Today’s Headlines

  • Paterson Wants to Shift Transit Tax Burden From ‘Burbs at City’s Expense (SAS, Crain’s, WNYC, NY1)
  • Haberman: What Are Dems to Do With "Slasher Senator" Monserrate? Sampson Won’t Say (Post)
  • John Liu Says Disabled Placards Are Ripe for the Picking (News)
  • Astoria Drivers Victimized by Cheap Parking (News)
  • MTA: Stiffed by Ad Agency; Slammed for F and G Interruptions (News, Post)
  • What’s It Like to Depend on Access-A-Ride? (NYT)
  • Anchors Aweigh on the Glasgow Amfibus (Guardian)
  • Bail Revoked for Accused Miami DWI Killer Carlos Bertonatti (New Times)
  • 12-Year-Old in Brooklyn Critical After Being Chased Into Street, Hit by SUV Driver (News)
  • Here It Comes: Man Crashes Into Queens Synagogue, Blames His Toyota (News, Post)
  • With 100 U.S. Traffic Deaths Per Day, Sticky Gas Pedals Are the Least of It (AOL)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Under the new proposal, New York City businesses would now contribute 88 percent of all mobility tax revenues, up from 70 percent. This will ensure a more equitable distribution of tax liability in line with the fact that New York City is the destination for over 90 percent of weekday ridership.”

    And what is NYC’s share of MTA subsidies — the share of those rides not paid by riders? What is NYC residents’ share of the pay and benefits of MTA workers and retirees.

    Looks like Lew Fidler wins again.

    City workers aren’t affected by the higher tax, because their pay is controlled by contract, and thus cannot be shifted to them. The result is more NYC service cuts and tax increases.

    Retirees don’t pay it. Then again, retirement income is exempt from all state and local income taxes.

    The rich won’t pay it, because it is on wage income not investment income.

    Businesses can avoid it by moving to New Jersey, or firing their younger workers and turning them into independent contractors, also taking away their health insurance.

    Streetsbloggers may notice this deal because of their interest in transportation, but I can point to dozens like it. The most devastating was probably slashing the city’s state school aid while increasing it to the rest of the state in the first year of the Pataki Administration. Set the schools back a decade which, if you were a child in the schools (or forced to go elsewhere as a result) is forever.

    I expect a repeat of that one at some point. In every recession, NYC’s share of state school aid (including the back door form of school aid known as STAR) is cut way below its share of the state’s children. The UFT usually gets a pension enhancement as part of the deal, and they have proposed being allowed to retire at 50 already.

  • Patterson’s payroll tax hike proposal is nonsensical. If there’s a shortfall, why not raise the tax in all counties served by the MTA, not just the five boroughs? The gov admits that his proposal raises only $230 million of the needed $400 million gap. To hit the number he needs he should be raising the tax in the outer service area too, not cutting it. And given the metro area’s tax donor status, it wouldn’t be unfair to spread some of the pain to the upstate recipient areas.

  • Larry Littlefield

    What is nonsensical is to expect anything else. This tax was sold as a benefit to New York City at the expense of the suburbs, even though it wasn’t.

    Note my concern expressed on Room Eight a while back:

    http://www.r8ny.com/blog/larry_littlefield/fta_2007_operating_cost_data_the_subway_is_cost_effective_but_will_have_to_be_more_so_or_die_with_the_res

    “Let’s focus on the subway for a moment. There are those who would be pleased that the subway was covering less of its costs in 2007. There are some who agree with me on other things who would like the subway to be free, even if it meant less money for maintenance and service. As I’ve argued on other forums, however, the subway’s reliance on operating subsidies, and New York City’s reliance on the subway, allows the city’s transit riders to be blackmailed and treated as welfare queens by people and places whose transit systems — and roads — are far more subsidized than the subway.”

