Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • How Mayor Adams' Albany Agenda Fared in the New State Budget

    Mayor & Governor (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    New York State’s $229 billion budget deal for the new fiscal year has both good and bad news for New York City and Mayor Eric Adams’ Albany agenda.

    It directs additional funding for the ongoing migrant asylum-seeker crisis, provides a lifeline to the cash-strapped MTA, funds rent relief for public housing residents, extends a child tax credit, increases enforcement for illegal marijuana sales, and more. But it excluded regulatory changes and tax incentives that

  • For Long-Term MTA funding, Look to a State Carbon Tax


    Subway ridership in view (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA)

    That huge sigh of relief from New York City mass transit advocates last weekend was for the state budget handshake to tack more than a billion additional dollars a year onto a key MTA funding stream, the Payroll Mobility Tax. According to both my calculations andan announcement from Gov. Kathy

  • How Much to Raise, How Much to Spend: Hochul and Legislature Wrangle Over Tax Rates in State Budget Negotiations

    Gov. Hochul makes a budget presentation (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)

    When Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State address in January, she promised to keep income taxes flat this year while identifying other revenue sources to pay for major funding needs.

    "A majority of economists are predicting a recession," she said. "And it's also one of the reasons why we will not be raising income taxes this year."

    The Legislature is now putting that promise to the test, seeking to increase taxes on the state’s highest individual and corporate earners as the legislative and

  • Max Politics Podcast: Senator Leroy Comrie on the MTA in State Budget Negotiations

    Senator Leroy Comrie (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)

    April 21, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Leroy Comrie on the MTA in State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator Leroy Comrie, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Senate's committee with MTA oversight, joined the show to discuss how the MTA is factoring into state budget negotiations, plans for funding the transit authority, whether the state budget will advantage subway and bus riders, the future of Penn Station area redevelopment plans, housing and bail policy negotiations, and more.

    Listen to the

  • Max Politics Podcast: Major Transit & Climate Issues in State Budget Negotiations, with Betsy Plum & Julie Tighe

    Electric buses are one place transit meets climate (photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

    April 21, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Major Transit & Climate Issues in State Budget Negotiations, with Betsy Plum & Julie Tighe

    As New York state budget negotiations continue, there are major transit and climate issues being decided. Betsy Plum of Riders Alliance and Julie Tighe of League of Conservation Voters joined the show to break down the most pressing topics on transit and climate and what to watch for as a state budget deal is finalized by

  • 6 State Budget Proposals Where Hochul and Adams are At Odds

    Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have a strong working relationship, one that they have repeatedly emphasized at joint announcements, news conferences, and speeches. It’s in clear contrast to their predecessors, who spent years squabbling over many issues, both parochial and consequential to New Yorkers. But with the recent release of the governor’s budget plan, the two first-term Democrats find themselves at odds over various cuts, cost shifts, and unfunded mandates for New York City that the mayor is none too

  • In Albany, Mayor Adams Testifies on Governor Hochul's Budget, State Priorities

    Mayor Adams and top aides in Albany (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Mayor Eric Adams trekked to the State Capitol in Albany on Wednesday, testifying before the State Legislature on Governor Kathy Hochul’s $227 billionexecutive budget proposal for the state’s 2024 fiscal year, which starts April 1, and outlining some of his administration’s state-level priorities.

  • Max Politics Podcast: Why It Costs New York So Much More to Expand the Subway, with Eric Goldwyn

    The 2nd Avenue Subway under construction (photo: Governor's Office)

    February 8, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Why It Costs New York So Much More to Expand the Subway, with Eric Goldwyn

    Eric Goldwyn, a professor who has led a team at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management, joined the show to discuss his team's research on building transit and why it costs so much more in New York than other places around the world. ...

  • Guideposts for the Governor to Shape a Responsible 2023 Agenda

    Governor Hochul gives her first State of the State (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    A year ago, after Governor Hochul had made her first State of the State address, I wrote a column,For State’s Future, The Governor Must Say No, urging her to reject well-intentioned but unwise proposals by legislators and activists. Reading it again now, after Hochul’s

  • Max Politics Podcast: Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani on a New Plan to 'Fix the MTA' & More

    Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani at Wednesday's press conference (photo: Kara McCurdy)

    December 15, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani on How to 'Fix the MTA' & More

    Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss his new plan to 'Fix the MTA,' upcoming state budget negotiations, the 2022 election results, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the

  • Police Have Removed Over 1,300 'Emotionally Disturbed People’ from Transit in 2022; Where Did They Go?

    Mayor Adams on the subway (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography office)

    In the first 11 months of the year, the NYPD removed 1,300 people suffering symptoms of mental illness from the city's transit system, often against their will. The city is unable or unwilling to say what happened to them next.

    "Dealing with people who have mental health illnesses must be a focus of any plan moving forward," Mayor Eric Adams said at an October 22 announcement of a new subway safety campaign with Governor Kathy Hochul, dubbed Cops,

  • Many Variables, Significant Uncertainty in Latest Fiscal Updates for New York State, City, and MTA

    Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)

    New York State and City weathered the worst of the financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to billions in federal aid and a good bit of fortune in revenues from Wall Street and personal income taxes. But fiscal uncertainty looms on the horizon amid major stock market losses, warnings of a recession, ongoing pandemic workplace shifts, and federal relief funds running out, creating future budget gaps that will test the fiscal management of Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams’

  • The MTA Must Fix Its Defective Assessment of Congestion Pricing

    Clearer streets on the way (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)

    Damage continues to mount from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bungled environmental assessment (EA) of congestion pricing. 

