New York Announces Plan to Fix Subways with Legal Weed Taxes
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio have introduced a plan to fund the MTA, using taxes from impending legal weed sales and a newly-proposed “congestion” tolling system.
Published on February 27, 2019

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Cannabis is not yet legal for adult consumption in New York State, but when the laws eventually pass and dispensaries start popping up across the five boroughs, there’s a good chance that every pot purchase made will help America’s largest city refurbish its famously-crumbling subway system.

If you’ve tried to take a train from Brooklyn to uptown Manhattan over the past few years, or even opened Twitter during morning commute hours, you’ve probably seen the sorry state of the MTA. With lengthy delays and stalled trains turning from abnormalities to everyday regularities, the world’s busiest transportation system has quickly become an enemy of time-conscious New Yorkers.

Now, according to a report from CNBC, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio have announced a new plan to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, using taxes from impending legal weed sales, as well as a newly-proposed “congestion” tolling system targeted at drivers navigating Manhattan’s peak traffic hours.

Per the new plan, anyone operating a personal car during rush hours below 61st Street would be subject to the fees of a new electronic tolling system, with that money then going into a “lockbox” earmarked for subway spending, alongside cash from a newly-legal online sales tax, and eventual legal weed sales.

“Congestion pricing tolls would be supplemented with State and City revenue from a fixed amount of the new internet sales tax derived from sales in New York City, with a growth factor, and a percentage of the State and City revenue from the cannabis excise tax,” Cuomo and De Blasio’s 10-point plan states.

Governor Cuomo has been pushing for a statewide cannabis legalization plan for months now, after a fierce Democratic primary in last November’s gubernatorial election saw challenger Cynthia Nixon bring marijuana law reform to center stage. Following an incumbent victory, though, Cuomo has so-far stayed true to his campaign promises to match that legalization vigor, with initial plans already in motion to end prohibition as soon as April of this year.

“Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” Cuomo told a crowd of constituents this past December.

It will still take a matter of years for local authorities to compile the $40 billion necessary to renovate the MTA, but in addition to the help from legal weed taxes, we’re guessing that dispensaries next to — or inside — bodegas will also help add some much needed relaxation to the arduous process of commuting in the city.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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