A New Subway Ad Against Subway Service
February 23rd, 2009

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Half of the city’s subway cars will be hosting these new ads from the Empire State Transportation Alliance, urging straphangers to call on Gov. David Paterson and the State Legislature to fill the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s operating deficit before fare increases take effect next month.

The authority faces a $1.2 billion operating deficit, in addition to a daunting capital budget hole. The fare hikes, which were included in a budget approved by the authority’s board in December, would increase a monthly unlimited metrocard from $81 to $103 and raise fares on commuter lines on average by 23 percent.

Serious service reductions, including the elimination of the M and W subway lines, were included in that doomsday proposal.

The state will have until March 25 to save the transportation authority. The service reductions and fare hikes would take effect after that.

In a prepared statement, Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a civic group and co-chair of the ESTA coalition, said:

Our ad urges transit riders to speak up. Lawmakers need to act now or else draconian cuts will go into effect. At a time when the American economy has hit a weak point, it would be a big mistake to let public transit falter. Doing so will hurt our struggling businesses and discourage new enterprises from starting. Transit cuts also place an undue burden on the Citys poorest workers who are already suffering tremendously. We hope this campaign will challenge riders to stand up and take action.

The ads will appear in about 3,000 subway cars, and it costs about $120,000. Funding did not come from government sources, advocates said.

The authority — in addition to transportation advocates — have been calling on the state to remedy the situation. Last year, a state commission released recommendations to close the budget gap, including tolling the East River bridges and implementing a payroll tax. The payroll tax would be covered by businesses and amount to 33 cents on each $100 in salaries or wages.

Other fare-saving ideas have also been proposed. Comptroller William Thompson, who is a candidate for mayor and opposes tolling the East River crossings, says the city should implement an additional registration fee, based on the weight of a vehicle. That could mean an additional $200 to $400 per vehicle registered in 12 counties in and around the city.

By on February 23, 2009, 3:42 pm
In category: Albany,Economy,Gotham City,Public Finance,Transportation | Comments Off on A New Subway Ad Against Subway Service

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