Assemblyman Philip Ramos Blasts MTA for Considering Fare Increases

Governorís appointees put $1.5 billion tax hike on working families
January 27, 2003

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) today criticized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for considering a fare hike that would mean a $1.5 billion tax increase on New Yorkís working families.

"The MTA Board, which is controlled by the governor, is proposing a fare increase that will take money directly out of the pockets of working families at a time when our economy is struggling," Ramos said. "The governorís appointees are raising taxes that make it harder for families to live in New York."

MTA proposal would force commuters to pay more for less

Ramos noted the MTA is considering three options that would raise bus and subway tolls to as much as $2, increase commuter rail fares and bridge and tunnel tolls, and impose a $1 E-Z Pass fee for using bridges and tunnels. MTA is also weighing service cuts, including for:

New York City Transit Ė

  • slashing weekend bus and subway service 10 percent;
  • reducing weekday service 2 percent; and
  • reducing cleaners 15 percent.

Long Island Railroad Ė

  • eliminating 11 peak and 11 off-peak trains;
  • closing ticket windows and waiting rooms; and
  • cutting cleaning.

"People depend on public transportation to get to work and support their families," Ramos said. "Itís blatantly unfair to ask people to pay more and get less convenient, poorer quality service."

Coupled with the tuition hike, governorís tax increases add up to $1.7 billion

The proposed MTA hike comes in the wake of a plan by the governorís State University of New York Board of Trustees to raise tuition by 41 percent, or $1,400 a year for New York undergraduate students. The proposed increase, to take effect this fall, would add up to a $1.7 billion tax hike on working families when combined with the fare increase. To make a bad situation even worse, the governor is also considering a proposal to cut the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) in half.

"The governorís rhetoric is at odds with reality," Ramos said. "He claims he wants to hold the line on taxes, but in fact heís imposing a back-door tax increase on some of those who can least afford it Ė college students and commuters."

As the governor himself noted in a speech to the Association for a Better New York on January 22nd, "We cannot resort to rhetorical responses that pit one class of people against anotherÖthat pit one locality against another...that pit our children and seniors and most needy New Yorkers against the taxpayers and businesses and jobs that will be the source of future revenue used to aid them. Let us not resort to messages of division and instead back up our proposals with facts and proven experience."

Ramos will fight for our working families

Ramos said denying our students a quality higher education and making it harder for New Yorkers to get to their jobs wonít solve our stateís budget problems. "I will work to see that the burden of our stateís fiscal crisis isnít shifted onto the backs of our children and working families," he concluded.