In an op-ed for the Daily News, John Samuelsen International President for the Transport Workers Union and Brooklyn Assemblyman Robert Carroll said the MTA’s budget crisis could be resolved with a new measure – a fee that would reportedly raise more than $1 billion a year.
“We do not have to accept as inevitable the laying off of thousands of transit workers who have already endured and sacrificed so much keeping NYC moving, and functioning, during this deadly pandemic,” they wrote in the op-ed.
“We choose to fight, and we ask you to join us.”
The charge would not be applied to orders containing food or medicine, but argue that the surcharge would also incentivize people to shop from local shops, rather than the large retailers, like Amazon and Walmart.
The pair argue that the MTA desperately needs a federal bailout from Washington to aid the already struggling transportation system that has been “decimated” by the effects of the coronavirus.
They are looking to the government to help them recover from what they have estimated will be a $16 billion deficit by the year 2024, but they have also said they will need help on the state level as well.
Though they are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step in and make changes, including the $3 surcharge on packing, the charge would only apply to New York City – a change that Carroll Samuelsen says will benefit the environment as well.
The op-ed states that 1.8 million packages are delivered in the Big Apple every day – a figure that the World Economic Forum could raise the number of delivery vehicles by 36% over the next decade, if no policies are established to otherwise slow the spread of online shopping.
“They might be reminded how local mom-and-pop stores, and bigger retailers like Bloomingdales and Macy’s, are part of what makes a city dynamic, diverse and interesting,” the New Yorker’s said. “These businesses also employ our neighbors.”
They also believe the charge would force the companies to cut down on their waste by ensuring that orders are packaged together instead of arriving as separate deliveries.
The pair said that the MTA could see cuts by 2022 resulting in a loss of 450,000 jobs, and a $50 billion drop in annual earnings.
“What gets lost in these reports, however, is the human pain and suffering behind such numbers: parents who are unable to pay the rent or buy groceries; children forced to go to bed cold and hungry; high school students seeing the promise of a college education fade away,” they said.