MTA Service Cuts — The Tough Choice Albany Never Has to Vote On

Faced with a budget gap of nearly $800 million, the MTA Board voted to approve a slate of service cuts this afternoon that will affect millions of New Yorkers. The cuts are slated to start
taking effect in June. Unless elected officials intervene to close the MTA’s deficit, subway and bus riders will have to contend with less frequent service, more transfers, longer walks to the
bus, and worse crowding on platforms and trains.

The vote comes as no surprise, but it’s worth a short recap of how we got to this point.

Of all the recent factors that helped cause these service cuts — the state’s theft of dedicated transit revenue, the deep recession, the MTA’s refusal to use stimulus money to help the agency through lean times — the one that stands out is our state legislature’s intransigence.

Twice in the last two years, Albany had the chance to secure a new funding stream for transit by putting a price on car commuting, first through congestion pricing, then through bridge tolls. Both times, they chose to keep on giving drivers a free ride. Would we be talking about these service cuts if the state legislature had enacted the full Ravitch Plan last spring? Each year, those bridge tolls could have generated hundreds of millions of dollars more for transit than Albany’s stopgap solution.

The legislators who failed to properly fund our transit system must be thankful they didn’t have to vote today. Other people do that for them.

For a full recap of today’s MTA Board proceedings, Ben Kabak at Second Avenue Sagas has the moment-by-moment account.

  • ladyperson

    Bravo! I hope you write an update on this, and link to this and previous posts, come election time in November.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Andrew Cuomo Can’t Ignore Transit in 2012

|
New York City transit riders might have taken some small measure of satisfaction from the sight of Carl Kruger resigning from the State Senate earlier this week. Pleading guilty to federal corruption charges, Kruger became the third member of the “Fare Hike Four” — the gang who killed a 2009 plan to fund transit by […]

Doomsday Redux? MTA and Transit Riders Squeezed on All Sides

|
Yesterday word surfaced that the MTA will receive $200 million less from the recently enacted payroll tax than the state of New York originally projected. The news came less than a week after Albany legislators slashed $143 million from the MTA so the state can keep paying its bills. Add it up, and the agency […]

Cuomo Cuts $100 Million to Transit [Updated]

|
Reactions to Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget are beginning to come in. The cuts to transit, which are being pegged at $100 million, are being portrayed as painful, though perhaps not devastating. The MTA itself sees Cuomo’s plan as cutting $100 million from its budget, not the $57 million we estimated earlier. That’s $200 million in […]

Albany Didn’t “Cut” the MTA Budget. They Stole From It.

|
As part of December’s deficit reduction package, Albany lawmakers took dedicated transit tax revenue from MTA operations to fund other parts of the state budget. The $190 million pot of money is known as the state’s 18-B obligation to the MTA. The total MTA operating budget is nearly $12 billion (with a "b"). When the […]