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The MTA Rips Off New Yorkers Again

The MTA Rips Off New Yorkers Again

Manhattanites were not given a voice again. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, fares for New York City taxis and ride shares became much more expensive. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s has allowed a fee to go into effect for all taxi and for-hire-vehicle rides that pass through the borough below 96th Street. According to Governor Cuomo, some of the money raised is supposably being used to fix the aging MTA subway system.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he supports the surcharge. “He stated that 100 percent of this revenue will go directly to fixing the subways. Next year, we will continue to work with the Legislature to evaluate this surcharge and pass comprehensive congestion pricing on all vehicles once and for all.”

This means a per-trip fee of $2.50 for taxis and $2.75 for green cabs and other for-hire vehicles like Via, Lyfts and Ubers making trips in Manhattan below 96th Street. Make that even more because onto of that there is an upped fare.

What really causes congestion in Manhattan? Try the countless construction, the tearing up of streets to add yet another gas line, water line, phone line, DSL line (my street alone has had maybe two weeks of non destruction in the 5 years I have lived here), the countless street fairs that sell only junk, the UN, Diplomats or the President in town (in the Obama years that was like every week), the pedestrian parks, the parades, do I need to keep adding? If you go here you will see a list that will astound you of who the MTA and the DOT has allowed to make your commute a nightmare.

Drivers sued the state over the fee in 2018 and a temporary restraining order blocked the surcharge, but the order was recently lifted by Judge Lynn Kotler, a Democratic Judge of State Supreme Court in Manhattan. On Thursday she permitted the state to collect the extra fees beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday while the suit goes forward. Kotler denied the state’s request to dismiss the case.

There are still cases pending, but where is the one from people who live in Manhattan. Do we not get a voice?

Albany estimated that the surcharge will produce around $400 million per year, but who really gets this money? It certainly is not Manhattan.

Why aren’t non New Yorkers who drive into the city being taxed?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the biggest owner of New York city real estate. Their vast property includes; rail lines, bridges, tunnels, ferries and roads in 14 counties; it includes the New York City Subway, the Metro-North Railroad into Connecticut and Upstate New York, and the Long Island Railroad.  Their vast portfolio of real estate, also includes a long-term lease for Grand Central Terminal; and various rights of way along tracks and roads. It has selectively sold or leased such properties over the years. One of its biggest deals ever came in 2008, when the Related Cos. agreed to pay $1 billion to build out 26 acres of far West Side Manhattan known as Hudson Yards. What is this money being used for?

New York State launched the MTA in 1965, and it quickly grew from control of just the Long Island Rail Road to its present form. Thomas Prendergast is the MTAs chairman and CEO; and serves at the pleasure of the New York governor. Andy Byford is the President of the MTA, who has  retained his British citizenship.

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Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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