Assembly Members Demand MTA Save Student MetroCards
February 18th, 2010

Twenty four Assembly members have signed on to a letter demanding that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority preserve funding for student MetroCards. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the program costs them $214 million a year and a current budget shortfall means they have to phase out the program. The Assembly members reject that notion and claim the funding provided by the state and city is enough to keep the program running.

The MTA says it faces an $800 million hole in its operating budget and a $10 billion gap in its five-year construction plan. Here are some of the highlights from the Richard Brodsky penned letter:
“While the MTA asserts it needs $214 million in additional state and city aid to preserve the program, the actual cost of free and discounted student fares is close to zero. We reject the MTA’s assertion that the program must be valued at the ostensible lost revenue, and point out that state and city funding for the program actually exceeds the cost of providing the service.”

“We understand the use of political tactics in budget controversies. But there are limits, and the decision to put students and families out as a pawn in the struggle to increase City and State funding crosses a line.”

Gene Russianoff of New York Public Interest Group’s Straphangers Campaign disputed Brodksy’s claim that providing students transportation costs almost nothing.

“I am disappointed in Richard,” said Russianoff. “He has done good work watching over authorities and passing important legislation this year, but I don’t think he is adding anything constructive to the conversation.”

Here are comments made by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz on the situation:

Our working and lower income families will not be able to absorb these additional costs, especially in the current depressed economic state we are in, said Ortiz.

This cut is discriminatory in that it affects minority communities to a much higher degree. Everyone is entitled to an education, it should never become a privilege for those who can afford it, said Ortiz, We are standing here today to reject this cut to our childrens ability to obtain an education.

By on February 18, 2010, 4:53 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | 6 Comments »

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6 Responses to “Assembly Members Demand MTA Save Student MetroCards”

  1. Benjamin Kabak Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    This is, as I wrote at Second Ave. Sagas, a load of crap. The Assembly reps don’t understand economics, and they sound like idiots. Idiots.

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 8:21 am

    “They sound like idiots. Idiots.”

    They aren’t idiots, they’re evil.

    Everyone who was in their cabal has gotten special tax breaks, overcharged for contracts, or will get paid to do nothing in retirement for one year for each year worked. Then they will leave this city and state in ruins. Again.

    Their generation has done to the whole state, indeed the whole country, what their predessesors did to NYC in the 1970s. The only way to stop it may be bankruptcy.

    Does the political class really think they can force us to pay more and more (except the retired and public employees) while taking away public services and benefits (exempt for the seniors?) And not be blamed because they demand that the government, which they run, not do so?

  3. John Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 9:57 am

    “$800 million hole”, not “$800 million whole”.

  4. Glenn Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Who were the other signers of this letter? They should all be shamed. There’s no free lunch – someone has to pay for school kids – the state, the city or their parents. Alternatively, we could make transit free for everyone and just use the marginal tax rate or high bridge tolls to cover the system’s costs…

  5. Randolph B.Hunt Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    The elected officals are grand standing and are not making the decisions required to address the MTA funding problems and the State’s funding problems.

  6. ching chung chaa Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    this is retarded ok those dooooshe baggs dont know how hard it is i am jumpin the turnstile….

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