    “Rather than beg for a bailout to be blamed on those residents and subway riders, a bailout that will prove to be inadequate, New York City and its transit riders would have been better off under the MTA’s so-called “doomsday” scenario, or worse. Because with some adjustments the subway could cover its cost and keep operating, when other parts of the transit system would have to shut down. Most people don’t read my posts, don’t read the newspaper, unless they are reading about celebrities, and will not stop sneering at those they are in fact draining until reality hits them in the face.”

    So, New York City residents and businesses are treated like welfare Queens, even as others are subsidized far more, and we get doomsday anyway. A particular doomsday in which there are more cuts in the city than the suburbs. I ask again, what is the city’s share of MTA subsidies, operating and capital spending minus fares? I have that data at home, not in the office, but it isn’t 90 percent.

  • TKO

    Correction to yesterdays last news story?

    The latest is that it was not the Secret Service that ran over conservative blogger Jim Treacher, but possibly a security employee of the State Department.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    The suburbs exist to extract value from the city, the MTA is only one tool in the cabinet. There are no solutions short of annexation. For all the press about the North Fork seceding it is funny no one talks about the 51st State option. Breslin and Mailer for Mayor.

  • TKO: Yesterday we linked to three stories using the headline “Tale of DC Blogger Hit by G-Man Less About Street Safety Than Partisan Sniping.” No corrections needed that I can see.

  • Pete

    Reading one of the local North Fork papers, they’re understandably upset about the MTA. Train service out there is already awful (2 trains/day, geared around commuting to the city), and now the MTA is proposing to get rid of that entirely, save weekend trains in the summertime.

    It’s still diesel out there – you have to change at Ronkonkoma to get out there. Locals have been chomping at the bit, asking for the right to take over the service, and I can’t say I really disagree – the MTA’s focus is entirely about getting people in and out of the city, and all they want is more frequent and reliable service.

    If the MTA isn’t going to provide the service, why not let them take over?

  • Can NYC Transit secede form the MTA?

  • “Under the new proposal, New York City businesses would now contribute 88 percent of all mobility tax revenues, up from 70 percent. This will ensure a more equitable distribution of tax liability in line with the fact that New York City is the destination for over 90 percent of weekday ridership.”

    Does anyone know exactly what that quote means? If someone commutes from a suburb to New York City, does that count as ridership with New York City as the destination?

    Of course, after work, that same person commutes back from New York City with the suburb as the destination. The tax liability should not all fall on NY city.

  • John C.

    @BicyclesOnly: you wouldn’t like it if NYC transit separated from the MTA. That’s the situation we have here in San Francisco, with Bart and Muni as different agencies. You’d have a future of 2nd ave. subway funds re-allocated to build a new Westchester Airport line. Yes, it really is that bad here.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Pete, there are many people at the MTA and LIRR that would love to run more local service, connecting with BRT on the major north south routes. But what if they did, that service would interfere with the East-West rush hour commute into the Golden Mountain in Manhattan and the Long Island political class would rush to protect the Manhattan commuters, that is the history of this service.

    Presently, a Nassau Democratic Senator, Craig Johnson, has been bravely fighting off the main-line third track program from his seat (and veto) on the Capital Plan Review Board. So the MTA gets condemned for spending money in the city (even if a lot of it is on an LIRR capital project, East Side Access) and it gets condemned for spending money on Long Island.

    Main-Line third track is supposed to do all three, smooth commutes to the city, enable reverse commutes from the city to LI and enhance local service possibilities. Yet, it faces bi-partisan opposition. Go figure.

  • BicyclesOnly

    John C.,

    I understand your point and hope you’ll see I was engaging in a bit of simplistic hyperbole for effect. But only a bit. Because it seems that in fact we are losing MTA capital funds and core NYC Transit services that are primarily for the benefit of the urban core with each new revelation of shortfall, and that those resources seem to be going into a general pot for operating revenue that is used to disproportionately benefit suburban transit service. If NYC Transit were under the exclusive political control of NYC government, it might have less resources than it does now but presumably would not be using them to subsidize commuter rail operating costs any more than it would use them to build an airport in Westchester.