What Does 2011 Hold for Transit Funding?

The Times Herald-Record recently asked state gubernatorial candidates Andrew Cuomo and Rick Lazio about their positions on a few key issues, including the MTA mobility tax.

Lazio told the paper he was for repealing it.

Cuomo said the following:  “The MTA payroll tax is something we must revisit by coming up with a more equitable system. We cannot place unfair burdens on counties with families and businesses struggling.”

The tax was approved last year as part of a funding measure to stop MTA service cuts and fare increases. It has been controversial in suburban areas. Lower than expected revenues from a variety of transit dedicated sources and a state cut of $143 million masked the benefits of the proposal, forcing the MTA to implement service cuts last month. However, the payroll tax remains a key transit funding measure for the region. Without it, service cuts and fare increases would be more extreme and the first two years of the agency’s capital program would be in jeopardy. Even with the tax, the MTA faces a $10 billion gap in its capital program and riders are on track for another fare increase in 2011.

None of the gubernatorial candidates have said how they intend to address budget deficits at transportation agencies.

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