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MTA Funding Deal An Express Train To More Debt, Higher Fares And Less Service

3/26/2012, 2:40 p.m.

Governor Cuomo Will Pass The Bill To Bus And Subway Riders

Today, the New York Daily News reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to a plan that will fund the last three years of the MTA's five-year Capital Plan. The State will contribute $2.1 billion to the $13.1 billion Capital Plan, forcing the MTA to take out more than $9 billion in debt.

"This deal is an express train to more MTA debt, higher MetroCard fares and less subway and bus service," said Paul Steely White,

Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "When it comes to public transit, Albany only knows two plays: paying for it with more debt or robbing riders of hundreds of millions of dollars in dedicated transit funding. Both put the 7.5 million New Yorkers who rely on the bus and subway on the fast track to higher fares and more service cuts. Today's plan doubles down on the State's dangerous commitment to funding transit through debt. Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature must invest in transit through secure and sustainable sources of revenue."

According to an October 24, 2010 column by Adam Lisberg in the Daily News, in a press conference that month, then-Attorney General Cuomo affirmed the governor's transit leadership role. He said, "I believe the governor should be accountable for the MTA. People have the right to know who's in charge and who's responsible and I think it should be the governor."

"This deal does nothing to stave off the fare hikes scheduled in 2013, 2015 and 2017," added White. "If anything, the reliance on billions of dollars of more debt ensures that Albany will continue to pass the buck to riders for the debt they've incurred. Governor Cuomo is the head of the MTA. New Yorkers need him to steer that agency to a secure financial future."

In three consecutive budgets since 2009, state elected officials stole a total of $260 million from dedicated transit funding. These raids caused the worst service cuts and fare hikes in a generation: the loss of two subway lines, 32 bus routes and 570 bus stops. As a result of the ongoing revenue crisis, New Yorkers are saddled with the highest fare burden in the nation. Albany's scheme to finance the MTA Capital

Plan, which makes necessary station and track repairs, with the massive debt will only increase pressure to raise the fare.