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Bridge Tolls

State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery Sides With Fare Hike Four

Montgomery.jpgThe Fare Hike Four have absorbed most of the fire from advocates and editorial boards for derailing the Ravitch plan, and rightfully so. But by calling so much attention to themselves, they've also given cover to other members of the State Senate. So, what does the rest of the Senate majority have to say? Here's what Brooklyn's Velmanette Montgomery, re-elected on the Democratic and Working Families Party ballot lines in 2008 (with more than 96 percent of the vote), told her constituents:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me about the MTA "Doomsday" plan. Iam working with my colleagues in the Senate to find an alternative to theunacceptably harsh ideas suggested by the Ravitch Commission. The SenateMajority plan provides the MTA with more operating capital than the Ravitchplan, does so with a lower fare increase and with no tolls on bridges. Inaddition it provides for the ongoing future fiscal health of the MTA byrequiring a thorough forensic audit of the MTA to root out excesses andduplications. It is unacceptable for the public to be continually subjectedto fare increases and be denied any oversight of the MTA finances. Withyour continued support for the Senate Majority proposal, we can assure thecontinued responsible health of our transportation infrastructure.

The "Senate Majority plan" Montgomery touts is the same one with $700 million in accounting mistakes and absolutely no provision for maintenance and expansion. Claiming that it provides for the "continued responsible health of our transportation infrastructure" is laughable. Her position does not stray from what Carl Kruger and the rest of the Fare Hike Four have been saying.

Every day, traffic to free East River bridges overruns Montgomery's district -- which curves from Sunset Park to Bed-Stuy. Among her constituents, nearly 70 percent of households are car-free, and transit commuters to the CBD outnumber car commuters by more than 10 to 1 [PDF]. Back when congestion pricing was on the table, Montgomery said she had "major reservations." Now that her transit-dependent district faces some of the worst service cuts anywhere in the city [PDF], she's chosen to obstruct a workable plan to keep trains and buses running by asking drivers to pay their share. This is what it means to represent "working families" in Albany?

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