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Widening Coalition Calls Out Cuomo for Abandoning Transit

2:31 PM EST on December 9, 2011

Anger over Governor Cuomo's disregard for transit riders during this week's special session continues to grow. Since yesterday, two new organizations have signed on to a letter calling out the governor for neutering transit lockbox legislation that the State Assembly and State Senate had passed unanimously. The League of Women's Voters of New York City and the Center for Working Families are the new signatories.

By taking out disclosure requirements triggered by future Albany raids on dedicated transit funds, Cuomo "eviscerated" the bill, as a staffer for Assembly sponsor Jim Brennan told Streetsblog. Cuomo's lockbox play came on top of his deal with the Senate Republicans to cut the MTA payroll tax by $320 million a year, money which the MTA may or may not ever see reimbursed.

The lockbox letter highlights the broad coalition dismayed by Cuomo's abandonment of his ostensible commitments to transit and good government. Read it in full, and see the list of supporters, below:

Amalgamated Transit UnionNYS Council of MachinistsCenter for Working FamiliesNY League of Conservation VotersCitizens Committee for NYCReinvent AlbanyCommon Cause/ NYStraphangers Campaign NYPIRGGeneral Contractors AssociationTransportation AlternativesLeague of Women Voters City of NYTri-State Transportation CampaignLeague of Women Voters NY StateTWU Local 100Natural Resources Defense Council


December 8, 2011

Our groups are disappointed that Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority leader Skelosand Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver used this special session to effectively nullifythe provisions of the transit “lock box” bill that was overwhelmingly passed duringthe regular session. We thank State Senator Marty Golden and Assembly memberJim Brennan for their leadership sponsoring the original bill.

The original legislation made it more difficult for the governor to unilaterally divertMTA dedicated transit funds, and required an impact statement detailing the effectson transit service if dedicated funds were taken. The “lockbox” bill (S.4257C/A.6766C) was a reaction to the diversion of $260 million in dedicated transit fundsover the last three years. These diversions contributed to the worst metropolitan-area transit service cuts in memory.

We do not support the substitute legislation passed in this special session. It doesnot constrain future raids on transit funds, and deletes the requirement that theimpacts of the diversion of transit dedicated funds be reported.

The strong principle of the original legislation – that MTA dedicated transit fundsshould be spent on transit, attracted a wide range of supporters, listed below, andeditorial endorsements from the New York Times and Crain’s.

Groups endorsing the now nullified “Transit Lockbox” Bill:

Amalgamated Transit Union, ATU Local 726, ATU Local 1056, ATU Local 1179ATU Local 1181-1061, American Council of Engineering Companies of New YorkAsian Americans for Equality, Center for Working Families, Citizens Committee for NYC,Common Cause/NY, Construction Industry Council, CUNY Institute for Urban Systems,DC 37, DC 37 Local 375B, DC37 Local 1655, Empire State Transportation Alliance,Environmental Defense Fund, General Contractors Association of New York, League ofWomen Voters of the City of NY, League of Women Voters of New York State, Long IslandContractors' Association, Inc. (LICA), MTA Coalition of Unions, National Conference ofFiremen and Oilers, New York Building Congress, NY League of Conservation Voters,NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, NYS Council of Machinists, NY State Legislative ConferenceBoard, NYS Transportation Equity Alliance, PCAC to MTA, Pratt Center for CommunityDevelopment, Regional Plan Association, Reinvent Albany, Teamsters Local 808, TransitRiders Action Committee, Transportation Alternatives, TWU Local 100, TWU Local 252,TWU Local2001, TWU Local 2054, Transport Workers International Union of America, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, UPROSE, We Act for Environmental Justice, Women's City Club.

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