For Second Year, MTA Funding Tops NYLCV’s Transpo Agenda

Between continued raids on dedicated transit funds, a cut to the MTA payroll tax, and the state’s decision to pay for the last three years of the MTA capital plan with debt, 2011 wasn’t a good year for the MTA’s finances. The New York League of Conservation Voters is hoping that 2012 turns out to be kinder to transit riders.

In their annual legislative agenda, released today, transit funding dominates the environmental organization’s transportation agenda. “Mass transit and good transportation infrastructure are critical not only for the environment, labor mobility and safety – they are literally the lifeblood of the state’s economy,” explained NYLCV communications director Dan Hendrick. “It’s high time for our state leaders to roll up their sleeves, fix the MTA and invest in our future.”

The three transportation-specific agenda items are: preventing any additional raids on dedicated transit funds, funding the last three years of the MTA capital plan, and raising the gas tax to account for inflation (state gas tax revenues fund both road projects and transit).

The first two of those goals, however, were also included in NYLCV’s 2011 agenda and if anything, 2012 looks like a less promising legislative environment for transit funding. If the Cuomo administration wasn’t eyeing more raids on dedicated MTA funds, they likely wouldn’t have “eviscerated” the unanimously-passed transit lockbox bill late last year.

NYLCV’s sustainable development goals may have a better chance of passage, however. The organization hopes that Cuomo’s regional economic development councils continue to fund smart growth projects, for example. The first round of grants won acclaim for mostly building upon existing infrastructure rather than promoting sprawl; the Long Island grants, in particular, went to revitalizing downtowns and areas near the LIRR.

Hendrick promised that in the upcoming election cycle, in which New Yorkers will vote for their Assembly and State Senate representatives, NYLCV will be holding legislators accountable for their positions on transportation and sustainability. “This year, we are sharpening our political approach by clearly connecting these transportation goals with our endorsements and campaign decisions,” said Hendrick. “Lawmakers who advance our sustainability agenda will earn NYLCV’s endorsement and be eligible for PAC support for their re-election campaigns. Those who do not, will not – and, in fact, we may well end up campaigning against lawmakers who oppose good transportation investments.”


Protecting Transit Funds Tops NYLCV’s Transpo Agenda

Environmental advocates’ agenda for the Cuomo Administration continues to take shape, with the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund yesterday releasing its Albany agenda for 2011 [PDF]. Topping the transportation agenda is a call to protect dedicated transit funds. Raiding dedicated transit funds and cutting the MTA payroll tax should be off the […]

NYLCV Asks Pols About Smart Growth and Complete Streets, Not Transit

The New York League of Conservation Voters just released the questionnaire that will be guiding their endorsements for state legislators in 2010. NYLCV is one of only two organizations in the state that endorses candidates based on their support for sustainable transportation. While the organization will be judging candidates on their support for important transportation […]

Conservation Voters Give Legislature “B” Grade on Transportation

The state legislature earned a solid B on sustainable transportation issues this term, according to a report card issued Wednesday by the New York League of Conservation Voters. Legislators earned top marks for passing complete streets legislation and a transit funding lockbox, but were penalized for their continued attacks on the MTA’s budget. Transportation was […]

On Transit Funding, Emperor Cuomo Has No Clothes

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget includes no new funds for the MTA capital program — a brazen departure from the funding pledge Cuomo made just a few months ago. Transit advocates laid out the broken promises at a press conference in Brooklyn this morning. Back in October, Cuomo reached an agreement with Mayor de Blasio that the […]

Widening Coalition Calls Out Cuomo for Abandoning Transit

Anger over Governor Cuomo’s disregard for transit riders during this week’s special session continues to grow. Since yesterday, two new organizations have signed on to a letter calling out the governor for neutering transit lockbox legislation that the State Assembly and State Senate had passed unanimously. The League of Women’s Voters of New York City […]

Will Council Members Who Want Transit Improvements Back Toll Reform?

At yesterday’s City Council transportation committee hearing, chair Ydanis Rodriguez hoped to engage the MTA and DOT concerning areas of the city that need more transit options. But despite being invited, according to Rodriguez, the MTA refused to send anyone. Instead, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg promised to pressure the MTA to invest in transportation projects to improve commuter times between Manhattan and the edges […]