Volume 21, Number 33 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 19-25, 2008
Squadron: There’s a better way to close M.T.A. budget
State Senator-elect Daniel Squadron said it’s up him and all of his fellow state legislators to make sure the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “doomsday” budget is never implemented.
“Simply pointing fingers at the M.T.A. will not keep the trains and buses running or keep fares affordable for riders,” Squadron said in a statement after the authority passed the budget Wednesday. “Accountability does not solely lie with the M.T.A. — it sits squarely with all of us in government.”
The M.T.A. is hoping Albany will pass the recommendations of a commission headed by Richard Ravitch in order to avoid enacting a 23 percent fare hike and severe service cuts, including ending nighttime N service in Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn, and discontinuing the M8 bus line in the Village.
Squadron, who will represent Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn starting in January, outlined an alternative plan to close the M.T.A.’s $1.2 billion operating budget Wednesday. Instead of tolling the East and Harlem River bridges as Ravitch proposes, he wants to make improvements to Mayor Bloomberg’s congesting pricing plan that failed earlier this year.
He agrees with Ravitch’s plan to tax city and nearby suburban employers 33 cents for every $100 in salary, but Squadron would give businesses an exemption on the first $300,000 in payroll to help protect small businesses.
He also backs reinstating the commuter tax, which will be a hard sell politically, particularly if it’s coupled with Ravitch’s “mobility tax,” which includes suburban businesses.
Lastly, Squadron favors increasing registration fees for vehicles that are not fuel efficient.