As Dedicated MTA Funds Disappear, Cuomo Still Hasn’t Signed Lockbox Bill

Even as Governor Andrew Cuomo moves to put $320 million in dedicated transit funding in a precarious position, he still hasn’t acted on transit lockbox legislation which would help protect the dedicated funds that remain.

The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member James Brennan and Senator Marty Golden, passed both houses of the legislature unanimously last summer. Cuomo hasn’t acted on the legislation, however. If passed, the lockbox would make it harder for either the governor or the legislature to steal dedicated transit funds.

According to Golden staffer John Googas, the governor has until December 31 to sign or veto the legislation. For now, it appears that the version of the legislation that passed, which earned support from an unusually broad coalition of transit advocates, labor unions, good government groups and the private sector, will be the one that Cuomo will decide on. Googas said Golden believes the current language offers “the best possible protection we can get” for transit funds and that there are not active plans to amend the bill.

Update: We’re hearing reports that a greatly weakened version of the bill may, in fact, replace the lockbox bill passed by the legislature. We’ll have an update when the situation becomes clear.

Cuomo has three weeks to choose whether he thinks dedicated transit funds — at least those he’ll allow to remain dedicated — should go to transit.