New York, NY – The Riders Alliance and the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign released an analysis today detailing service improvements that could be made if the State Assembly and Senate are successful in blocking Governor Cuomo’s proposed $40 million raid on public transit funds in the State budget.
The organizations outlined an example of potential transit uses for $40 million, using the MTA’s own estimates for cost savings achieved during the massive 2010 service cuts. They concluded that – if the Assembly and Senate restore the Governor’s proposed $40 million cut to a State account of dedicated transit funds – the MTA could make such improvements as:
- Restore mid-day, nighttime and weekend service that was reduced on the 1, 7, A, F, J, L and M lines in 2010, creating shorter waits for 300,000 riders every weekday and 285,000 riders every weekend ($3.1 million)
- Add 20% more morning rush hour service on the notoriously infrequent and crowded C train ($1 million)
- Restore G train service to Forest Hills--71st Avenue in Queens ($1.5 million)
- Restore W train one-seat service from Astoria to Lower Manhattan ($3.4 million)
- Add four new local daytime and three new weekend routes in the Bronx ($4.2 million)
- Add three new local bus routes and implement weekend hours for three weekday-only routes in Brooklyn ($4.7 million)
- Add three bus routes and implement weekend hours for two weekday routes in Manhattan ($4.7 million)
- Add three new bus routes with weekday and weekend hours in Queens ($6.9 million)
- Add three new weekend routes, and three new peak hours routes in Staten Island ($3 million)
- Add 6 new LIRR rush hour trains every weekday ($2.2 million)
- Add 10 new off-peak weekday LIRR trains ($0.4 million)
- Add 10 new LIRR trains every weekend day ($0.3 million)
- Add cars to Metro-North trains to reduce crowding on the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines ($2.7 million)
- Add two daily Metro-North trains each to the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines ($1.9 million)
The groups pointed out that the funds could instead be used to reduce MTA plans to increase the fare in 2015 and 2017. They noted that the MTA had initially warned it would rise by 8.4%, twice the rate of inflation. In response to widespread criticism, the agency then said it would raise fares by 4% every two years, about half their initial rate. However, in recent weeks, the MTA has again warned that its financial problems may cause a higher fare increase.
The analysis used recent MTA budget documents, including cost savings descriptions for service reductions made in 2010, to estimate what could be achieved for one year of service with $40 million. In this year’s budget, Governor Cuomo has proposed to raid $40 million from a pot of dedicated transit funds in order to pay debt service on bonds that the State had originally promised to support. Both the Senate and the Assembly rejected the Governor’s proposed raid in their respective one-house budget resolutions. The final budget is expected to be negotiated this week and is due by the end of March.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto said, “Myself and many of my Assembly colleagues believe that when the money is available it should be used to provide more services, or hold down the fare, not diverted for other purposes. We ask that the governor realize how important this is to our mass transit ridership.”