southferrymap

Update 3:00 p.m.: New York City Transit officials tell me that the amNew York point, below, about wasted money is off point. Writes Paul Fleuranges, NYCT’s vice president for corporate communications, “For three consecutive days this week alone, the presence of a tower operator at the South Ferry relay room spared us some considerable delays to service.” That sounds like a good use of money to me.

* * *

Fifteen months behind schedule and following an inch-induced delay, the MTA’s first new station since 1989 will open at South Ferry. The two-track terminal — the subject of behind-the-scenes media tour in December — will replace the old loop on the West Side IRT and offer a free transfer between the 1 and the N, R and W at Whitehall St. Expect updated subway maps soon.

“It’s been a long time coming,” William Wheeler, the MTA’s Director of Special Project Development and Planning, said to CB1 at a committee meeting this Monday. “When you see it, it’s quite extraordinary.”

Of course, as with any MTA construction project, even the opening of this new station is not without controversy. amNew York’s Urbanite blog reports that the station is a bit leaky, and while the MTA wouldn’t confirm that report to them, the Staten Island Advance corroborated the story. Maura Yates reported on the various delays:

Because of the station’s high water table, contractors were also working to plug leaks, by grouting spots where water was coming into the station. “It’s not something customers will notice,” said MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin.

Meanwhile, Urbanite’s Heather Haddon has tales of some more MTA waste coming out of South Ferry:

Originally scheduled to open by December, the MTA activated the signals in the station in November. Under railroad regulations, a signal maintainer must monitor the switches 24 hours a day once they go live.

But a platform snafu delayed the station opening by more than three months, leaving the MTA to pay for a signal maintainer to do nothing during that time.

According to the MTA union, a transit worker of that category gets paid $29 per hour, resulting in a compensation of about $75,000 for an around-the-clock unproductive vigil since the end of November.

No wonder the State Senators currently holding up the MTA bailout plan want more control over the agency’s finances. Reports of waste are doing nothing to help the cause in Albany.

In the end, the station is a much-needed addition to the Lower Manhattan transportation scene. It is the first of the post-9/11 redevelopment projects to witness a ribbon-cutting, and the MTA is estimating that the state-of-the-art terminal will service around six million passengers a year. That this solitary station is over fifteen months behind schedule though does not bode well for the 7 Line Extension or the Second Ave. Subway as they slowly march toward a mid-decade completion date.

Categories : MTA Construction
Comments (4)

Jimmy Vielkind, one of Politicker NY’s Albany-based reporters, has been doing a top-notch job with his reports on the state of the MTA bailout. Last night, he focused on the utter lack of unity among State Senate Democrats as they attempt to save the MTA. Some Senators want to reinstate the commuter tax; others want to ensure money for transit agencies in the Niagara areas; others are afraid of tolls; and still others are against the payroll tax. Yikes.

Anyway, this afternoon’s filing from Vielkind focuses the March 25 deadline. Some State Senators — majority leader Malcolm Smith included — believe that the fast-approaching drop-dead date is flexibile. In other words, the MTA, believes these senators, is bluffing on its intentions to implement the Doomsday buget in short order. Writes Vielkind:

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is calling the March 25 deadline for the M.T.A. bailout “questionable” and saying that while his members are “working on it every day” there is no consensus on a package to address the authority’s deficit.

A few reporters caught Smith on the way to an event on reforming Rockefeller drug laws. He didn’t say why he is questioning March 25, but spokesman Austin Shafran said the deadline is “artificial because it came from the M.T.A. board.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, however, after speaking at the same event, said “I’m not going to engage in a game of chicken.”

Smith’s statements are patently absurd because the MTA is required by law — New York State law nonetheless — to pass and balance its budget. They have to do so when they meet on March 25 unless the legislature somehow commands them otherwise.

