Paterson Pushes For Action on Ravitch Report
February 24th, 2009
Supporters of the Ravitch Commission Report may have received a little hope as the office of Gov. David Paterson released a statement this evening saying he has conveyed the urgency of the MTA funding situation to lawmakers.
Both the Assembly and Senate will now hold conferences tomorrow to come to terms on the issue. Paterson wants an agreement “within the next week.”
Paterson now seems determined to create a sense of urgency that might not have existed amongst legislators earlier today.
MTA representatives, lobbyists and activists who spent the day pushing legislators to act on the Ravitch Commission Report said they were left unsure exactly how their message was received.
“They are far more open to this then they were to congestion pricing,” noted one activist trying to muster some optimism.
Liz Benjamin reports that even MTA chairman Dale Hemmerdinger was left unsure whether his message had gotten through to legislators. MTA officials say that action must be taken before late March to avoid fare hikes and cuts to service.
Paterson asked Richard Ravitch, who was in Albany today, to stay over until Wednesday to “hold further discussions and bring this process to a close.”
Paterson’s entire statement follows.
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR DAVID A. PATERSON
“This week I asked Richard Ravitch, Chairman of the Commission on Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Financing, to come to Albany to advance my goal of enacting the recommendations outlined in the final Ravitch Commission report. This proposal is critically important to the people of New York. The fare increases and service cuts that will happen without this legislation will do further damage to our fragile economy and bring added financial strain to New Yorkers already suffering during this economic downturn. I have discussed this with the Legislative leaders, and they agree that this must be addressed before our final budget deliberations are underway. To this end, the Senate and Assembly have scheduled conferences for tomorrow to discuss this MTA issue.
“The time to do this is now. These Ravitch Committee recommendations have the support of business and labor, civic groups and straphangers. I will speak with lawmakers who have any doubt about the critical nature of this issue, and have asked Mr. Ravitch to remain in Albany tomorrow to hold further discussions and bring this process to a close. We must get a final agreement in place within the next week.”By David King on February 24, 2009, 10:20 pm
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