Bill de Blasio

Policy, Transportation

Photo via joiseyshowaa on Flickr

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s task force, Fix NYC, released its congestion pricing plan last week, critics were quick to say the fees would most burden commuters who live outside the city and drive into Manhattan for work. However, a new report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign found that less than 4 percent of residents in most districts commute by car into proposed congestion zones. In their report, the transportation research group analyzed the community patterns by looking at state Senate and Assembly districts; they found that a majority of commuters rely on mass transit, rather than cars, to commute.

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Policy, Transportation

Second Avenue Subway station, courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed FY 2019 budget, released earlier this month, calls on New York City to increase its funding to the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, forcing the city to pay half of the authority’s $836 million emergency action plan. Another provision in the governor’s proposal allows the MTA to create special “transit improvement” districts and impose higher taxes on property owners in these areas in order to raise money for subway repairs and projects. According to the New York Times, the governor’s plan, known as “value capture,” would apply to future projects that would cost over $100 million. Like most issues involving both state and city cooperation, this proposal has continued the rift over MTA funding between the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has already expressed disapproval of the plan. Find out more

affordable housing, Boerum Hill, New Developments, Policy

Rendering of 120 3rd Avenue via Aufgang Architects

The city announced on Thursday their selection of two developers, Arker Companies and Two Trees Management, to build two 16-story apartment towers on parking lots at Wyckoff Gardens, a New York City Housing Authority property in Brooklyn. However, according to the Daily News, the owners of both companies have raised a total of $124,600 for Mayor Bill de Blasio, bringing into question the influence of donations on the city’s choice of the two developers.

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Policy, Transportation

R211 subway car prototype © MTA/Flickr

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday delayed a vote on construction contracts to renovate two stations in the Bronx and six in Manhattan after MTA members, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, objected. The contracts fall under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion plan to outfit 33 subway stations with countdown clocks, LED lighting, USB ports and other amenities. The board’s city representatives questioned why so much money was being put towards unnecessary, cosmetic improvements at stations that are in decent condition already, instead of funding signal and track repairs. As the New York Times reported, the decision to postpone the vote has ramped up the public dispute between de Blasio and Cuomo over MTA funding.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo via Wikimedia

Editor’s Note: Although City Hall previously said the mayor would meet with Trump, on Wednesday he tweeted: “I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, the first meeting between the two since the president’s inauguration. De Blasio, along with the rest of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will discuss infrastructure funding with Trump, who is expected to release his long-awaited plan this month. During his campaign, the president pledged to introduce a $1 trillion proposal in his first 100 days in office, later changing the deadline to the third quarter. The White House claimed a detailed infrastructure plan would be released in early January (h/t Daily News).

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affordable housing, Policy

NYC affordable housing

Photo via Wikimedia

In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration opened just 10 out of the 20 shelters planned for New York City under an initiative aimed at curbing the city’s growing homelessness crisis. Last February, the city unveiled its “Turning the Tide on Homelessness” plan that included opening 90 shelters over five years, with about 20 shelters each in 2017 and 2018. But, according to the New York Times, the city fell short of its target last year, opening just half the number of shelters planned due to delays in the permit process, time-consuming negotiations with nonprofits that run the shelters and backlash from the community and public officials. Under de Blasio, the homeless population has grown. When the mayor took office in 2014, about 68,000 New Yorkers were without homes. Today, roughly 77,000 people are considered homeless in NYC, with 3,900 on the street, the largest homeless population in the U.S.

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Policy, Transportation

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.

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affordable housing, Policy

bill de blasio, housing new york 2.0, affordable housing

Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced another record-breaking affordable housing milestone: the city financed more than 24,500 affordable homes in 2017, the highest number in nearly three decades. Over the past four years, the de Blasio administration has created or preserved more than 87,500 affordable housing units, on pace to meet the city’s goal of 300,000 units by 2026. Under “Housing New York 2.0,” which the mayor unveiled in October, 25,000 affordable apartments will be secured each year until 2021. About half of the homes are set aside for individuals making $33,400 annually or $43,000 annually for a family of three.

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affordable housing, Policy, Stuy Town

Photo courtesy of Stuy Town

The sprawling Stuyvesant Town complex on Manhattan’s east side is no stranger to controversy and drama, and here’s some more to add to the list. The city’s budget watchdog agency is saying that Mayor de Blasio’s office inflated the benefits of a deal to keep affordable housing at the complex in exchange for $220 million in taxpayer subsidies, according to the Daily News. This is based off the highly-publicized 2015 sale of Stuy Town, the biggest single deal done under de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. But a new report by the Independent Budget Office believes the city is getting less from the complex sales agreement than it claimed.

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affordable housing, Policy

Photo via Public Domain Pictures

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday another plan aimed at adding to New York City’s affordable housing inventory, while combating homelessness. As the New York Times reported, the plan converts hundreds of cluster apartments, occupied by homeless families across the city, into permanently affordable units. Cluster or scatter-site housing are typically private apartments in buildings in which landlords rent out to the city to house homeless people. To lower the number of homeless New Yorkers and add more affordable housing, the city’s plan could potentially place 3,000 people into permanent housing, allowing some homeless families to remain in the same apartment and not be considered homeless any longer by the city.

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