October 10, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – The 25,000-member New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters is the latest member of the Building Trades urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to ante up $3.2 billion to help fund the MTA’s five-year capital plan.
In a statement released this week, Carpenters’ Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger argued that city-funded expenses devoted to MTA capital plans have shrunk from 1.2 percent in 1982-1986 to 0.2 percent in 2010-2014.
“Budgets reflect priorities,” Geiger said. “If the city had maintained its contributions to mass transit infrastructure at 1.2 percent of city-funded expenses, they would actually exceed the $3.2 billion requested of the city by the MTA for its 2015-2019 capital plan.”
Earlier this week, District Council 9 New York IUPAT, Painters and Allied Trades, joined TWU Local 100 in warning the mayor that failing to fully fund the MTA’s $30 billion capital plan jeopardizes vital transportation projects and jobs.
Governor Cuomo has said the state will kick in $8.3 billion, but the state’s chief executive wants Hizzoner to dig deeper into city coffers for another $3.2 billion. The entire standoff has become just the latest flashpoint in the ongoing feud between Cuomo and de Blasio.
Amy Spitalnick, spokesperson for the mayor, is dismissing the mayor’s critics in organized labor as “surrogates for the state” who are “playing fast and loose with the facts.”
“The truth is the people of NYC already fund three-quarters of the State MTA's operations and double what the State gives in capital,” Spitalnick said in a statement. “As the mayor has said for months — the city is ready to do even more to help address the MTA's shortfalls, but not until we know that no more money will be raided from the transit system, New Yorkers are told where any new state money is coming from, and NYC's taxpayers have a real say in how their money is spent.”
Geiger went on to say that, “It certainly must be the case that financial commitments made today by the city and state to the MTA are kept tomorrow.”
“Reports that the city has moved closer to the amount requested of it by the MTA in negotiations on this subject are encouraging, but this matter must be brought to a conclusion,” the executive secretary-treasurer concluded. “For the city to truly make mass transit a priority, its budget must reflect this fact with a return to the robust level of investment in mass transit that the city previously made and that is again necessary.”
According to TWU Lcoal 100, funding issues have already put the MTA's massive station rehabilitation program behind schedule.
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