The state budget deadline is hurtling toward us far faster than a rush hour train. Gov. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan have 14 days, count ’em, to strike a deal to generate cash to save the faltering subways.
We have faith; God created the universe in six days. But they’ve got to focus, right quick.
That the trains need money (along with better management) isn’t disputed by anyone who has ventured underground. Neither is the best source of funding: congestion pricing, to get people on the roads to chip in. It would kill a second bird, too, by helping curb choking Manhattan traffic.
What Albany should have done was sign onto the visionary plan put out by Cuomo’s Fix NYC panel to impose a surcharge on all taxi, Uber and livery fares south of 96th St. and on all private cars driving below 60th St.
Instead, so far, Cuomo hasn’t yet gone big for the whole plan. And Heastie is offering up a partial scheme that rejiggers fees on cars for hire.
The current setup is a hodgepodge. Every yellow and green fare chips in 50 cents for the trains. Uber and black cars give a measly 0.375% sales tax. Livery passengers pay zip for the subways.
Heastie wants a $2.75 transit surcharge on Ubers, blacks and livery fares below 96th St. Smartly, he wants it to start 90 days after passage. But why add a $1 fee on all trips outside the zone?
And why won’t he set an equal fee on yellow and green cabs, instead of only adding another 50 cents in the zone?
Every vehicle should pay the same.