Reps. Malliotakis, Tannousis to Hochul: Don’t Even Think About Raising MTA fares. Representatives Blast MTA Plan to Raise Tolls & Fares: “When Will it End?”
(BROOKLYN, NY) – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and Assemblyman Michael Tannousis slammed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) plan to raise fares and tolls by 5.5% after New York Governor Kathy Hochul said all fare hikes and service cuts in 2023 and 2024 were “off the table.”
On November 15, 2021, Hochul proclaimed MTA fare hikes and service cuts in 2023 and 2024 were “off the table” due to the anticipated influx of money from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). On January 12, 2022, New York Senator Chuck Schumer also announced a $6.19 billion lump sum grant to help the MTA recover from pandemic ridership losses – he too said the money would “stave off any fare hike for the next few years.” Despite receiving over $15 billion in pandemic-relief aid from the federal government and additional funds that are available through the IIJA, the MTA is still reporting a $600 million budget shortfall next year, with a deficit of $1.2 billion in 2024 and $1.6 billion in 2026.
Instead of increasing tolls and fares on commuters, Malliotakis and Tannousis are calling on the state to reign in the MTA by stopping its wasteful spending and also look to the state budget which is riddled with wasteful spending and unnecessary line items, including $600 million for the Buffalo Bills football stadium and millions in healthcare, stimulus and tuition assistance incentives for illegal immigrants. Malliotakis is also calling on the federal government to audit every penny of federal funding that has been provided to the MTA thus far.
“It’s unconscionable that just weeks after the election we have our Governor saying there is a need for toll and fare hikes as if the MTA has not gotten enough money from the federal government,” Malliotakis said. “The MTA is a black hole – they’re constantly asking for more and more money. My question to the Governor and the MTA is: At what point is it enough? At what point will the MTA be able to run its services without hitting our constituents over the head time and time again? If the Governor thinks the MTA needs more money, I urge her to look at the mismanagement of the MTA and its capital projects, our state’s bloated spending, and the fare and toll evasion that’s going on. I’ve introduced legislation on the federal level to audit every penny the MTA has received because it’s unconscionable that they’ve received all this money and still need more. When does it end? We know the more money we pour into this system, the more it’s misspent with mismanaged projects and utter incompetence and bureaucracy.”
A 2019 report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli detailed the egregious mismanagement inside the MTA that has led to project delays and millions in wasted spending. Recently, the MTA removed 300 R179 cars from service after a $600 million contract with Bombardier Transit Corporation produced a sub-par fleet of trains three years behind schedule. The contract cost the city $35 million in repairs and contributed to subway delays that add up to roughly $300 million a year. Additionally, the MTA has yet to complete the East Side Access Project which is more than a decade behind schedule and four times over its original budget.
“The priorities of our state are not where they should be – the priorities are not the New York State taxpayer,” Tannousis said. “To quote the movie, when it comes to New York State, ‘the working man is a sucker.’ If you look at all the bills they’ve passed and everything in the budget – $2.1 billion for undocumented workers, millions of dollars for healthcare for undocumented workers – what have they passed for the taxpayer? If the MTA took only a fraction of the money New York wasted in the budget, we wouldn’t be in this situation. The taxpayer should be their number one priority.”
WATCH MALLIOTAKIS & TANNOUSIS’ PRESS CONFERENCE:
Banner Image: Rep. Malliotakis at the press conference. Image Credit – Rep. Malliotakis