It seems as though Smith is engaging in just that game of chicken against which Sheldon Silver is speaking. Smith doesn’t have the votes or party loyalty to save the MTA right now, and instead of shouldering that responsibility, he is playing politics to shift the blame to the beleaguered transit agency. It’s a fairly transparent move, and it won’t help avoid fare hikes and service cuts when the MTA Board meets in two weeks from tomorrow.

Categories : Doomsday Budget
Comments (6)

It is odd when a member of Congress injects him or herself into local debates, but as the MTA bailout plan edges toward a resolution, that is exactly what happened late on Monday.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York’s 9th District and a potential mayoral candidate, threw a wrench into the molasses-like pace of discussions in Albany when he presented his own plan via a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. The plan would include $4.15 tolls for non-New York City residents and a paring down of the MTA similar to Richard Ravitch’s plan. How this all adds up to the nearly $2 billion the MTA is going to need to close its deficit is well beyond me.

City Room, The Daily Politics and Streetsblog reported on this rather half-baked idea from someone trying to impress New York voters ahead of November’s mayoral race. Let’s go with Elizabeth Benjamin’s reporting. Weiner, the Daily Politics scribe says, expressed his support for five Democratic tolling holdouts but voiced his support for his own plan:

The mayoral hopeful sent a letter today to Smith and Silver telling them that the “time has come for a sober discussion about how to create a plan for the MTA that is sustainable and affordable.” To that end, he proposed:

- Cutting MTA overhead by 10 percent a year for four years.
- “Sensible” tolls on the East and Harlem river bridges to the tune of $4.15 – slightly less than Ravitch called for, but more than Silver’s $2 – but, and this is a big but, ONLY on non-city residents. (Weiner says this would generate an estimated $391 million annually – exactly the same as the commuter tax used to bring in before it was eliminated in 1999).
- Giving control of the MTA to the city by giving four more votes on the board to the mayor, taking away two from the governor and three from the surrounding counties.
- Opening the MTA’s books, which to Weiner means making every dollar “contained in a digitized, searchable form.” Weiner said he does not support the payroll tax Ravitch proposed.

So Weiner wants to fill a budget gap that, when last reported, was at around $1.8 billion with a plan that will draw in $391 million annually while cutting another 10 percent off of the MTA’s overhead each year. I wonder if he passed third grade math. One Streetsblog commenter wondered if “a scheme that privileges one set of residents over another would be unconstitutional.”

Outside of the main purpose of the MTA ballout tax-and-tolls plan — to fund the MTA — Weiner’s plan also doesn’t reach another aspect of the toll plan. People should be paying for the resources that they’re using. Bridges aren’t free. Driving exacts a social and environmental cost on society, and municipalities have to expend a lot of resources to maintain roads and bridges as well as other vital transportation networks. Those who use the bridges — either by choice and luxury or by necessity — should shoulder the costs of doing so. I ride the subway, and I pay for it. So should drivers.

Weiner’s plan simply shifts the burden to those outside the city, and it does so in a politically infeasible way. While city represented may prefer this plan to a blanket toll, no one from outside of the five boroughs would be caught dead supporting what is a commuter tax in sheep’s clothing. This is just another dead-in-the-water diversionary contact designed by a politician to make headlines. Meanwhile, the MTA’s Doomsday date draws ever nearer.

Click through to read the full letter from Representative Weiner.

Categories : Doomsday Budget
Comments (6)

In the comments to my post on the five Democratic State Senators who are current not supporting the plan to toll the East River bridges in order to support the MTA, reader John asks me list the contact info for the five holdouts. That is a great suggestion, and below you will find their information.

Remember these numbers from the Daily News when you call, write or e-mail these State Senators, urging them to support an MTA bailout plan. The numbers are similar for Kevin Parker (Brooklyn) and Ruth Hassle-Thompson (Bronx):

Fewer than 4% of Espada’s constituents drive to Manhattan, two-thirds use mass transit and more than 70% of households have no car. His people face subway reductions on the 1, 4, B and D lines. The Bx20, Bx34 and X28 buses would disappear, along with night service on the Bx10.

