On Tuesday, transit advocates, labor, elected officials, and transit users stood together on the steps of City Hall to call on Congressional leaders, Governor Cuomo, and Mayor Bloomberg to support transit. Concerned about the outlook of the subways, buses, and rails amidst projected funding cuts in Washington and funding gaps at the MTA, attendees sent a strong message that the transit system is vital to New York’s economy and prosperity and that without continued and increased investment, the system might return to those days of old, poorly maintained subways and rail cars and unreliable and infrequent service on the region’s rails, subways, and buses.
Rally goers also called on Governor Cuomo to sign “lock-box” legislation, which requires that a “diversion impact statement” be filed when dedicated transit funds are swept into the general fund for other purposes, putting a public spotlight on diversions of transit funding. The bill passed both legislative chambers in June and is still awaiting the Governor’s signature.
Standing up for transit were: Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Straphangers Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, UPROSE, and WE ACT in addition to State Senator Dan Squadron, Assembly Dick Gottfried, and City Councilmembers Letitia James and Robert Jackson. Tri-State Transportation Campaign associate director, Veronica Vanterpool, told the group:
“Transit investment not only helps New Yorkers get to work. It generates hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state boosting the economy of New York. We are users of transit and we are defenders of transit. And, we call on our leaders in Washington, City Hall, and Albany to fight against proposed transit cuts and we call on Governor Cuomo to sign the lockbox legislation.”
The event, organized by TWU Local 100, was one of several events happening in cities across the US for “Don’t X Out Transit” day. A similar rally took place in Flushing, Queens and included the Amalgamated Transit Union, State Sen. Toby Stavisky, state Assemblywoman Grace Meng, and Assemblyman Rory Lancman.