Straphanger advocates urge de Blasio, Cuomo to compromise on MTA budget gap
A coalition of transportation groups wants both city and state leaders to to bury the hatchet and look out for riders' interests.
Heated talk between Albany and City Hall isn't cooling off despite transportation advocates asking for a ceasefire.
On Wednesday, a coalition of groups focused on the needs of transit riders across the state argued that the MTA's $9.8 billion budget gap to pay for system maintenance and new projects can't close without concessions on both sides.
The group — which includes Riders Alliance, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives — said leaders should press on.
"Failing to do so would be an unacceptable outcome for the nine million New Yorkers who rely on subway, bus and commuter rail service every day," the group said in a statement.
The group proposed that Cuomo provide more details on where the $8.3 billion he committed to the state-operated agency this summer, including where the money is coming from.
At the same time, the coalition asked the city to increase its standing $657 million commitment closer to the $3.2 billion the MTA has been asking of City Hall since July.
The mayor's office holds that it already increased its investment from the previous $500 million, and that the letter on Wednesday argues the city's point in demanding more transparency for how the state plans to spend any additional city dollars.
"If the MTA wants the city to contribute new money, show us – prove to us – that it will not be taken out of the MTA and put right into the State budget for other purposes, because that’s happened a lot in recent years," de Blasio told 1010WINS on Wednesday morning, repeating that New Yorkers pay into the MTA not just through investments but fares, tolls and taxes.
"That is a sham way to talk about what the city pays," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told Metro. "It's fallacious, it's flawed, it's cheap."
Lisberg added: "What you see in this letter is even the transit advocates skeptical of the state's promise are saying the city really needs to promise more."
In late September, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast proposed cutting projects in the MTA budget's for projects in the five boroughs before he walked back the comments and floated cuts outside the city.