Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) It's been a bit of an unhealed wound for transit advocates -- the redirection last year of some $160 million in revenue collected by the NYC MTA to New York State's General Fund. Facing its own multi-billion budget gap, the state Senate helped itself to some $160 million in dedicated revenues for transit, driving the MTA's budget gap to $800 million and helping bring about the most severe transit cuts in more than a generation. At a press conference today announcing an environmental settlement, New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo was asked if he'd do the same. Here's his answer:
Cuomo: "I understand the concern. Everyone -- especially in a declining budget environment, where we are now, everyone -- we just met with the environmental groups. They're very concerned that nobody raids the funds that should be going to the environment.
"People who are involved in transit want to make sure nobody raids the funds that are involved in mass transit. I understand the concerns, and that's the balance of putting together the budget."
REPORTER: That means you're not committed to allowing the money --
Cuomo: "You can't say -- money is fungible to a certain extent. There are a lot of needs the state has to fund and it's the balancing of those needs that will be done through the budget process."