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For Immediate Release:

October 25, 2017

Media Contact:

Dan Morris. 917.952.8920.

New Report Shows Combined Approach Can Raise More Than $2 Billion a Year for Transit, but Cuomo and de Blasio must  Work Together To Make it Happen

New York, NY– Advocates urged Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to put aside their political differences and fix New York’s transit system by combining congestion pricing and a tax on the wealthy – a move that could raise $2 billion a year, according to a new report.

Called “Moving Together”, the report, released today by ALIGN and New York Communities for Change, emphasizes that the political stalemate between Cuomo and de Blasio is harming the city’s transit infrastructure, which impacts the economy, the daily lives of New Yorkers, and the environment.

Cuomo has the power to create a reliable funding stream for the transit system, which is largely controlled at the state level.  But de Blasio must work with Cuomo to harmonize congestion pricing and a tax on the wealthy to give the transit system a sustainable future.

There is no other path forward, the report warns.

Cuomo and de Blasio must cooperate, and get moving together a real plan for transit funding that would harness the full revenue potential of congestion pricing and a tax on the wealthy.

“Moving Together” is the first report to show the economic, equitable, and environmental benefits of political cooperation between the state and the city, and what it would really look like to combine congestion pricing and a tax on New York’s wealthiest residents.

The Independent Budget Office has calculated that preventable subway delays are costing the city $307 million a year.  It is low-income communities of color who bear the brunt of delays as they are more reliant on public transit – they are also disproportionately impacted by congestion as they are more likely to live next to the city’s busiest thoroughfares.  

Meanwhile, transport is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City (after buildings) – and 90% of transport emissions come from private vehicles.  The City has committed to ensure that by 2050, four out of every five trips a New Yorker takes will be by foot, bicycle, or public transit.

Moving Together is the first report to show the economic, equitable, and environmental benefits of political cooperation between the State and the City, and what it would really like look to combine congestion pricing and a tax on New York’s wealthiest residents.

It recommends that the State:

  • introduce a millionaires tax on the city’s wealthiest 32,000 residents (raising income taxes by 0.5 percent for individuals making above $500,000 and for married couples making above $1M) – this would generate $700M annually.
  • adopt Move NY’s congestion pricing plan, which would generate $1.5B annually and create over 30,000 annual recurring jobs.
  • allocate some of the revenue to funding reduced-fare Metrocards for the city’s 800,000 residents living below the poverty line; a core demand of the Riders Alliance and the Community Service Society of New York’s Fair Fares campaign.

“Political bickering will not lead the way to better funding for our transit system. It’s time for Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to put their differences aside, and cooperate to raise much-needed revenue for our transit system. The only real path forward for transit funding is a combination of congestion pricing and a tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers. Millions of transit riders, especially from low-income communities, are counting on Cuomo and de Blasio to stop fighting and start working together,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN.

“A broken subway system is detrimental for communities like mine in East New York. To just get to my medical appointments and to pick up my daughters I have to leave hours ahead of time,” said Rachel Rivera, member of New York Communities for Change. “We need Governor Cuomo to not JUST do congestion pricing but to tax the Millionaires and Billionaires to fix and fund our MTA!”

“Align’s important new report adds to the growing consensus among progressives that  an increase in the millionaires  tax, congestion pricing and Fair Fares all need to be considered if we want to fix our broken transit system and make it accessible for all New Yorkers,” said David R. Jones, CEO and President of the Community Service Society and a member of the MTA Board. “As we found in our own analysis released earlier this week, the vast numbers of working poor who stand to benefit from congestion pricing, especially if it is also used to fund half-fare discounts for the lowest income riders, outweighs the tiny fraction who would likely be subject to increased tolls by a margin of 38 to one.”

“Public transit is in a moment of crisis, and riders need the Mayor and Governor to come together on sustainable MTA funding solutions. Thanks to ALIGN, the key differences between their proposals are more clear,”  said Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Transit riders deserve a break. It’s time for Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to put aside their differences and come up with a solution that works for the people they’ve been elected to serve.”

John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said: “A millionaire’s tax and congestion pricing are both fair, sustainable ways to fund public transit, and they should both be on the table.  Our transit needs are so great after decades of underinvestment that we should be looking at every available option to find the money we’ll need to fix the system.  Governor Cuomo is the only leader who has the stature and the power to make these funding solutions a reality, and millions of anxious riders are looking to him for leadership that can get it done.  Until we fix public transit, the burden of slow and unreliable service will be felt most acutely by low-income workers who have the most to lose when they are stuck on the train and late to arrive at work.”

“The MTA is in critical need of additional funding streams. Only plans like the Millionaires tax and congestion pricing provide the resources necessary so that the MTA can upgrade critical pieces of infrastructure like signals, switches, and new subway cars,” said New York State Assemblymember Robert Carroll.  “I commend Align for this report and look forward to continuing to work with them and others to make sure that New Yorkers get the mass transit system they deserve.”