State Legislature Passes MTA Rescue Bill

Hooray, hooray….. Albany saved the MTA & the millions of riders who depend on it. While some understand how much sarcasm I am oozing at moment, lets not take away from what “appears” to be good news to the common rider who does not know how the MTA works. The State Legislature officially passed the MTA rescue bill just a short time ago.

Lets take a look at the New York Times piece which talks about the bill’s passage while also acknowledging the questions that exist on how effective the bill really is. William Neuman & Nicholas Confessore had this to say:

The State Legislature passed a series of new taxes and fees late Wednesday night meant to keep New York’s base subway fare from rising above $2.25 this year. But the hastily drafted bill, approved largely along party lines, raised many questions about how the plan would work and how effective it would be in stabilizing the struggling Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In the short term, the plan would appear to raise significantly less money this year than in some earlier projections, although legislative staff members said it would be enough to get the authority through the year.

There were also questions about how a 50-cent surcharge on yellow cab rides in New York City would be collected from thousands of taxi drivers and owners.

And in the Senate, Republicans harshly criticized a promise in the bill to have the state reimburse school districts for the cost of a payroll tax, saying there was no guarantee the promise would be kept.

Questions also remained about the authority’s capital spending program, which is only partially financed in the rescue plan.

Click here for the complete report.

As noted in the New York Times piece I just presented, Republicans were critical of the proposal. Politicker NY’s Jimmy Vielkind has more on this angle:

Republicans have started formally making their case against the M.T.A. bailout bill, voicing objections for the record that will not, barring some unforeseen act, affect its final passage.

In the State Senate, Democrats Martin Malave Dilan and Bill Perkins answered questions as best they could. Dilan weathered the most blistering of the Republican storm, getting grilled by State Senators John Flanagan and Tom Libous.

Flanagan attempted to ask Dilan whether the bill, which he considered a “mandate,” would be subject to an executive order issued last week by David Paterson requiring more stringent reporting related to mandates.

Click here for the complete report.

The Republicans were fighting a losing battle after Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith swayed the last 2 Democratic Senators to his side. So their resistance towards the bill was nothing more than showmanship. While I agree that the bill should not have passed, the intentions I am basing it on versus the Republicans is completely different.

Regardless of what some might feel is good of this bill being passed, transit advocates know that this is not a victory. This is more of a long term defeat masquerading as a victory. When the MTA comes back in no time with more facts that show long term solutions are needed, what will Albany & the supporters of this bill say?

Their answers should be extremely interesting as either they will own up to the reality of what is needed or will continue to live in a fantasy world where stop-gap measures will fix the problem.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Their answer will be that of what they have been saying, they’ll look at it in the fall. I’ve been in situations like this where the short term solution helped but we all were devoted to a long term solution and got it done. Albany has to be fully devoted to public transportation if the short term won’t fall apart!

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