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Eric Adams says city can’t afford Hochul’s $500M request to fund MTA

Mayor Eric Adams expressed trepidation this week a couple of element of Governor Kathy Hochul’s plan to rescue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that calls on the city to contribute an additional $500 million per yr to the cash-strapped authority.

On Monday, the mayor mentioned on Fox 5 that the city merely couldn’t afford to contribute such a sum, notably because the city navigates its personal perilous fiscal scenario as federal COVID help runs dry and the municipal price range is being stretched to cowl the migrant disaster.

“A half a billion dollars is a lot of money, particularly when you look at, in 2025, we’re going to hit a fiscal cliff,” mentioned Hizzoner. “I keep saying this over and over again. Federal dollars are going to run out. We’re dealing with this year, fiscal year, $1.4 billion in the migrants. Next year, $2.8 billion. We have the class size bill with capital dollars that are taking place. We are in a financial crisis, and I have to be fiscally prudent to navigate us throughout this turbulent period.”

What’s extra, the mayor grumbled, no different municipality within the MTA’s service space — like Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties — is being requested to straight fork over funds just like the city.

“That is too much money to be part of New York City’s budget,” the mayor identified. “New York City has taken a hit, and what is even more troubling, no other municipality in the state is being asked to make that contribution to the MTA system. I’m just not clear on why.”

Adams acknowledged that his administration intends to sit down with the administration to register their complaints and hash out a deal that works for everybody.

The elevated contribution is simply a part of the governor’s sprawling plan to save the fiscally-troubled MTA, the place ridership has plummeted for the reason that onset of the pandemic and the place the authority faces a “fiscal cliff” as federal help dries up. Ridership additionally stays at low ranges as many individuals proceed to do business from home.

The governor has additionally proposed a slight enhance within the payroll mobility tax, which is anticipated to generate $800 million in income, plus a one-time $300 million money injection from the state, and $400 million in MTA-identified cost-cutting.

The governor mentioned the MTA’s funds might be additional shored up in upcoming years, with a whole lot of thousands and thousands in anticipated annual revenues from new casinos.

The $500M city contribution is one a part of Governor Hochul’s proposal to rescue the cash-strapped MTA. File Picture by Paul Frangipane

Hochul’s plan is not going to forestall a pair of 5.5% fare hikes deliberate for this yr and 2025, which may carry the price of a subway or bus journey above $3 for the primary time. However it will forestall painful service cuts and layoffs, MTA brass contend, averting a possible “death spiral” scenario the place skimpier service causes riders to abandon the system, additional imperiling the company financially.

With out new income, the MTA’s $19.2 billion austerity price range faces a $600 million deficit this yr, even accounting for the cost-cutting and fare hikes. The company is legally required to produce a balanced price range. Left untreated, the deficit would develop to an untenable $1.6 billion by 2026, the authority claims.

Reached for remark, Hochul spokesperson Avi Small famous that the $500 million request is particularly earmarked to help city-specific providers, specifically paratransit operations and reduced-fare Pupil MetroCards, which is presently paid for by Albany.

“Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget makes transformative investments to make New York more affordable, more livable and safer, and she looks forward to working with the legislature on a final budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers,” Small mentioned in a press release. “We know Mayor Adams shares the Governor’s belief that the MTA is the lifeblood of New York City, and we look forward to working together on these investments to support a vital service that millions of New Yorkers rely on.”

Small famous that the overwhelming majority of MTA riders — about 84% — are New York City residents, and mentioned the city has the cash to give extra for its residents, citing Hizzoner’s own preliminary budget presentation.

Twenty p.c of the MTA’s revenues from payroll taxes come from the counties outdoors the 5 boroughs served by the MTA, mentioned Small. These embrace Nassau and Suffolk counties, served by the Lengthy Island Rail Highway, and Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, and Orange counties, served by Metro-North. Every of these counties has a considerably greater median revenue than the city, in accordance to US Census information.

Requested for remark at an unrelated press convention, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber directed amNewYork Metro to his testimony to the state Meeting and Senate this week through the first of Albany’s marathon of price range hearings, the place he mentioned paratransit funding.

“Of all the things that we share, the Governor proposed to give the City a lot of money in other ways, this is one where we think the City should be paying the whole tab…,” Lieber mentioned. “That’s the proposal. Yeah, the $500 million you are talking about.”

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