State Senate pushes for parking permits to finance MTA rescue

The Big Apple’s already-cutthroat street parking game could get even more ruthless — if state lawmakers have their way.

In a bid to bail out the financially ailing Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state’s Senate is looking to impose a residential parking permit scheme that could see New Yorkers fork out $30 a month just to snag a space in their own neighborhood.

Those backing the proposal argue it could cut down on the number of commuters – including those from New Jersey and Long Island — who currently take up parking spaces across the city.

They also say it could generate $400 million annually for the cash-strapped MTA, which is enough to fill roughly a quarter of the agency’s annual budget deficit – estimated to be between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion.

But critics quickly lashed out, telling The Post on Wednesday that charging residents to park in spots that are currently free was nothing more than a bid to balance the MTA’s budget on the backs of taxpaying New Yorkers and would do nothing to solve their parking woes.

“This is nothing more than a ploy to generate revenue on the backs of middle-class car owners and it will do nothing to solve parking problems, when it’s the residents own cars taking up the spots,” Council minority leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said.

“There aren’t a lot of cars from Kentucky taking up city spots.”

The New York state Senate is pushing a plan to create residential parking permits in New York City to fund the MTA.
The New York state Senate is pushing a plan to create residential parking permits in New York City to fund the MTA.
Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts via ZUMA Press

Currently, there are roughly 3 million parking spaces scattered across the city – most of which are unmetered in the outer boroughs, according to the Department of Transportation.  

Other than the price tag, the state Senate’s proposal doesn’t offer up details of what the permit scheme would entail – including whether permit eligibility should be just limited to those who live in the immediate neighborhood.

It also isn’t clear how the parking permits would be enforced.

"The MTA faces a historic budget crisis," Sen. Mike Gianaris.
“The MTA faces a historic budget crisis,” Sen. Mike Gianaris.
Stephen Yang

Instead, those decisions would fall to the City Council, according to the proposal.  

The Council’s powerful budget committee chairman, Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), quickly signaled any such plan would get the cold shoulder at City Hall.

“There is a conversation to be had about residential parking permits for certain neighborhoods, but using it as a way to balance the MTA’s budget? No,” he told The Post.

“This proposal would just be cost-shifting to another tax on transit deserts in the outer boroughs.”

Despite residential parking permits being put in place in other major cities, including Chicago, the push for a similar scheme in New York City has never taken off.

The Council last considered the idea in 2018 at the behest of representatives from northern Manhattan neighborhoods, which have long complained commuters from New Jersey and Westchester park in their neighborhoods to hop on the subway.

That proposal stalled, in part, because the DOT under then-Mayor Bill de Blasio argued it needed authorization from Albany to launch such a program.

Still, state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Queens) backed the renewed push for parking permits.

“Residential parking permits have been requested by many New Yorkers for years,” Gianaris said.

“At a time when the MTA faces a historic budget crisis, giving New York City this option is a good way to raise revenue and benefit our neighborhoods at the same time.”

It’s unclear how widespread the support is for the state Senate’s proposal, which was introduced Tuesday as part of the chamber’s first formal response to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $227 billion state budget.

The details weren’t included in either Hochul’s budget proposal or the counter she received from lawmakers in the state Assembly.