Next NY Governor Must Reinvest in Mass Transit to Avoid State Fiscal Disaster
Report Proposes Five Steps to End Harmful Cycle of Disinvestment and Debt in Transit System
With New York's gubernatorial election less than two weeks away, a report jointly released today by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and Transportation Alternatives urges the candidates for governor to make a commitment to ending the MTA's long history of costly borrowing and to reinvesting in public transit in order to drive economic growth, create good jobs, boost the state's economic competitiveness, and save state taxpayers significant money in the long run.
The report reveals that the disinvestment and debt crippling the MTA are the result of years of failed decisions by state legislators and recent governors. Hard evidence and data are presented to show that fiscal reform in Albany requires the next governor to pursue five major actions to safeguard public transit:
1. Return the $160 million taken from the MTA over the last year by the state legislature and prevent state lawmakers from using dedicated transit funds for other purposes.
2. End the fiscally irresponsible reliance on debt by restoring the state's contribution to the MTA capital program to 20 percent of the program's cost.
3. Protect millions of straphangers from threats to repeal the mobility tax which, if repealed, would result in yearly MTA budget deficits of over one billion dollars.
4. Create sustainable sources of transit revenue, funded by everyone who benefits from transit, including riders, drivers and businesses.
5. Lead New York's congressional delegation to secure higher levels of federal funding that would help expand public transit service access to underserved areas.
"Empty rhetoric about abolishing or restructuring the MTA fails to address the heart of the matter: how the gubernatorial candidates would hold state lawmakers accountable for decisions that caused the severe service cuts and painful fare hikes now disproportionately affecting lower and moderate income working families," said John Petro, urban policy analyst at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy. "To be a true Albany reformer, our next governor must have a real vision and plan for how to tame the MTA's runaway debt and establish sustainable revenue to ensure that the public transit system serves all New Yorkers."
"Public transit is the economic engine of New York, and our next governor needs to recognize that buses, subways and trains keep our city running," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. "The MTA is not an ATM for the Legislature, and by starving the MTA of vital infrastructure funding, the Legislature starves all New Yorkers. "Our next elected leaders need to put the MTA back on solid financial footing while asking everyone who benefits from public transit--including drivers--to pay their fair share."
About the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI)
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