Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council speaker Corey Johnson reached an agreement on funding half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers, and this week that agreement has been set in stone.
Funding for the Fair Fares programs is part of the $89.2 billion city budget, which the Mayor announced on Monday, and which the City Council is expected to approve on Thursday, according to the New York Times. As of now, the budget includes $106 million for the discounted fare program, and will cover it for the first six months, starting in January 2019. Funding beyond that is expected to be secured in future budgets.
It is expected that the reduced fare MetroCards will benefit 800,000 New Yorkers, but the Times points out that far fewer people may apply for the subsidized cards in the first year. The Fair Fares program will be open to New Yorkers who live below the federal poverty line—that’s under $12,000/year for an individual and under $24,399/year for a family of four.
Though the Mayor has always been on board with the reduced fares program, he wanted it to be funded by the implementation of the a millionaires’ tax. Though that proposal didn’t get much traction, the City Council’s doggedness to get the reduced fare program funded paid off.
In addition to the discounted MetroCards, the city has also committed an additional $254 million for the M.T.A. in its latest budget.