Statement of the New York League of Conservation Voters, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, Pratt Center for Community Development, Reinvent Albany, Riders Alliance and Tri-State Transportation Campaign on the New York State Legislature’s failure to stop Governor Cuomo’s raid of dedicated transit funds:
For immediate release – March 29, 2014
Veronica Vanterpool, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, 917-957-9748
John Raskin, Riders Alliance, 646-369-8093
Gene Russianoff, Straphangers Campaign, 917-575-9434
Dan Hendrick, New York League of Conservation Voters, 917-207-8715
RIDERS LOSE: STATE LEGISLATURE FAILS TO STOP RAID ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Transportation Groups Warn That “Treating MTA Like a Piggy Bank” Will Put Pressure on Fares and Service
Today, Albany failed millions of subway, bus and commuter rail riders.
Despite budget resolutions by both houses that removed Governor Cuomo’s ill-conceived raid on dedicated transit funds, the Assembly and Senate largely caved to the Governor’s wishes and failed to protect transit riders in the final agreement. The final budget bills, printed this morning, show the $40 million proposed raid had been reduced to $30 million—still a tremendous loss for the riding public.
The sacrifice of dedicated transit funds will mean less money available to provide subway, bus, Metro-North and Long Island Railroad service. Taking away transit funding at the state level has a direct impact on levels of service, which still have not been restored to 2010 levels, and on fares, which continue to rise every other year.
Sadly, our elected leaders have sent a clear message that the State can—and will—use the MTA as a piggy bank, siphoning dollars out of the pockets of transit riders.
In recent years, legislators have agreed to create new revenue streams with the promise that the money would flow to the transit system. Today, those promises were broken, undermining the future stability of the transit system.
We thank those legislators who were unwavering champions in this battle, including Assemblyman James Brennan, Senator Martin Golden, and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus. We also appreciate the support of the dozens of legislators who put themselves on record opposing the raid.
In October, the MTA will present to the State Legislature a five-year, multi-billion capital program to continue the repair of our vital transportation system. Estimates of the gap in funds needed could be $15 billion or more. At the same time, the MTA will be preparing to hold hearings for its fifth fare hike in six years.
We hope Albany does much, much better for transit riders in the coming year than it did today.