Dear Governor Cuomo,
As you know New York faces a grave budget deficit—particularly in funding the capital construction and operating budget of its mass transit systems. New York also must fund the transition towards zero-emission modes of travel.
To meet these challenges we propose a Sustainable Transportation Surcharge (STS)— a $10 levy on enplaned passengers out of John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Stewart (SWF) Airports, with the proceeds ring-fenced towards sustainable transportation.
Similar arrangements are detailed in a 2019 ICF study on aviation taxes’ role in offsetting the emissions of European carriers.
In 2018, the Port Authority collected $286 million in Passenger Facility Charges at $4.50 per enplaned passenger. Removing Newark Airport (EWR) from the total, a $10 STS on fares out of JFK, LGA and SWF would have generated $425 million.
We ask that 80% of STS proceeds be disbursed by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority pursuant to its role implementing NYC’s Congestion Pricing.
Candidates for funding include rail and station upgrades; purchase of hybrid buses; and the creation and expansion of bicycle-pedestrian capacity across arterial bridges, including the George Washington, Newburgh-Beacon, JFK/Triboro, Cross Bay and Henry Hudson.
We ask that 20% of STS proceeds be set aside for projects in communities impacted by Port Authority operations, including those near:
- Kennedy, LaGuardia and Stewart Airports
- George Washington, Bayonne, Goethals Bridges and Outerbridge Crossing
- Holland and Lincoln Tunnels
- Port Authority Bus Terminal and Pennsylvania Station
We further recommend that New York issue “green bonds” against the projected revenues to jump start funding. Transport for London’s $500 million green bond offering provides a ready model.
We applaud your leadership on climate change and in rebooting New York’s economy in the aftermath of COVID-19. We respectfully ask that you consider the Sustainable Transportation Surcharge as one more tool to aid in that recovery.
Complete George, TBA
Facilities Map, Port Authority of NY-NJ.