Cuomo Challenger, Nixon Wants Millionaires' Tax, Pollution and Congestion Fees to Fix NYC's Subway System

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Cynthia Nixon. Photo: campaign website.

[Election 2018]

Andrew Cuomo's challenger in the governor's race Cynthia Nixon would raise billions of dollars to fix New York City's subway system from vehicles congestion pricing, polluter fees and a millionaires tax, according to her plan. This funding proposal makes the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fare share to fix the City’s crumbling transit system, Nixon says.

“For two terms, Governor Cuomo has cut taxes on corporations and the ultra-rich, and cut critical services, like the subway, for everyone else. Quite simply, he has not made the subways a priority because they are not a priority for his Wall Street donors. Now, in an election year, when the Governor has no choice but to address the subway, he’s still trying to protect wealthy New Yorkers from having to pay their fare share to fix it,” Nixon says.

Cynthia’s proposed congestion tax would place a $5.26 fee for cars to enter and exit a congestion pricing zone in the most congested parts of Manhattan. Private car owners in New York City earn more than double the income of households that have no car and rely exclusively on public transit -- and car owners who drive into the central business district regularly for work are wealthier still. A recent study from the Community Service Society found that only 2% of working poor New Yorkers would be subject to a congestion fee applied to cars that drive into the center of Manhattan and only 4% of outer-borough residents commute to jobs in Manhattan by vehicle.

To help make this comprehensive congestion plan even more equitable, Nixon would use some of the money raised to reduce tolls elsewhere in the city, giving drivers a break, for example, on Staten Island and in eastern Queens, where the subways don’t run. Low-income drivers who need to commute into Manhattan by car would also be eligible for a partial toll rebate, so they wouldn’t have to pay any more than the cost of a subway ride.

Nixon had also previously announced her support for a polluter fee that will generate billions of dollars, largely, by taxing fossil fuel companies and other large carbon emitters. The money will be used to fund New York’s transition to a green economy and, as carbon emissions are greatly reduced by high-functioning public transit systems, a portion of the polluter fee will be dedicated towards fixing our subways.

The third source of funding for Nixon's plan to fix the subways would come from the millionaires tax. Corporations and the ultra-rich have been given enormous tax breaks under Andrew Cuomo, while his austerity budgets have starved localities of much needed infrastructure resources. By raising the income tax on millionaires, we can dedicate a portion of those revenues to fixing our subways.

“For eight years, straphangers have have been neglected and ignored by the current administration. And that alone should be enough to disqualify Andrew Cuomo for a third term,” Nixon says. “New Yorkers deserve better than to be stuck in a perpetual signal delay. We need to start moving forward. We need bold leadership and immediate action from our next governor.”

Nixon says unlike the governor "who initially refused to support his own MTA’s plan," she fully embraced Byford’s Fast Forward plan, proposing only to change how the improvement of sites are prioritized.

Under Byford’s plan, currently most of the improvements in the first 10 years would take place of Manhattan stops. Nixon also proposes to increase the rate in which accessibility improvements are made at at stations, so that subways are accessible to all, she says.

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