Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday expressed concerns over Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to have New York City taxpayers contribute an additional $500 million annually to address the MTA’s budget deficits.
“The city annually contributes approximately $2 billion to the MTA in direct and in-kind contributions and, while we recognize the significant fiscal challenges the MTA faces, we are concerned that this increased commitment could further strain our already-limited resources,” Adams said in a statement responding to Hochul’s $227 billion proposed state budget.
The mayor’s objection to the MTA funding plan was a rare occasion of disagreement between the two centrist Democrats who have been closely aligned on a host of issues.
Adams notably began his statement by highlighting “victories” in the budget for the city. He praised the governor for committing spending on several of his key priorities, including mental health, public safety, housing and the migrant crisis.
On the latter, Hochul has pledged to pay more than $1 billion over the next two years.
But during a news conference earlier in the day, Adams declined to respond to questions about Hochul’s budget. He said he would delay commenting until his staff had finished analyzing the details.
Hochul is facing a difficult challenge with the MTA. The transit authority has experienced budget shortfalls as a result of lower subway ridership due to changes in work patterns during the pandemic. The MTA is facing a $600 million budget gap this year. The deficit is expected to grow to more than $1 billion next year.
A recent analysis by the Citizens Budget Commission found that city taxpayers provide 71% of the MTA’s non-fare and toll, nonfederal revenue.
Brad Lander, the city comptroller, also opposed the governor’s MTA funding proposal, which includes a fare hike for subway riders.
“The State should not stick the City with the bill to sustain our regional public transit system,” Lander said in his own statement.
Lander instead urged the governor to rely on an increase in payroll taxes, revenue from a plan for new casinos and congestion pricing to help the financially troubled authority.