Tuesday, January 17, 2012
UPDATED Well, the numbers are out, and the Governor is proposing the New York MTA get $251 million to plug what its losing from the payroll tax the Governor cut last year.
However, while there are no cuts, the MTA's budget remains flat, even as ridership is increasing. Which means, the authority still has a $35 million budget gap to close, as it announced in December.
(Full analysis of the budget here.)
The $251 million is somewhat less than the $310 million the MTA will lose as a result of the MTA payroll tax cut, although the state argued in a conference call with transit activists today that that's actually not less than the MTA needs, because the tax cut doesn't go into effect until April 1, three months after the MTA's budget did.
[Confusingly, in the text accompanying the budget numbers, the state says it will give $190 million more to the MTA than it did from the general fund last year, which "includes $250 million to the MTA." Waiting for an explanation on that one to from the governor's office. If past is prologue, that may take some time to sort out.]
There's also $770 million for capital construction aid (as the MTA has outlined in its capital plan.)
Both Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers' campaign and Kate Slevin of Tri-State Transportation Commission seemed to feel they'd dodged a bullet in the FY 2013 budget.
Even Transportation Alternatives had generally kind, if wary, words:
“Today’s budget treats transit riders with respect and is a step in the right direction for New York,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We need the governor to treat public transit as a priority, not an afterthought. "
The governor is also proposing $1.16 billion to start off his "New York Works" infrastructure bank for "bridges, roads, and major infrastructure projects," with most of that money ($917 million) coming from the federal government.
The budget also includes $9.7 million to improve Amtrak rail service.
And: if you live in Broad Channel or the Rockaways, the state will reimburse you for your tolls, if Governor Cuomo has his way.