Union Backs Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Tax the Wealthy to Fix the City’s Troubled Subway System

Mayor's MTA Press Conf. Brooklyn

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido speaks at an Aug. 7 press conference in favor of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to generate new revenue for the city’s troubled subway and bus transportation system. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera.

By ALFREDO ALVARADO

DC 37 members and activists joined Mayor Bill de Blasio at Brooklyn Borough Hall to show union support for a plan to generate more revenue to get the underfunded Metropolitan Transportation Authority back on track after a summer of constant subway delays and even several derailments that caused the system to be shut down.

“It’s not just a subway crisis, it’s a human crisis and the status quo is not working,” said the mayor at his Monday morning press conference on Aug. 7 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The mayor called for Albany to pass legislation that would tax individuals with an income of $500,000 a year and married couples making $1 million a year.

“We support the mayor’s plan for a fair fix,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “It’s time for everyone to step up to the plate. The irony is our 2,000 members who work as engineers and in the information technology departments at the MTA and are working to fix some of these issues, have a problem getting to work on time because of all the delays.”

The legislation, introduced by state Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assembly member Danny O’Donnell, would raise $700,000 million annually for capital improvements. Another $250 million from the new tax would be used to fund half-price MetroCards for working New Yorkers who earn $24,000 a year or less.

Gianaris has also introduced legislation to prevent the state from taking money from the MTA budget to fund other agencies. De Blasio was also joined at the press conference by David Jones, CEO of the Community Service Society. The CSS has been calling for a reduced fair for low-income New Yorkers. The Riders Alliance and Transport Workers Local 100 also expressed support for the mayor’s plan.

Currently, the city contributes $1.6 billion annually to the MTA for subway and bus operations. The tax sought by de Blasio would be paid by an estimated 32,000 tax filers, who make up 0.8 percent of all filers in the city.

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