State Assemblymember Jim Brennan (D-Bklyn) has submitted legislation to require the MTA to present a report to the Legislature and the Governor by December 31, 2012 on the cost of restoring service cuts since 2008.
The MTA has cut or eliminated routes on subways, buses and commuter rail due to the recession. “As we prepare for the next State budget, the Governor and the Legislature need to know the cost of restoring some or all of these service cuts,” said Mr. Brennan.
The bill would require the MTA to report on the service impacts of the cutbacks for each route and the number of customers affected across all systems, including bus, rail, and subways. The report would include information on how much money was actually saved versus the projected savings for each route.
The MTA’s report must present two alternatives for service restoration plans. The first would provide a cost for full restoration of all cutbacks. The second would require detailing a plan that would “substantially mitigate” the negative impacts of service cuts and eliminations for an “equitable restoration” of services “across all impacted neighborhoods and regions.”
The purpose of the legislation is to give the Legislature and the Governor information to consider service restorations in next year’s budget and assure that all communities that had been negatively affected benefit. “As the economy in New York improves the Legislature, the Governor, and the MTA should work together to address the difficulties faced by thousands of New York City and suburban residents when they lost transit service during the recession,” Mr. Brennan said.
"In June 2010, the MTA cut service severely, killing 36 bus routes, 570 bus stops, all or parts of three subway lines, while also increasing crowding and wait times in the subways on off hours and weekends. Assemblymember Brennan's bill would give the riding public straight answers on what the savings have been and which riders have been impacted," said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, a transit riders' group.
John Samuelsen, President of the Transport Workers Union, said, “The MTA's service cuts are done without any real input from the folks who are adversely affected by those decisions. This bill will create a layer of transparency and accountability which is currently absent. New York's working families deserve to know whether their tax dollars are being spent wisely, and whether the service cuts which the MTA enacts are necessary.”