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Originally Published: March 25, 2009

Calls for long overdue state action to prevent their implementation

Statement By Dick Dadey, Executive Director

Citizens Union is disappointed in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board’s unfortunate, but necessary, decision today to raise fares and cut service to balance its budget. Blame should not fall on the MTA, but on state government, particularly the State Senate, for having failed to reach consensus on a meaningful solution to the MTA’s fiscal problems. The Senate’s flawed and misguided response last week is what led to the MTA’s vote today to increase fares by an unprecedented amount and cuts service, hurting all New Yorkers, including the business community.

Citizens Union continues to support the Ravitch Commission’s plan to save the City’s transit system because it was the right roadmap: it shared the financial burden among all transit stakeholders and provided a long-term plan to fund future capital needs. The MTA’s action now puts the burden solely on transit riders, who not only will have to pay more, but also receive less service in return.

Citizens Union calls upon the State Senate to join with the Assembly and the Governor in acting immediately to provide a solution that includes a long-term financing plan and prevents the implementation of such significant fare increases and service cuts. Whatever solution is proposed needs to provide for a long-term plan that fairly spreads the burden among all stakeholders, including riders, drivers, and employers, and ensure the continued health of New York City’s transit system and regional economy.

Under its new leadership, the Senate needs to act responsibly to provide solutions to urgent problems. We hope that it will do so with support for the MTA that prevents these painful fare hikes and service cuts.

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