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NYC Mayor Asks Wealthy New Yorkers To Pay More Taxes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a new tax on wealthy New Yorkers to fund the repairs for the city’s crumbling subway. The plan will also support a measure which will offer half-price MetroCards for low-income users, replicating a program that has seen great success in Seattle. The proposal is the latest salvo from de Blasio in his battle with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo over the subway’s problems.

New York City’s century-old subway has been increasingly beset by troubles which were brought into the spotlight by a recent accident in which a southbound train derailed. Rail officials blamed lack of proper equipment for track repairs.

Problems for regular subway riders have been exacerbated in recent times with regular delays and disruptions. At the same time the subway authority has been raising fares every two years. The latest fare hike which took place in March, increased the cost of a monthly MetroCard to $121, up by $4.50.

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Under the mayor’s plan, the tax on affluent New Yorkers would result in additional revenue of $700 million to $800 million a year and around $500 million from these proceeds will be sent towards capital costs for subways plus buses while nearly $250 million will be committed for the half-price MetroCard program de Blasio and Cuomo both Democrats have been battling over who was responsible for the subway’s state of disrepair and the source of funding for its restoration.

In a statement, Mayor de Blasio said

Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st century.

Lhota responded to the mayor’s proposal noting that the MTA needed emergency financing. Cuomo also said that waiting for legislative approval would take a year more which was too long. He suggested that the city partner with the state matching funding on an equal basis to overhaul the subway system.

Cuomo has asked Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s chairman, Joseph J. Lhota, to submit a reorganization plan within 30 days to revive the subway. He also issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for the subway, allowing the authority to act faster by temporarily suspending some regulations.

Lhota stated that his plan would focus on modernizing the subway system’s technology and customer communication as well as improved personnel training. Officials are also evaluating solutions to upgrade the signal system which has been a major reason for delays.


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