The final budget agreement reached by Albany leadership will not make additional cuts to transit funding, a state budget division spokesperson confirmed this afternoon. Negotiations with the legislature did not ultimately change the total amount of transit funding from Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget, which raided $100 million from dedicated transit funds.
During budget negotiations, it was possible that the MTA would lose another $170 million. The Senate wanted to provide a $70 million exemption from the payroll mobility tax for school districts while the Assembly was opposed to Cuomo’s plan to use $100 million in their discretionary funds for transit. There were also high-level discussions about somehow responding to the massive Long Island Bus cuts. As promised by Assembly Member Jim Brennan’s office, however, the MTA did not lose any more money in budget negotiations. We are still waiting for confirmation that the structure of transit funding, in addition to the top-line number, remains the same as in the executive budget.
Update: We originally reported that the budget included a requirement that the MTA hire an accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit of the authority. The forensic audit was included in a Senate-only version of the budget bill, however. The final version of the budget, as presented to Governor Cuomo, does not include the requirement for a forensic audit.