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New York’s new casinos will be key drivers of transit improvements

| By iGB Freelance | Reading Time: < 1 minute
New York state legislators are accelerating efforts to award three new casino licences in the New York City area, emphasising the angle that the casinos would generate revenue to offset the funding gap created by Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to delay a congestion pricing plan.
brooklyn bridge new york casino

The language of the New York casino bill is meticulously crafted to expedite the licensing schedule. It lays out clear guidelines for bidders, emphasising the importance of meeting the August deadline.

This tight schedule is indicative of the state’s commitment to resolving the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) budgetary concerns swiftly. The bill also includes provisions to ensure that the licensing process is transparent and competitive. It offers equal opportunities for all interested parties.

The revenue generated from the new casinos is earmarked for the MTA, providing a lifeline to an organisation that is integral to the daily lives of millions of New Yorkers. The New York casino bill dedicates funds expected to alleviate the financial strain on the MTA. It would then be able to continue its operations without resorting to drastic measures such as service cuts or fare hikes.

The MTA was slated to receive a significant portion of the revenue generated by a proposed toll on vehicles entering Manhattan’s busiest areas during peak hours. However, that congestion pricing plan is now on hold. Lawmakers are looking to casino operators for billions of dollars in exchange for the coveted licences.

MTA in dire straits

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the MTA wasn’t operating on a clean financial slate. There was an existing structural deficit, meaning expenses consistently outpaced revenue. This gap, estimated at around $750m annually, stemmed from several factors, including high operating costs and a reliance on fare revenue.

The pandemic dealt a major blow to the MTA’s finances. Ridership plummeted as many transitioned to remote work or opted for alternative modes of transportation. This significant drop in fare revenue drastically exacerbated the existing deficit.

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