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Andrew Cuomo

First Look: Transit Money Getting Shuffled Around in Cuomo’s Budget

Governor Cuomo is coming out with his draft budget today, and some sort of transit funding raid is expected to be included in the package. The press release from his budget office includes these details about MTA funding:

The Executive Budget also provides a modest increase in cash operating support for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of $43 million, bringing total cash operating support to $3.8 billion, and for other transit systems of $2 million, bringing their combined total to $401 million.

Although the budget also provides $100 million to the MTA's capital program from redirected economic development funds, it also proposes using $165 million of Metropolitan Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Account funds to pay debt services on State bonds previously issued for the MTA capital program that otherwise would be paid from the General Fund and transferring $35 million in MMTOA funds to the General Fund.

My non-expert and unofficial reading of this is that there's $143 million on the positive side of the ledger for the MTA, and $200 million on the negative side, for a net loss of $57 million. Other interpretations welcome in the comments.

Note that only a very small fraction of the $3.8 billion "cash operating support" figure actually comes from the state's general fund -- the overwhelming majority comes from dedicated transit revenue streams like the payroll mobility tax.

It's possible that other budget actions affecting the MTA were not enumerated in the press release. We'll have more on these developments throughout the day.

UPDATE: The full briefing book on the executive budget is viewable here, for those inclined to dig into it.

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