(New York, NY) – Following weeks of chronic delays and historic failures throughout the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) system, especially involving the New York City subway and Long Island Railroad, Senator Michael Gianaris will introduce his "Better Trains, Better Cities" legislation establishing an emergency manager to oversee the maintenance and operation of MTA trains and creating a temporary, dedicated revenue stream to fund urgent repairs. Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell will sponsor the bill in the Assembly.
Modeled on the successful Safe Streets, Safe City program that played a large role in reducing high crime rates in the 1990s, "Better Trains, Better Cities" would similarly create a temporary surge of dedicated revenue to deal with an ongoing crisis and help New Yorkers solve a serious problem caused by years of neglect and underinvestment. Like Safe Streets, Safe City, the surcharges would expire at a time certain, in this case in three years.
Senator Michael Gianaris said, “The dismal state of our mass transit is as much of a crisis today as rampant crime was decades ago, and it requires the same attention and dedication of resources to solve. My 'Better Trains, Better Cities' plan provides the focus and resources necessary to reduce the chronic delays and service interruptions plaguing our system and end the nightmare commuting has become for too many New Yorkers."
Assemblymember Danny O’ Donnell, “With a daily ridership of nearly 5.7 million people, the New York City subways are an integral component of our economy and New York State's tourism industry. Whether ferrying workers, students, or visitors, our public transportation system is expected to operate as advertised - on time. We have reached a transportation emergency, with over 70,000 delays in service every month, most of which affect already underserved communities. The economic impact is drastic, which made partnering with Senator Gianaris on this common sense solution a simple decision. An emergency manager approved by both houses of the legislature would ensure that future funds are spent responsibly and equitably.”
Under this legislation, an emergency manager would be nominated by the Governor and confirmed separately by the Assembly and State Senate. The appointee must be confirmed within 90 days of his/her nomination and must present both the Assembly and Senate with a comprehensive plan of action before a confirmation vote is held.
Additionally, the proposal would create a temporary 3-year surcharge on personal income taxes for those in the MTA region earning more than $1 million annually. The personal income tax surcharge would be graduated starting with those earning between $1m-$5m and increasing for those earning between $5m-$10m and those earning over $10m. It is estimated that this surcharge would raise more than $2 billion annually, which would be dedicated exclusively to maintaining and upgrading the MTA system at the discretion of the emergency manager.