Wednesday’s Headlines: Big Budget Victories Edition
MTA world did a little dance on Tuesday after Gov. Hochul and state legislators unveiled the ultimate MTA rescue package: A state budget that closes the transportation authority’s fiscal hole, reduces the size of this year’s fare hike, dramatically expands camera enforcement of the bus right-of-way, and pilots free buses on one route in each borough.
The damage to the city wound up smaller than anticipated, meanwhile, with City Hall’s new annual contribution reduced from $500 million in Hochul’s proposal to $165 million in the final budget. City businesses did get specifically targeted with a payroll tax increase, but city commuters will get the free bus pilot plus $35 million in additional off-peak subway service. As a result of the new funding, weekend frequency will increase from every 10 minutes to every eight minutes on the G, J, and M trains in July, according to details reported on Tuesday by The Post and Daily News.
Additional midday service will also come to the C, N, and R trains in August, the report said. More improvements will follow in September and December.
The free bus pilot, meanwhile, will be much smaller than Hochul had announced last week. Instead of running for two years, the pilot will last just six months, Gothamist reported. Each borough will get one free bus route, which state Sen. Mike Gianaris said “will hopefully pave the way to more people getting back onto the system.”
MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, who has expressed skepticism of free buses, told NY1 on Monday that he wanted to use the pilot to study “how pricing can be used to grow ridership,” but added, “What we don’t want to do is to reinforce the idea that all the buses are free.”
“Strategically, it’s got to be not on the same route, as you know, five other bus lines so people are confused about what’s the paying bus and what’s not,” Lieber said.
Check out Streetsblog’s coverage of the budget:
- Julianne Cuba on Albany’s big budget miss — “Sammy’s Law,” which includes legislation to let the city set its speed limits to as low as 20 mph.
- Dave Colon on automated camera enforcement expansion and the less-than-fair payroll tax hike.
In other news:
- Streetsblog was one of two outlets that got a sneak peak at the Sanitation Department’s plan for trash containerization. Our story is up. The Times was also there.
- Eric Adams raises your rent (Gothamist, NY1, Crain’s)
- No charges filed after man strangles “disturbed” straphanger to death. (Daily News, NY Times, Gothamist)
- Aaron Gordon on all the ways you can keep in touch with the MTA now that it’s off Twitter. (Vice)
- NY1 checked in on deliveristas after months of high profile lithium battery fires.
- The Knickerbocker Ave. subway station is “raining” lead on Bushwick below. (amNY)
- His Penn Station prize on the line, Vornado’s Steve Roth teases new apartments. (Crain’s)
- D.C. has six million unpaid traffic tickets. (Washington Post)
- A box truck driver severely injured a man on the Upper East Side. (Upper East Site)
- Mayor Adams announced a major investment in Broadway Junction. (Crain’s, Patch, amNY, 6sqft)
- TLC-licensed “boro taxis,” a Bloomberg-era relic, don’t have to be green anymore. (The City)