With newfound transit money, a debate over spending itBy
As the New York economy has continued to improve, a bit of good news concerning transit funding emerged from Albany yesterday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced “major investments in public transit” as part of his 2013-2014 budget. For the MTA, this means an additional increase of approximately $40 million more than it requested for operations support and a reauthorization of capital financing for both the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 campaigns.
So how to spend it then? Opinions were diverse. “They should increase bus and subway service where they can,” \Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said. “That should be their top priority.” MTA Board members agreed. “We ought to be looking for ways to give back,” Allen Cappelli said. “We did the fare and toll increases, and people have the right to expect we’d look to expand service.”
TWU officials had other ideas. John Samuelsen, president of the union, said the money should go toward a new contract for the MTA’s workers — an idea long at odds with the MTA’s triple-zero approach. And therein lies the rub. It’s clear to me that the MTA should restore services lost to the 2010 cuts or expand its current offerings, but someone else always wants the money. For now, though, we’ll have to wait as the MTA won’t unveil an updated budget until the summer.