NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A state panel is advising Governor Andrew Cuomo to consider a bundle of new taxes after revelations that the price for fixing the beleaguered Metropolitan Transportation Authority has doubled.
As it turns out, officials say a controversial plan for congestion pricing won’t raise enough money to cover the difference.
It’s not bad enough that drivers entering Manhattan’s central business district could soon pay a fee to help get the subways back on track, now the MTA says the plan that’s been bandied about for years won’t be the savior of mass transit after all.
The reason? The price tag has doubled to an eye-popping $60 billion.
“I say multiple sources of revenue because congestion pricing, even fully developed and completely implemented, will not be enough,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said.
The task of finding solutions for raising the dough has been left to a city-state sustainability task force. Sources tell CBS2 that in addition to congestion pricing, the task force is exploring other options including:
- raising the payroll tax
- increasing the real estate transfer tax on sales of property over $5 million
- ending the sales tax exemption on clothing purchases under $110
Mitchell Moss, head of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University, has other suggestions including raising the gas tax.
“We should be using the gas tax and other broad-based revenues,” Moss said. “We might even want to consider getting revenue from cannabis to be earmarked for riders.”
A marijuana tax is a real possibility if pot is legalized in New York, sources say. Other revenue streams could come from new taxes on casinos and sports betting.
“No matter what we do, the solution to the MTA requires going through the legislature. That means going through the gates of hell,” Moss said. “This is going to take the legislative responsibility to find a set of revenues that they can all agree on.”
The task force is scheduled to submit its proposed menu of new taxes to the governor by the end of the year. Members also say they intend to force the MTA to become more efficient and rein in costs. The agency may also have to postpone some projects on its current wish list, like extending the Second Avenue subway line.