Hopefully this means mass transit users will finally have something to look forward to in the new year.
Of course, it won't be immediate, but at least now it will be harder for the state to divert funds earmarked for transportation improvement to other pet projects.
In a nutshell, the bill would require approval by the state legislature in the event that any funds previously dedicated to transit are diverted. Such a move would require a “Diversion Impact Statement” that would be reviewed by lawmakers for either approval or disapproval.
This is a no-nonsense move, and it's foolish that it took so long for the state to make it. Given the sorry state of the mass transit system and the issues finding the money in state and city budgets to pay for all of the necessary repairs, it is ridiculous that what money could be found to fund mass transit would then be used for other projects.
A plan to fix the subway system that has been proposed by New York City Transit president Andy Byford over the next five years will cost upwards of $40 billion.
According to advocates – over 50 groups signed a letter urging Cuomo to sign the bill – over the past decade these “transit raids” have resulted in the loss of millions for mass transit projects.
Now that the Transit Lockbox bill has become law, taxpayers can at least be assured that the money that is allocated for mass transit projects will actually be used for that purpose.