NY State Senate Democrats have finally offered their thoughts on how to help out the MTA—and mass transit commuters who otherwise will face significant service cuts and fare hikes. PolitickerNY sums up the plan's features: "A $1 surcharge on taxi rides in the 12 counties served by the M.T.A., raising $190 million; a sliding payroll tax on all businesses within that region, raising $1.49 billion; a $25 fee on motor vehicle registration, raising $130 million; a 25 percent increase on the fee to obtain a drivers license, raising $10.5 million; an eight percent increase on fares; and an increase in tax on rental cars, raising $35 million." (An 8% subway and bus fare increase would be preferable to a 25-30% fare hike.)
Naturally, there are no tolls over East River or Harlem River bridges, an idea which gave some State Senate Demcorats apoplexy. Instead, most of the burden is placed on the payroll tax, which will be lower for outlying counties and lower for ones closer to/in the city. Of course, there's no guarantee the State Senate can even pass the plan—the Daily Politics reports that the city's Republican Senators aren't thrilled with the options. Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-SI) is annoyed that Staten Island commuters are paying the Verrazano tolls while the other bridges remain free and Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Queens) doesn't like the $1 taxi dropoff surcharge, "Believe it or not, I got a lot of those taxi cab people in my district."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "I am willing to support any plan that provides a stable, long-term funding stream for mass transit and apportions the burden equitably among everyone who has a stake in the M.T.A.’s future," but he hadn't reviewed the Senate Dems' plan at that point.