Local Elected Officials and Community Rally to Protest MTA Cuts to Bus Lines

January 22, 2010
Brooklyn – This morning, Assemblywoman Joan Millman was joined by New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, New York City Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, representatives of New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, and members of the community to protest the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) proposed cuts to local bus lines. The group also urged the MTA to reconsider its plans to cut funding for student Metrocards, reduce Access-a-Ride service, lay off MTA employees and decrease subway service. The rally was held in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, at the intersection of two bus lines facing cuts.

“The MTA’s proposed service cuts to bus, subway and Access-a-Ride would make traveling to Downtown Brooklyn from many neighborhoods in my Assembly District nearly impossible for scores of elderly and disabled riders,” said Assemblywoman Joan Millman. “Even subway stations that have elevators or escalators require riders to climb some stairs. Buses are not only easier to board, but deliver riders closer to their destinations. While we are in the midst of the worst recession this country has faced in over 75 years and the state must make difficult financial decisions, public transportation is an absolute necessity. We must look at every available option to sustain mass transit, including reinstituting the commuter tax, maximizing the MTA’s real estate assets and creating a residential permit parking system. Mass transit provides intangible long-term benefits to the overall health and growth of our city. No one wants to return to the dark days of the late 1970s. The MTA must clean up its act and stop trying to balance their books on the backs of New York’s transit riders.”

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, "The MTA’s proposed cuts to the B37, B71 and B75 bus lines are unacceptable. It is shocking that less than a year after we staved off the MTA’s ‘Doomsday’ scenario, we are faced with yet another revenue crisis. The agency must be able to manage and predict its finances with more accuracy and transparency. It must also be able to rely on more consistent revenue streams instead of sudden infusions of cash from Albany. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues and community leaders to fight draconian transit cuts that hit Brooklyn hardest."

“These bus lines are essential to the working people of Brooklyn,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “Last year the MTA's Doomsday Budget threatened to cut these same lines unless Albany again bailed out the MTA. The legislature fully funded that request. And here we are, mere months later, facing those same cuts. It is unacceptable and indefensible. I said then and I repeat, the MTA has to open its books to justify these repeated attacks on the working people they should be serving.”

Council Member Brad Lander said, “The MTA, the state and the city have a collective obligation to keep our transit system working for all New Yorkers. The city’s buses are a vital lifeline for many people throughout Brooklyn and it is unacceptable to cut that lifeline for so many people.”

Added Council Member Stephen Levin, “I stand with my fellow elected officials to advocate against the MTA’s planned service cuts in this neighborhood. Buses serve a vital role to our community, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities. Buses also provide a fundamental service for consumers, who contribute to the economic wellbeing of the community by traveling to our vibrant retail districts. I strongly urge the MTA to reconsider its plans to discontinue bus service to our neighborhood.”