Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Nickel-and-Dimes Transit Riders While Heaping $564 Million on the Van Wyck

2:18 PM EDT on April 12, 2017

Cuomo’s budget goes to extraordinary lengths to skim from transit while covering the tracks.

The Albany budget deal reached over the weekend makes it official: Governor Cuomo has broken his promise to make up for cuts to the MTA payroll tax in 2011. While the state shrinks its commitment to the MTA, other Cuomo economic development priorities are moving ahead, including an expansion of the Van Wyck budgeted for $564 million.

The final deal allocates $244 million from the state's general fund to the MTA operating budget, $65 million less than last year. That amount was supposed to be fixed at $320 million when Cuomo originally cut the payroll tax six years ago.

After advocates called out the governor's cut, legislators added $65 million to the MTA's capital program, and that provision is in the final budget. Cuomo spokesperson Jon Weinstein has been berating advocates for not counting this as a win, but Riders Alliance director John Raskin points to two reasons why this budget is a step backward for transit riders:

    • The $320 million was a recurring contribution that has now been reset at a lower level. The $65 million for the capital program is a one-off payment.
    • More importantly, there's no reason to believe the $65 million is actually an increase in the state's contribution to the capital program. That's because the state makes other direct payments to the capital program but does not specify the size of these payments at the time the budget is passed, Raskin says. The size of these other payments could be adjusted to offset the "addition" of $65 million -- Cuomo's MTA budget dance is so opaque there's no way to tell.

What's remarkable here, more than the amount in question, is that the Cuomo administration goes to such lengths to skim from the MTA and cover its tracks.

At a time when the transit system is straining under a huge pile of debt and deteriorating service is starting to repel riders, the governor should be going all out to expand core subway capacity and speed up bus service.

Instead Cuomo is nickel-and-diming transit riders while heaping hundreds of millions on highway expansion.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Labor Gains: Judge Tosses App Giants’ Suit to Stop Deliverista Minimum Wage

Justice Nicholas Moyne cleared the way for a long-delayed wage hike for workers who brave dangerous roads to bring food directly to New Yorkers.

September 29, 2023

Fed Up Bronxites Tell Mayor To Forget About Bus Ride Invitation After Fordham Road ‘Betrayal’

"I really would think that our mayor would be a little bit more active and speak with us, because he hasn't really made any time with riders. We're not the enemy. We just want better bus service."

September 29, 2023

City Pays $150K to Settle Suit Over Cops Who Harassed Man Who Reported Police Parking Misconduct

Justin Sherwood and his lawyer will pocket $152,000 to settle his federal civil rights suit against the city and several officers who harassed him following his 311 calls.

September 28, 2023

Police Brass Gets Booed During E-Vehicle Safety Alliance Meeting for Applauding Deliveristas

Attendees of the E-Vehicle Safety Alliance's latest meeting castigated a Transportation Bureau deputy inspector for saying that delivery workers are responsive to safety issues.

September 28, 2023

Thursday’s Headlines: Unsafe School Streets Edition

A school crossing guard was injured by a drunk driver on Tuesday. Plus more news.

September 28, 2023
See all posts