ALBANY, NY—Senator Sue Serino today called on New Yorkers to hold lawmakers accountable for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) ‘reorganization’ by releasing the statement below following the passage of the State Budget Revenue bill, also known as the ‘Big Ugly’:
“Since the job-killing MTA payroll tax was put into place in 2009, the entire $1.5 billion that the tax brings in has been consumed by growing operating costs. An in-depth analysis shows that the MTA construction costs are about seven times higher than the global average.
Enough is enough. It is clear that the system is absolutely broken and it is critical that the state reins in waste and curbs these runaway costs before wasting another single taxpayer dollar.
Since taking office, I have been calling for an independent forensic audit of the MTA and I am encouraged to see that this bill finally includes that express requirement. However, I am having a very hard time understanding why this body is not only considering, but passing a new commuter tax before the results of an independent audit are known. I am having an even harder time understanding why the bill would expressly require a reorganization plan be put together in only three months and be released before the forensic audit is actually scheduled to be completed.
This calls into question the authenticity of the intentions to reform this broken system and I am urging New Yorkers not to let another MTA gimmick slip by—it is time to hold this Authority accountable. Before the state takes in a single dollar of new revenue for the money pit that is the broken MTA, the State needs to fully comprehend its failings and put a plan in place to ensure efficiency and a smart use of taxpayer dollars.
I urge my colleagues to take this initiative seriously, because I know that my constituents, and New Yorkers around the state, are sick and tired of being considered an ATM for the MTA. This is just one of the many reasons that I voted ‘no’ on this outrageous, irresponsibly wasteful budget bill.”
Under the ‘MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Act’ included in the Senate Revenue bill (S. 1509C), the MTA must complete a reorganization plan by June 30, 2019, but an Independent Forensic Audit is not scheduled to be completed until January 1, 2020, and the MTA will implement a commuter tax less than a year later on December 31, 2020.