Senate MTA Rescue Bill Voted Out of Transportation Committee
April 27th, 2009

The Senate Democrats voted their MTA rescue plan bill out of the Senate Transportation Committee this afternoon, on a party line vote. The bill will now go to the Senate Finance Committee. Chairman Martin Dilan told reporters that he expects significant amendments to be made to the bill after the three Democratic leaders meet this evening. It is still unclear whether the plan will have enough votes to pass, with or without amendments. Dilan said the bill “starts the conversation.”

The conversation about how to bail out the MTA has been going on in the legislature for months now. A myriad of false starts and failed plans has been presented in the Senate, but Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has been unable to deliver a plan that satisfies all sides. That is because Democratic senators from the outer boroughs refuse to vote for any bill that features tolls on East River bridges, while suburban senators refuse to vote for a plan that contains a payroll tax.

With a leaders meeting set for this evening, it seems that Democratic leaders are finally trying to get on the same page and might use the Senate bill as a platform for any agreements they reach. Gov. David Paterson has criticized the Senate plan. It has been reported that the relationship between Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has suffered because Smith feels Paterson has not helped him marshal support for his MTA plan.

It is expected that there will be a compromise made to address a proposed $1 taxi drop-off fee. Paterson as well as a number of legislators have said taxi drivers would be overburdened by the plan. Taxi drivers will protest the $1 fee in Albany tomorrow morning.

This might finally be the week a plan comes together to rescue the MTA — or it could just be another week in Albany.

By on April 27, 2009, 3:38 pm
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