Can Kibbles ‘n Bits Save the MTA?

rivera.jpgPhoto: The Daily Politics

While Majority Leader Malcolm Smith insists he can round up enough votes to pass the latest Senate MTA rescue plan, The Daily Politics reports that Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera participated in a rally today outside City Hall in protest of the proposal’s $1 taxi surcharge, a facet of the bill that has also drawn fire from Mayor Bloomberg.

Instead, Rivera thinks the answer to the MTA funding crisis is a tax on jet fuel, which ranks with the purchase of Canadian prescription drugs as the most far-fetched, nonsensical "solution" we’ve heard yet from Albany.

Of course, there’s still time for more, so let’s hear ’em: What’s the wackiest thing you can think of to slap a tax on to fund the MTA? Pet food? Cell phone minutes? Shoe strings? Nothing, apparently, is off limits.

Except driving.

  • Make everyone pay a $2 toll every time they use the subway or bus. That’ll teach ’em!

  • Tuna Loaf

    Sneakers and bicycle tires.

  • How about we tax tuna salad sandwiches? People eat alot of those. Or ugly suburban lawn displays around the holidays? Or best yet, let’s put a surcharge on oxygen consumption, that way people would breathe less.

  • I actually came up with a state wide bail out plan during my liquid lunch.

    Step 1. Remove all tolls, taxes and fares from everything.
    Step 2. Have a big press conference taking credit for saving NYS.
    Step 3. ?????
    Step 4. Profit.

    It’s just that easy.

  • How about we don’t tax anything, and instead let the MTA into bankruptcy, where it can have some of those 400-odd 75$K PR jobs shed and its Union contracts reviewed by a judge?

  • Dyker Heights-ian

    Or ugly suburban lawn displays around the holidays?


  • The State Senate passes a law defining the MTA as a bank, and the Authority applies for TARP funds.

    Future operating costs are funded with a tax on those ugly metal bedpost-looking fences and railings that have started infesting the outer boroughs.

  • Ian Turner

    Shoelaces. There’s no reason elitist pedestrians should get off scott-free in this transportation budget shortfall. Make walkers pay their fair share of infrastructure and operating costs!

  • vnm

    Lets give this jet fuel tax idea another look before we dump it.

    It would tax something that is acutely harmful for the environment, namely, carbon emissions injected directly into the upper levels of the atmosphere. It would encourage travelers to take Amtrak. Would it dampen tourism? Not more than a $2.50 subway base fare. I would still rather see tolls. But if a jet fuel tax can really generate $1.7 billion for mass transit, that is a lot of money.

  • Ian Turner

    vnm, wouldn’t it just shift flights over to Newark, and encourage people not to schedule their connections through New York?

  • I actually came up with a state wide bail out plan during my liquid lunch.

    I’ll vote for you, Mike!

  • vnm

    Well, all three NYC-area airports are pretty well at capacity, which is why they were/are trying to expand Stewart. So shifting to Newark wouldn’t be that easily accomplished. Anyway, the Port Authority controls all three.

  • Ian Turner

    The Port Authority, it should be noted, is not a New York State agency and is not controlled by the state legislature. I don’t think New Jersey would buy into this plan.

  • IsaacB

    $.25 per food item sold on street.
    $.05 per Twitter “tweet”.
    $.10 per ‘blog or facebook comment.
    $4.50 ped and bicycle toll on the East River bridges (that’ll show em).

    Seriously, I’m appalled at at the energy and politicking that’s being wasted in avoiding the inevitable. Just raise the fare. $3.00. $.50 earmarked for operations, $.50 for capital programs. The system will be supported and accountable to its riders. Less a$$-kissing of idiots in Albany. We’ll get a hue and cry from about all the “poor” people who’ll be “penalized”, but hey, the price of stuff sometimes goes up. Soda goes up, bagels go up, bread goes up. People buy them anyway. Enough bi–hing about the fare.

  • vnm

    I suppose if I had to rank my preferences for how to fund the MTA, based on what the State Senate has proposed or evaluated so far, it would be:

    1) tolls on the free bridges
    2) jet fuel tax
    3) payroll tax
    4) taxi surcharge funding upstate roads
    5) buying Canadian prescription drugs
    6) investing pension funds in the stock market
    7) cutting service and drastically raising fares and tolls on some bridges while keeping other bridges free

  • Ian Turner


  • I’m confused by how this jet fuel tax could be feasible. A $2 tax per gallon of jet fuel works out to an additional $20,000 per flight on your average cross-country flight on a 757. That works out to an additional $100 on your ticket, assuming the plane is at full capacity. This tax would make New York airports – and not just JFK and LGA – completely uncompetitive. Just because these airports and Newark are already at capacity doesn’t mean consumers won’t make a switch. Or, even worse, they will choose to drive instead.


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