The Governor’s Executive Budget proposal is a refreshing new approach to funding transit as the essential service it, recognizing it as the economic engine of the New York region and the entire northeast. Simply put, an investment in the MTA is a wise investment. Her proposals will support the MTA not only for the next few years, but in the new funding construct we need in the long-term so riders aren’t left wondering what happens to them next if the MTA lurches from crisis to crisis.
Having a steady hand at the helm and a fiscally-sound path forward after the topsy-turvy, uncertain past few years is reassuring ‒ for riders and our regional economy. The New York City Transit Riders Council, LIRR Commuter Council and Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council appreciate Governor Hochul for her commitment, and our elected state legislators for their understanding and dedication to bus, subway, Staten Island Rail, LIRR and Metro-North riders. We are determined to ensure that riders and transit remain the top priority throughout the budget process.
Having the city’s support for the transit system will bring a positive change, contrasting with the past. The collaboration between the administrations shows that by working together, we can get more stuff done than by working against each other. The MTA is investing in itself, demonstrating that it’s not just relying on other people’s money, but looking inward for savings and efficiencies. Furthermore, using future casino revenue is a smart gamble and will be a win for riders. These new as-yet-to-be-sited destination locations will be a huge draw, and transit will be the best way to get to the tables. Using profits to support subways, buses and commuter trains is a sure bet. A slight increase in the Payroll Mobility Tax is a small price to pay for ensuring we have a strong and stable system that will get riders to the jobs that support the region’s economy.
Investment in mental health, housing, and gun safety is an investment in ensuring that riders are safer in the system, and that they feel safer when using transit. A continuum of care that also addresses the root causes of many problems experienced by those in mental health and/or homeless crisis will go far to make a real difference.
We thank the Governor for recognizing the importance of maintaining service levels— that means no service cuts—to help our transit system, city, and region recover. Funding bus improvements like ABLE will help speed up our bus system, the backbone of transit for the many riders who live in subway or rail deserts. Of course, supporting and improving the “T” in Transit Oriented Development is critical, and it goes hand in hand with continuing to make stations, service, and accessibility better to help to create a thriving and more sustainable region.
It’s especially fitting that Governor Hochul has announced the strong funding proposals for transit in her Executive Budget during Transit Equity Week. Transit supports New Yorkers of all races, incomes, backgrounds, and genders: an investment in the MTA is an investment in all of us. Working class riders depend heavily on transit to get them where they need to go, and by staving off service cuts and ensuring a strong and fiscally stable MTA, Governor Hochul has shown that she knows it is vital to supporting New Yorkers. Adequately funding the MTA will help sustain our transit system for generations to come, creating a more sustainable and thriving region.