ALBANY, NY—Senator Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park) announced today that her bill to cut Metropolitan Transportation Association (MTA)—related fees for residents of both Dutchess and Putnam counties passed in the Senate.

“For far too long, our communities have taken a backseat to the needs of the MTA and I hear constantly from constituents who are fed up with paying a  fee for a service that they simply do not utilize,” Senator Serino said. “We need to be working to provide taxpayers with the relief they deserve and directing resources towards improving and maintaining services that they utilize regularly. This bill does just that.”

Specifically, Senator Serino’s bill (S. 7052) aims to make the MTA region more affordable by exempting Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, and Rockland from the Metropolitan commuter transportation district (MTCD) supplemental permit/license renewal fees as well as the MTCD supplemental registration fees, which cost residents $50 every 2 years.

In justifying the measure, Serino notes that these counties are currently only afforded partial representation on the MTA Board as they are granted only one vote, split between them.

“The state simply does not hold our counties in the same regard as the other counties in the MTA region and therefore, we should absolutely not be subjected to all of the same taxes and fees,” Serino continued. “It’s taxation without representation plain and simple and it is time for the MTA to retool and relieve our counties of this burden.”

The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Frank Skartados.

Senator Serino also co-sponsors a bill that passed in the Senate today which would require the MTA to have a full independent forensic audit conducted (S. 3835a) in order to increase transparency and accountability.

“The MTA spends millions and millions of dollars, regularly increases rates and fees and collects supplemental income by taxing our residents with the MTA payroll tax,” said Senator Serino. “We have the right to know just how that money is being spent and we have a duty to ensure that the MTA is pursuing adequate cost-cutting measures to protect the hard-earned dollars of taxpayers.”