    With its sprawling, 46-volume EA, the MTA took a proven policy idea, so well-suited for New York that it was destined to bestow $10 million worth of travel-time savings to drivers across the region every day, and turned it into a dog: a money grab that will cut traffic only in Manhattan.


  • Health and Transportation Benefits from Congestion Pricing Could Be Truly Transformative


    Manhattan traffic (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA)

    Traffic pollutes, and air pollution results in poorer health. This means higher rates of asthma, lower birth weights, and a greater risk of maternal health problems.

    As health and transportation policy experts, we see that congestion pricing in New York City will be a win for our region – not only for transportation flow, but also for air quality and public health.

    Vehicle emissions are a major source of nitrogen oxides

  • Max Politics Podcast: Janno Lieber on the State of the MTA

    MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, with Governor Hochul (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    June 22, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: CEO Janno Lieber on the State of the MTA

    MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber joined host Ben Max for a conversation at an event hosted by Citizens Union and Citizens Union Foundation (publisher of Gotham Gazette). First, opening remarks by Lieber about the state of the MTA, particularly its New York City subways and buses, then the interview with Max about a wide variety of issues including subway service improvements, congestion pricing, MTA

  • Experts Analyze Future of New York City's Central Business Districts

    At the stock exchange (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on New York City’s core Central Business Districts – particularly Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan – which are home to the businesses and industries that are the biggest drivers of the city’s economy.

    The lockdown and stay-at-home orders forced by the pandemic changed the nature of work in the city and beyond, and though the office sector – including the information, financial and real estate, and professional and business services industries that occupy so much of the space

  • How the Next Phase of the Second Avenue Subway Can Build a Better East Harlem

    A groundbreaking in East Harlem (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    (Housing projects and tenements surround the $6 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 planned route (MTA Capital Division))

    Plans are advancing rapidly for the 1.5 mile Second Avenue (Q) Subway from 96th to 125...

  • High Hopes for New Era of MTA Transparency

    Subway riders (photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

    In October 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Open Data Act, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblymember Robert Carroll. Hochulsaid the law will require MTA data to be “properly available for constituents to read

  • New York’s Endangered Subways

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    On the subway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    My friend and I had left the theatre on 42nd Street around 11 p.m. on a recent beautiful night. We walked peaceably to catch our usual #1 train at Times Square—the station where a young woman, Michelle Go, had been pushed to her death in front of a train by an apparently deranged, homeless man just days earlier.

    The platform was packed but the train, also packed, came quickly. Almost immediately we sensed something was wrong, as people shifted uncomfortably and looked to the

  • Key Considerations as the MTA Restarts Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign

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    Boarding the bus in Brooklyn (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)

    The MTA announced this past summer that the borough network redesign studies that were halted by covid will resume this fall. A Brooklyn bus network redesign is long overdue, but it must be performed in the correct manner. We have no indication that such is the case.

    The intent is to design routes “from a blank slate,” which is unrealistic. Existing

  • Make No Mistake, the Ongoing Congestion Pricing Delay is Environmental Racism

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    Subway tunnels (photo: Governor's Office)

    How many of our city's children need to suffer while the MTA conducts a 16-month ‘environmental review’ to implement congestion pricing in New York City? 

    Throughout 2020 and into this year, our city and state elected officials proclaimed in the face of COVID-19 and racial justice protests that they were ready to tackle the problematic issues generations of New Yorkers experienced—among them, solving the structural inequities caused by environmental racism and the harm that it

  • The Major Challenges and Decisions Facing Kathy Hochul as She Becomes Governor of New York

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    Incoming Governor Kathy Hochul (photo: governor's office)

    Kathy Hochul will become New York’s 57th governor on Tuesday, and the first woman ever to hold the position, as disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation goes into effect and he hands over the reins of state government. Hochul, who has been Cuomo’s lieutenant governor since 2015, will take over the complicated machinery and immense power of state government. She will face no shortage of challenges as she assumes authority over an executive chamber mired in scandal and a state

  • Schumer Says Big Infrastructure Package is on Deck; What's on New York City's List?

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    Senator Chuck Schumer at City Hall (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)

    As Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the passage of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which will deliver $6 billion in direct aid to New York City government and many additional billions to New Yorkers, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer had more good tidings to offer as he promised that a massive infrastructure program is next on the agenda. 

    Biden has proposed a $2 trillion “Build Back Better” plan to invest in infrastructure and combat climate change. It’s

  • The Governor’s Raids of Transit and Climate Funds Must Be Stopped

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    Gov. Cuomo at an MTA announcement (photo: governor's office)

    This budget year for New York State is like no other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing remains business as usual in Albany: The Governor is once again filling state budget holes with funds that are supposed to be dedicated to supporting mass transit and fighting climate change—hitting disadvantaged communities especially hard.

    Governor Cuomo intends to take $240 million in dedicated taxes from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and $23 million from the Regional

  • MTA’s ‘Worst Case’ is Really a Massive $23 Billion Deficit Through 2024

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    Governor Cuomo at an MTA train depot (photo: governor's office)

    New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is facing the largest fiscal crisis in its history due to COVID-19. With more federal aid not forthcoming, the MTA has been buying time – quite literally, by borrowing up to $2.9 billion from the Federal Reserve – before the axe will need to fall on service and its workforce. The MTA’s Chief Financial Officer, Bob Foran, said that layoffs would need to start