New York Lawmakers Push New Casino Bill to Cover Funding Shortfall from Cancelled Plan


New York state legislators are advocating for a decision on three New York City casino licenses to generate funding for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which was impacted by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D-NY) decision to delay her congestion pricing plan.

The MTA, the city’s transit authority, was slated to receive substantial funds from the Manhattan tolls, but now lawmakers aim to bridge the funding gap with billions from casino operators for these licenses. A bill accelerating the licensing process only needs Hochul’s signature after clearing the state Assembly and Senate.

“We need to finalize the casino deals — the MTA requires the funds,” said Gary Pretlow, state Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Co-Chairman, who recently co-sponsored a bill to establish a quicker timeline for awarding the licenses.

“The governor could initiate the bidding process immediately, which would benefit the MTA,” Pretlow added.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo mentioned that the state could generate “$2.5 billion to $3 billion just from the casino licenses.” This revenue would compensate for the projected $1 billion annual windfall that the MTA would have received if Hochul hadn’t postponed the congestion pricing. The delay caused significant concern among New Yorkers seeking additional funding for the transit agency and reduced auto traffic in the city.

Hochul attributed her decision to inflation, stating the toll would have charged passenger vehicles $15 to enter certain Manhattan areas during peak hours.

“A $15 charge might not seem significant to someone with means, but it could strain the budget of a hardworking or middle-class household,” Hochul said. “It pressures the very individuals who keep this city running.”

The casino licensing bill mandates bidders to submit their casino plans by the end of August 2024.

Ross O'Keefe
Ross O'Keefe
Breaking News Reporter. Ross pitches and writes polished quick-hit pieces about a variety of subjects with a focus on politics. He graduated from the University of Maryland's Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in 2023.

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