Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio announced a proposal to transform the MTA with a joint endorsement of congestion pricing, a plan to reorganize the MTA and fare enforcement.
The proposed consolidation can mask accountability and can make NYC transit less autonomous from the whims of upstate legislators. The meat of the plan is this:
The MTA will develop a reorganization plan to centralize common functions among the 6 existing entities (NYCTA, LIRR, Metro-North, MTA Capital Construction, MTA Bus, SI Railway) which currently operate as separate entities. Centralization among the6 agencies should eliminate some duplicate costs and lead to better coordination on matters like scheduling, fares, procurement, construction management, human resources, advertising etcetera.
Congestion pricing revenue and two new taxes (internet sales, cannabis excise tax) will be placed in a 'lockbox' to provide a funding source necessary to ensure the capital needs of the MTA can be met, with priority given to the subway system, new signaling, new subway cars, track and car repair, accessibility, buses and bus system improvements and investments in expanding transit availability.
Fare evasion: The State will work with the MTA, City and District Attorneys to develop an enforcement strategy, with both personnel and station design modifications that do not criminalize fare evasion but instead prevent fare evasion, sanction violators and increase enforcement.” As for the fares, the plan limits MTA fare hikes to an inflationary increase of 2% each year. The trend of fare increases somewhat already falls in line with this percentage. All MTA Board appointments will have term ends with the appointing elected official's tenure. The MTA will undergo an independent audit. The Capital Plan will be reviewed by a committee of transportation, engineering and government experts who have no existing financial relationship with the MTA. The MTA will immediately expedite the completion of the Subway Action Plan. And finally, Cuomo and de Blasio pledge to be BFF’s and see this whole plan through- despite de Blasio preferring a millionaire’s tax over congestion pricing.