Earlier this week, Streetsblog had news of a House bill that would allow regional transit agencies such as New York’s MTA to spend up to 30 percent of their federal grants on operating costs. Under current law, federal money goes toward capital investment.

This bill, sponsored by St. Louis Democrat Russ Carnahan, is a bad idea.

State and local officials already face too much pressure from constituents and interest groups to keep transit fares down, sacrificing long-term investment to plug operating deficits. This bill would make an even bigger pot of money vulnerable to this temptation.

A provision in the bill calling for localities to increase their own operating spending to win the right to divert federal funds to operating costs actually makes this problem worse, because it would give the states and cities another incentive to divert funds from capital spending.

And, a federal pot for operating costs would allow some states and cities, including New York, to continue to punt on reforming out-of-control union labor costs.

You may also like

How a Medicaid ‘Cut’ Could Lead to More Unionization of Home Care Aides

A money-saving maneuver in the newly enacted Medicaid budget could end up increasing costs in the long term – by paving the way for more unionization of the state's burgeoning home health workforce. Read More

Pols Craft More Handouts for Sinking Construction Unions

New York’s construction unions, facing a decades-long decline, are employing a time-honored tactic: getting state government to stop people from competing with them. Read More

Union Rallies Long Island Pols Against NYC Kids

New York’s statewide teachers union has been cashing in political chits as it seeks to block new charter schools from opening in New York City, asking the senators and assemblymembers Read More

MTA’s Casino Funding Takes Voters For A Ride

As the Legislature prepares to authorize new downstate casinos, some voters who supported the amendment are discovering they came up snake-eyes. Read More

New York’s pricey hospitals draw pushback from labor

A City Council hearing in Manhattan on Thursday promises a rare scene in New York politics: hospitals playing defense. The council is debating whether to establish a watchdog agency focused on the high price of hospital care in New York, with a goal of helping the city and other employers contain the rapidly rising cost of health benefits for workers. Read More

Utility board turns into union tool

The idea that the PSC would artificially drive electricity costs higher to benefit a political constituency represents a new low. Read More

New Docs Raise Big Questions About NY’s Megafab Mega-Deal

The Hochul Administration published a pair of documents concerning the Micron Megafab deal that raise more questions than they answer. Read More

On College Readiness, Comptroller Asks Wrong Question, Delivers Flawed Answer 

Graduation rates are rising while standards for graduation are falling. It begs the question: What number of graduating students are college ready? Read More