key solutions identified for the initial phase of the plan, called "MTA Moving Forward," included taking out seats on some cars–Boston’s transit system has done this in some cases to make room for more commuters. When asked when riders would begin to see the benefits of the plan, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said that key parts of the plan’s initial phase would be implemented “relatively quickly.”
A hefty tab and a bitter feud
July 24, 2017

De Blasio urges Cuomo to ‘take responsibility’ for MTA

The ongoing public debate over whether the state or city controls the subway continued this weekend when Mayor de Blasio, riding a Manhattan-bound F train on Sunday, demanded Governor Cuomo “take responsibility” over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The mayor’s comments come after Cuomo and Joseph Lhota, the recently appointed chairman of the MTA, called on de Blasio and the city last week to contribute more money to the authority for repair work. As the New York Times reported, de Blasio said the MTA has a lot of money that they’re not spending, including the $2.5 billion contributed by the city in 2015, to the MTA's 2015-2019 capital plan.
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July 21, 2017

Cuomo says New York City is responsible for subway system, not the state

Although New York City’s subway is currently in a state of emergency, no government official seems to want to take ownership of the failing transit system. Governor Cuomo and Joseph Lhota, the recently appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, called on Mayor de Blasio and City Hall to contribute more money for repairing the subway system on Thursday, citing a law that puts the city in charge of the track system. As the New York Times reported, Lhota and the MTA are preparing an emergency plan to deal with the subway, expecting more funds to come from the city. The plan, which Cuomo ordered the MTA to create within 30 days, is set to be completed by the end of next week.
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July 13, 2017

Dry ice and solar power to be used in city’s $32M rat battle

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared Wednesday that he wanted "more rat corpses" in a $32 million crusade to rid the city's most plagued neighborhoods of the scurrying scourge. The New York Times reports that parts of lower Manhattan, the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx are the focus of the latest campaign that hopes to reduce the number of rats in those areas by 70 percent by the close of 2018. Among the battle's newly-forged weapons are 336 $7,000 solar-powered rat-proof garbage bins and an EPA-approved–and apparently very effective–method of killing rats in their holes using dry ice. over here