Tracking Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s funding – and raiding – of the MTA
As New York City’s aging subway system faces increasing delays, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken a hit in the polls. In response, he’s tried to improve the situation by installing new leadership, putting together task forces and coming out in support of congestion pricing.
Of course, the governor has had six and a half years to address the infrastructure issues. So on his watch, how much has the state spent on – or taken funds away from – the Metropolitan Transportation Authority?
Critics claim Cuomo has continued a long-standing Albany tradition of raiding or cutting revenue from the MTA. Here are the highlights:
2011 – Cuomo raids $200 million from MTA operating funds to service state debt taken out on behalf of the transit authority, although others had pegged it at $100 million due to economic development funds covering half of the shortfall. The state backed out of its promise to pay the debt service on its own. Later that year, Cuomo also signs a $250 million cut to the MTA payroll tax for small businesses. The state said it would find funds to cover the shortfall with a portion of a tax on high-income earners.
2013 – Cuomo raids $20 million from MTA operating funds to service state debt taken out on behalf of the authority.
2014 – Cuomo raids $30 million in MTA operating funds to service the debt.
2015 – Cuomo raids $20 million in MTA operating funds to service the debt. Cuomo calls the criticism “a joke,” citing an initial $1 billion infusion in state support for the MTA’s capital projects.
2017 – The state reduces funding to cover the 2011 payroll tax cut by $65 million. The state argues that with other funding for the MTA, there is actually a $16.7 million increase.
From the Cuomo administration’s perspective, what matters is the bigger picture. Here’s a look at the state’s contribution to the authority’s operating costs, which declined by $81 million in 2015-2016 but have otherwise trended upwards during Cuomo’s tenure:
The biggest change has been the increase in state funding for the MTA’s capital budget, which jumped to $8.4 billion – although critics say the governor hasn’t yet allocated most of the funding and could be on a path to relying on increased debt. Here’s a look at the state’s funding for capital costs in the MTA’s five-year capital plans: