Here’s What the MTA Could Do With the $65 Million Cuomo Wants to Cut

No matter how bad the service gets, transit riders will always have these USB ports.
No matter how bad the service gets, transit riders will always have these USB ports.

Subway service is deteriorating, with delays and overcrowding on the rise. Slow and unreliable service has New Yorkers calling on the MTA to rethink the city’s bus system to bring riders back.

Now Governor Cuomo wants to cut $65 million from the state’s annual contribution to the MTA, breaking a five-year-old promise to transit riders.

An analysis by the Riders Alliance and Regional Plan Association identifies transit improvements that $65 million could fund, including:

  • 21 additional open-gangway subway cars (the MTA already has 750 on the way), which can increase train capacity by as much as 10 percent,
  • Countdown clocks with real-time arrival information at more than 3,000 bus stops
  • More frequent service on the 92 bus routes with the least-frequent service and most overcrowding, which could help turnaround falling bus ridership — for just $28 million
  • Two ADA-accessible subway stations
  • Renovations of five Long Island Railroad or Metro-North stations
  • The ability to run six additional LIRR trains or eight additional Metro-North trains during the morning rush hour.

The potential impact of the cut is not lost on scores of state legislators who sent letters to Cuomo and legislative leadership calling on them to include the funds in the final budget.

“Through the broad lens of a $150 billion budget, four hundredths of one percent may not look like much,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, who represents Williamsburg and Bushwick, in a statement. “In our communities, aboard our crowded trains and buses, however, $65 million goes a long way.”

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No matter how bad the service gets, transit riders will always have these USB ports.

Cuomo Breaks Another Promise to Transit Riders

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Five years ago, Cuomo promised to allocate $320 million annually to the MTA to make up for cutting one of the agency's dedicated revenue streams. At the time, advocates warned that Cuomo wouldn't keep his promise for long. They were right: This year the governor's draft budget calls for a $65 million cut to MTA funding.