If Governor Cuomo can’t save the MTA, maybe the State Legislature can.
State Senator Michael Gianaris introduced a plan this week to address what appears to be constant delays, signal problems and other commuting headaches.
His “Better Trains, Better Cities” legislation will establish an emergency manager to oversee maintenance and operation of MTA trains. It will also create a temporary, dedicate revenue stream to fund urgent repairs.
The Assembly sponsor is Danny O’Donnell.
“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.”
The legislation is modeled after the “Safe Streets, Safe City” program that he said reduce high crime rates in the 1990s. Like its predecessor, Better Trains, Better Cities would expire after a certain point (in this case, three years).
The emergency manager would be nominated by Governor Cuomo and confirmed separately by the Assembly and State Senate. The appointee must be confirmed within 90 days of his or her nomination.
How will the revenue stream be funded? Gianaris wants to create a “temporary 3-year surcharge on personal income taxes for those in the MTA region earning more than $1 million annually as well as on New York City hotel/motel taxes.”
The personal income tax surcharge would be gradual, running up from those earning between $1 million to $5 million, $5 million to $10 million and over $10 million.
And the hotel/motel tax would add a $5 fee to the current tax.
We can’t imagine this will go over well with the wealthy in our city, but Gianaris believes this will raise more than $2 billion annually for desperately-needed repairs.
We can’t even imagine this passing the State Senate, but it’s worth a shot. At this point, our government needs fresh ideas to fix this crisis.