Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
James Vacca

Vacca and Advocates to Albany: No More Transit Raids

Transit advocates and City Council transportation committee chair Jimmy Vacca are sounding the alarm about potential transit funding raids before the year is out. A $315 million hole has opened up in the state budget, and unless elected officials change the way they balance the state's books, straphangers could end up paying for Albany's fiscal mess -- again.

It could happen again. Graphic:

Last December, Albany swiped $143 million in MTA funding -- most of which came from dedicated transit taxes -- to cover the state's budget gap. That funding would have been enough to prevent all the subway and bus cuts that the MTA enacted this year. More recently, Albany took $16.7 million in dedicated transit tax revenue to make up for a shortfall in federal Medicaid assistance.

Now the state is looking at a midyear budget deficit of $315 million. Vacca, NYPIRG's Straphangers Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign sent a letter today to Governor Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate leader John Sampson warning against another transit raid. It concludes:

Straphangers face the real possibility of additional service cuts or fare hikes if the MTA cannot identify steady funding sources. At a time when the State should be focused on shoring up the future of mass transit funding -- and restoring the $143 million that was diverted last year -- conducting another ‘sweep’ would send a terrible message.

Denying the MTA any additional funds from its dedicated tax stream at this time would be a short-term fix with severe long-term consequences. We urge you to take a different route.

The state's repeated looting of dedicated MTA revenues is a problem that Albany may have to address before incoming governor Andrew Cuomo assumes office. And it will still rear its head after Cuomo becomes governor.

Streetsblog will be taking a closer look at what Cuomo, Sheldon Silver's Assembly, and the State Senate (likely under the leadership of Long Island Republican Dean Skelos) can do to protect straphangers and preserve the integrity of the MTA's funding streams. Stay tuned.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Microtranist Is Taxpayer Funded Uber, Advocates Warn — And It’s a Threat to Real Transit

American cities are falling for the "false promise" of microtransit, a top transportation union argues — and we're all going to be the ones who pay for it.

May 20, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Road Safety is No Accident Edition

There were two big stories over the weekend — and both were about street safety. Plus other news.

May 20, 2024

Garbage Company Involved in Fatal Crash Will Ply Streets of Eastern Queens, Too

The private garbage company whose truck driver struck and killed a Manhattan pedestrian on Thursday according to police has won the right to pick up trash in a wide swath of Southeast Queens, raising concern for safety there.

May 17, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Fleet Week Edition

Some good news about the city fleet. Plus other news from a busy day.

May 17, 2024

DOT Proposes Bus Lanes To Speed Up Crosstown Transit In Upper Manhattan

Bus lanes are coming to 96th Street as part of a handful of last minute transit and streetscape changes for congestion pricing.

May 17, 2024
See all posts