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Riders, Motorists Should Pay More to Finance City's Transit System, Group Says

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A nonpartisan civic organization envisions a future where transit riders, and motorists who use tunnels and bridges, pay more to help finance the city's public transportation system.

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The Citizens Budget Commission recommends that the financing of mass transit be divided using a 25-50-25 formula among the major sources of revenue that include fares, tolls, tax subsidies and other fees.

If each category of funder – driver, transit rider and general taxpayer – contributes to the cost of the region’s mass transit system in accordance with these principles, it will get the MTA off the wrong track and chart a better route for the region’s economic future. By 2016 the 25-50-25 policy would provide nearly $2.6 billion in additional annual revenue without new taxes.

The 25-50-25 policy would mean that mass transit riders would pay higher – but still reasonable – fares. The cost of a single ride ticket would increase to at least $2.75 by 2016 but in constant dollars a subway ride would cost at most three cents more than it did in 1996. Motorists would face increased costs for the use of their vehicles, in the range of $167 to $293 more annually, but the charges would be consistent with those in other global metropolises and related to the benefits drivers derive from a well-functioning transportation system.

The complete report, "A Better Way to Pay for the MTA," can be downloaded here.

Image of trains courtesy canihazit, used under Creative Commons license.

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Guest Tuesday, 08 July 2014