The Fair Fares program aims to provide half-price transit fares to about 800,000 New Yorkers living under the federal poverty line and is set to launch in early 2019.
Ahead of schedule, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council agreed on a balanced 2019 fiscal budget, as the city’s lawmakers announced on Monday. The agreement on the $89.15 billion budget includes the Fair Fares Program, a program that cuts the price of MetroCards in half for low-income New Yorkers; the expansion of 3-K for All; Fair Student Funding for New York City schools, and a boost for supportive housing.
“With our colleagues in the City Council, we have come to a historic agreement to reduce the cost of MetroCards for hardworking New Yorkers struggling to afford their city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. ”We’re also addressing the city’s most pressing needs by getting every school to at least 90 percent Fair Student Funding, expanding 3-K for All and making unprecedented investments in NYCHA. All this while adding to our reserves to protect the important investments we’ve made over the last five years, including in this budget.”
The Fair Fares program will be modeled after the city’s Cash Assistance and SNAP programs; the city is currently working on eligibility requirements for the program. Fair Fares aims to provide half-price subway and bus rides to about 800,000 New Yorkers living under the federal poverty line and is set to launch in early 2019. The budget also adds $150 million in capital funds to increase school accessibility and $200 million in capital funds to upgrade heating systems at NYCHA developments.
Important aspects of the budget include:
- Acceleration of $100 million toward supportive housing for de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan;
- Increase funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) to meet projected demand, bringing the EFAP budget to $20 million annually;
- $12 million to expand the NYPD’s body camera program to every patrol officer by the end of 2018:
- $11.4 million for the Crisis Management System, including the Cure Violence program;
- $10.3 million to expand the Summer Youth Employment Program.
Councilmember Robert Cornegy of the 36th District, representing Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, was part of the budget negotiating team and called the agreement a strong stand for fairness and accountability.
“I am proud of the leadership of the Council in obtaining funding for Fair Fares, fully funding Fair Student Funding, enhancing the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) and other support for our seniors, restoring funding for critical initiatives for youth like Summer SONYC, prioritizing permanent housing solutions for our homeless population and investing in the dire capital needs of our public housing stock,” said Cornegy. “I am doubly proud that we were able to do so in a way that shows we can meet our fiscal needs and provide New Yorkers the assistance they need while being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ money.”
To see the complete budget go here.