April 22, 2024

Governor Hochul Announces Significant Investments in Transit Expansion and Roadway Safety as Part of FY2025 Budget Agreement

Summary Points

  • Passing Sammy’s Law, Allowing New York City to Lower Speed Limits
  • More Than $8.7 Billion in Transit Operating Aid Statewide
  • $7.7 Billion for Nation-Leading Infrastructure Programs
  • $1.3 Billion for Local Road and Bridge Programs, Including $100 Million for the Pave Our Potholes Program
  • $68 Million to Advance Interborough Express and Planning of the Second Avenue Subway Extension
  • New Toll and Fare Enforcement Measures Focused on Equity
  • Takes Action to Protect Limousine Passengers Across New York

Release Copy

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced new investments in transit, infrastructure and roadway safety as part of the FY 2025 Budget. The Budget includes significant support for transit entities and local highway departments statewide, dedicated funding to advance the Interborough Express and the extension of the Second Avenue Subway, and new enhanced enforcement tools for both fare and toll evasion, focused on promoting equity in enforcement.

“Whether you're on the roadway or the subway, you deserve to get to your destination quickly and safely,” Governor Hochul said. “This Budget advances transformative infrastructure projects that will change the way New Yorkers get around and takes action on toll and fare enforcements measures to ensure everyone using our public infrastructure pays their fair share.”

Passing Sammy’s Law

As part of the FY 2025 Budget, Governor Hochul has secured the passage of Sammy’s Law, named after Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old child who died when he was hit by a car in 2013. This law will allow New York City to lower its speed limit to 20 miles per hour, far reducing the risk of death or life-threatening injury in an accident.

Investing in Transit

The FY 2025 Budget builds on Governor Hochul's record of investing in public transit and saving the MTA from the “fiscal cliff” by making a record contribution in transit operating aid and advancing equity-centered transit expansions:

  • $7.9 billion in mass transit operating support for the MTA, $333 million in support for upstate transit systems – an 8.7% increase – and $551 million for non-MTA downstate transit systems – 5.6% increase.
  • $52 million for design and engineering on the Interborough Express.
  • $16 million to move forward with the planning of the Second Avenue Subway extension to Broadway.
  • $18 million for the Rochester Intermodal Center.

Equitably Combatting Toll and Fare Evasion

To combat increased toll and fare evasion across bridges, tunnels, roadways and transit systems, the FY 2025 Budget acts to ensure that everyone who uses public infrastructure pays their fair share. These actions include:

  • Increasing monetary fines for repeat fare evaders up to $150 and purposeful license plate defacement and covering up to $500.
  • Increasing toll enforcement activities and banning the sale of “ghost plates” and plate coverings.
  • Requiring surrender of plate covering material upon conviction for obstructing a license plate.
  • Allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to revoke vehicle registrations for 90 days for repeat plate covering offenders.
  • Aligning enforcement of unpaid tolls with unpaid parking violations, allowing offenders to have judgments entered against them and enabling the booting and towing of vehicles.

The FY 2025 Budget also ensures equitable enforcement by implementing the following reforms:

  • Requiring police officers to issue written warnings instead of summonses for first time fare evasion offenders.
  • Requiring the MTA to dismiss fare evasion penalties assessed against someone who enrolls in New York City’s Fair Fares program, and cutting fare evasion fines in half if you are already enrolled in Fair Fares.
  • Requiring the MTA to refund up to 50 percent of the first fine – if paid on-time – to the customer via a fare card.
  • Granting the MTA the same authority to enforce fare evasion on the commuter railroads that currently exists within New York City Transit.
  • Securing a commitment from MTA Bridges and Tunnels to reduce fees assessed for late-payment of toll violations on its major bridges and tunnels.

Additionally, the FY 2025 budget includes the “Toll By Mail Enhancement Act”, which will improve the toll payer experience by:

  • Requiring the state tolling authorities to allow for text message and email notification for outstanding toll payments.
  • Strengthening the appeals process for customers.
  • Standardizing notice procedures between the state tolling authorities.

Advancing the Nation-Leading Infrastructure Agenda

The FY 2025 Budget also continues to deliver on the commitments Governor Hochul made in establishing a five-year transportation capital program, which supports nation-leading projects to reconnect communities and make critical infrastructure resilient.

  • Nearly $7.7 billion for the third year of a record $33 billion, five-year DOT Capital Plan to improve highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit, and DOT facilities including $1.3 billion for local roads and bridges.
  • This funding includes $100 million for Governor Hochul’s Pave Our Potholes program, $598 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and $140 million for state touring routes.

Strengthening Protections for Limousine Riders Statewide

The FY 2025 Budget fulfills Governor Hochul’s commitment to enhance protections for limousine passengers across the state, after introducing a legislative proposal to fulfill the statutory changes recommended by the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force. These changes include:

  • Requiring a $5,000 to $25,000 fine for operating a suspended stretch limousine.
  • Requiring that stretch limousines to be equipped with enhanced safety features including window break tools, fire extinguishers, improved emergency egress, and roll-over protection.
  • Prohibiting the operation of a stretch limousine that is over 10 years old or has mileage exceeding 350,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
  • Improving data availability on limousine operators.
  • Mandating that all stretch limousine passengers be given a pre-trip safety briefing.