Brooklyn – Today Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman released the following statement in response to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) proposal to raise fares in 2008.
This afternoon at 5:00 PM, State Senator Thomas Duane, Assemblyman Jim Brennan and Borough Presidents Marty Markowitz and Scott Stringer are hosting a press conference at Brooklyn Borough Hall to comment on the proposal. Also, this evening at 6:00 PM the MTA will be holding the first of several public hearings on its plan to raise fares at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriot Hotel.
In addition, Millman joined many of her colleagues in the State Legislature and members of civic groups in sending a letter to MTA officials expressing their opposition to a premature move to increase fares.
Statement Presented by:
Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
Re: MTA Proposed Fare Increase
I join my colleagues in the Legislature and call on the MTA to postpone a fair hike until after the State Legislature has been given the opportunity to increase state support to the MTA. For over 10 years, the state has not increased funding to match increased operating expenses. We need to change that if we want to encourage people to use public transportation. That is our obligation as elected officials- to ensure public agencies are properly managed and funded. We are asking the MTA to give us some time to do our job.
The MTA also has an obligation- to be open and honest about their financial records. It is deeply disturbing that there have been too many reports of sloppy financial recordkeeping by the MTA and even the existence of two separate financial record books – a public version that continuously shows the MTA in financial duress and a private version that provides a more accurate picture. I trust the new Chairman will rectify this situation.
In addition, I and many others have expressed to the NYC Traffic Mitigation Commission that before any traffic reduction plan be implemented our regional transportation system must be upgraded to handle the additional demands that will be placed on it. Most subway lines and commuter railways are already at full capacity and some are dangerously overcrowded. If we are going to increase the number of riders, we must properly fund the MTA.
We also need to look at other options such as reintroducing the commuter tax. If you work in New York City, you benefit from our transportation system and more than likely use the heavily-subsidized commuter rails. Those subsidies come at the expense of New Yorkers. The MTA has been short-changing New Yorkers to benefit the commuter rail lines for too long.
Again, I ask the MTA to have patience but also to be honest about its short-term and long-term finances.