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Long Island businesses could pay more to support the MTA

Adam Moss

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Janno Lieber said Long Island should be willing to pay more to support transit after the construction of the Long Island Rail Road’s Third Track and new terminal at Grand Central Station.

Lieber said he supports a proposal from Governor Kathy Hochul to increase New York’s payroll mobility tax on select employers by 47% — from 34 cents for every $100 of payroll to 50 cents.

Lieber said it’s fair to ask Long Island businesses to contribute, as they benefit from the LIRR’s newest upgrades.

“I don’t think it's unreasonable to ask the businesses, who for the first time are getting reverse commuting, which is going to enable them to have incredible reach in terms of their workforce, to participate in that.”

The bump would generate $800 million for the MTA, which is still facing a huge financial hit from low ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s an essential service. And our job here at the MTA is to make sure that we can provide it," Lieber continued. "I don't apologize for the fact that we’ve come on the wake of a pandemic where we’ve lost a third of our ridership that we come to the legislature with the help of the governor and say we need a new funding model.”

Lieber also said an underfunded transit system would impact low-income commuters the most, as many don’t have the ability to work remotely.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.