The cuts, were announced two weeks ago as part of a proposed budget to close the MTA’s spending gap, will fully remove the Z line, cut train service at a number of Brooklyn stations on the M, N, and G trains, eliminate three bus lines and cut dozens more. In addition to the cuts, there is expected to be a fare increase.
Several elected officials have continued their public denouncement of the MTA’s plans, holding rallies to oppose them and proposing their own solutions to the agency’s budgetary issues.
Critics have denounced the MTA’s plan as harsh, unnecessary, and ill-timed. With residents facing an economic recession, rising gasoline prices, and a worsening environment, public transportation is being viewed as an inexpensive way to both reinvigorate the city’s economy and reduce greenhouse emissions.
“The MTA’s latest round of proposed fare hikes and service cuts is, in a word, unacceptable,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at a rally at the B75 Bus Station on 5th Avenue and 9th Street in Park Slope. “Yes, these are indeed tough economic times, and we all must do some belt tightening, but we can’t resort to exorbitant fare increases and subway and bus service cuts-or East River bridge tolls- which selectively punish certain boroughs and neighborhoods for what is a regional and state responsibility.”
The borough president went on to call the tolls “discriminatory,” a charge that MTA officials have repeatedly denied. MTA representatives have said that the cuts are equally dispersed between the boroughs and the bridge, subway, and commuter rail systems.
“The solution to the MTA’s financial crisis is not nickel-and-diming the working families who depend on the subway and bus system to get to work everyday,” said Councilman Bill de Blasio, who was also at the rally. “We must look forward to creative solutions, like reinstating the Commuter Tax, that will not be disproportionately burden outer borough New Yorkers, as fare hikes, service cuts, and placing tolls on the East River Bridge undoubtedly will.”
“The threatened fair hike and massive service cuts ask millions of subway and bus riders to pay more for less,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign. “We hope that our state leaders will find ways to rescue riders from this fate.”
Additionally, Markowitz has created a list of alternative ways to raise money rather than cutting service and raising fares. His suggestions include the reinstatement of the commuter tax, raising the gas tax and car registration fees, and the creation of a special, Monday lottery, the profits of which would benefit the MTA.