(Astoria, NY) – Senator Michael Gianaris introduced legislation which would exempt the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) from a provision in the New York Public Authorities Law known as the State Governmental Cost Recovery System. Under this law, the MTA can be required to reimburse the State of New York for expenses incurred on the agency's behalf. The bill will be introduced in the Assembly by Assemblymember Danny O'Donnell.
The legislation comes after the revelation that the state directed the MTA to send $4.9 million to fund another authority that operates three state-run ski areas. The MTA is currently in a 'state of emergency' and is suffering from years of underfunding and mismanagement.
"With misplaced priorities like these, it's no surprise the MTA is in such a serious crisis," said Senator Michael Gianaris. "The state should fight to secure more funds for the MTA, not divert precious MTA resources to unrelated causes."
Assembly Member Daniel J. O'Donnell said, "As the Chair of the New York State Assembly's Tourism Committee, I understand the many economic drivers for our state - including our wonderful ski areas and New York City's public transportation system. However, it's clear that prioritizing reimbursements over repairs is what has driven us to this transportation crisis. With the MTA infrastructure in a steady decline well before this year, the logic of requests to divert funds this way comes into question. I hope this legislation is the first step in eliminating some of the many beaurocratic obstacles hindering a fix to our badly ailing system."
Senator Gianaris recently unveiled his ‘Better Trains, Better Cities' proposal, which would impose a temporary 3-year surcharge on those in the MTA region earning more than $1 million annually. The 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 between $6 billion and $7 billion over the three years of its existence, which would be dedicated exclusively to maintaining and upgrading the MTA system at the discretion of an emergency manager.