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Reduced-fare MetroCards may soon become a reality for low-income straphangers, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have reached a deal Wednesday to provide roughly $100 million in funding to the program. The mayor’s agreement with Speaker Corey Johnson, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of a Fair Fares program, means the city would fully subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four.
Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. Under the tentative deal, the city would allocate $106 million in its upcoming budget, which would pay for six months of the program beginning in January, according to the New York Times.
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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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The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s plans to add 10 additional blocks to the South Village Historic District are at the top of the agenda for city preservationist groups. As Crains reports, the addition of the historic district is also a condition for a City Council vote in support of the St. John’s Center development, a 1.7 million-square-foot, mixed-use project proposed for 550 Washington Street across the street from Pier 40 in Hudson River Park. That project requires the council’s approval, and City Councilman Corey Johnson said in August that he’d vote for the project, proposed by developers Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group, if the addition of the third and final phase of the historic district, currently bordered by Sixth Avenue, West Fourth Street, LaGuardia Place and Houston Street, goes forward. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), among others, has pushed for the landmarking of what would be the city’s first tenement-based historic district.
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