Silver, Assembly Dems Reject Better NYC Bus Service

Sheldon Silver’s office just announced the outlines of the Assembly’s budget resolution. On a day when transit riders saw subway and bus cuts start to loom a whole lot closer, the speaker and his conference have piled on. Here’s the final line item under "Metropolitan Transportation Authority" in the summary of the Assembly’s budget [PDF]:

  • The Assembly rejects the Executive proposal to authorize: Bus Lane Photo Devices
silver_farrell.jpgAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman "Denny" Farrell have rejected enforcement cameras that would make bus service faster and more reliable for New Yorkers.

Unmentioned in this terse description is the fact that these "photo devices" can deliver better service for millions of bus riders. Bus cams were included in Governor Paterson’s executive budget proposal, and the State Senate has proposed a weaker but still substantial bus camera program. The Assembly has apparently decided to strip them out of the budget entirely.

The news from the Assembly does not represent the last word on bus cams, and there will be opportunities to restore bus lane enforcement in the final budget. But for now this budget proposal has sent a clear message: Bus riders and better transit service do not matter to the Assembly leadership. We’ll have more on this story tomorrow.

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