Only 5% of the commuters in Diaz’s district drive to Manhattan, and about 60% use transit. They’d see crowding on the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 subway lines. The Bx4, Bx14 and Bx28 buses would be wiped out.

About 5% of Kruger’s constituents drive to Manhattan; 10 times as many use transit. They’d get longer waits on the B, D, F, N and Q lines and elimination of weekend or night service on the B2, B4, B7, B31 and B64.

Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn)
E-mail: parker@senate.state.ny.us
District Office
4515 Avenue D
Brooklyn, NY 11203
Tel: (718) 629-6401
Fax: (718) 629-6420

Albany Office
411 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2580
Fax: (518) 426-6843

Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn)
E-mail: kruger@senate.state.ny.us
District Office
Office of State Senator Carl Kruger
2201 Avenue U
Brooklyn, NY 11229
Tel: (718) 743-8610
Fax: (718) 743-5958

Albany Office
Office of State Senator Carl Kruger
803 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2460
Fax: (518) 426-6855

Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-Bronx)
E-mail: diaz@senate.state.ny.us
District Office
1733 East 172nd Street
Bronx, NY 10472
Tel: (718) 991-3161
Fax: (718) 991-0309

Albany Office
307 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2511
Fax: (518) 426-6945

Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx)
E-mail: espada@senate.state.ny.us

Albany Office
420 State Capitol Bldg.
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-3395

You can also use this form on his website to reach Espada.

Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx)
E-mail: hassellt@senate.state.ny.us
District Office
767 East Gunhill Road
Bronx, NY 10467
Tel: (718) 547-8854
Fax: (718) 515-2718

Albany Office
613 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2061
Fax: (518) 426-6998

Categories : Doomsday Budget
Comments (3)

Today’s New York Times featured a story on the rising number of transit riders across the nation. When gas prices hit record highs last year, transit ridership peaked, and commuters found that leaving the car at home was both better on the wallet and less stressful.

It is, then, the perfect time for New York State to invest in transit. The City — already dependent upon its transit network — needs to ensure its system is in good repair. It needs to ensure that trains run frequently and reliably for a relatively low cost. What it doesn’t need are fictionally free bridges that serve a tiny minority of Upper-Middle class commuters.

To that end, then it is dismaying that now five state Democrats are willing to let the MTA ballout plan die. Brendan Scott, a correspondent for The Post, reports:

Unless five Democratic state senators can be convinced to change their minds, the plan to bail out the MTA by imposing tolls on East and Harlem river bridges is dead in the water, a Post survey has revealed.

The holdouts say the $2 toll proposal, the key element of the plan proposed by former MTA head Richard Ravitch, would unfairly hit outer-borough residents without access to mass transit. “If it’s 1 cent, I’m against it,” said state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn). The others who have ruled out tolls are Carl Charger of Brooklyn, and Ruben Diaz Sr., Pedro Espada Jr. and Ruth Hassle-Thompson, all of The Bronx.

They vowed to block any tolls, even if that pushes talks past the MTA’s March 25 deadline for fare hikes and services cuts.

These State Senators do not understand simple numbers. Far more people rely on the MTA than drive. Far more people — the entire region, in fact — rely on a healthy MTA to get them to work. Far more people stand to lose out if a $2 toll — matched the cost of transit — is instituted on bridges connecting Manhattan with the rest of the world. If only these representatives knew that driving isn’t free, and free driving isn’t some sacred right protected by some higher authority.

The editorial page of The Daily News gets it. Relying on the Tri-State Transportation Campaign numbers, an oft-cited resource here at Second Ave. Sagas, they urge Malcolm Smith to rein in his party rebels:

Fewer than 4% of Espada’s constituents drive to Manhattan, two-thirds use mass transit and more than 70% of households have no car. His people face subway reductions on the 1, 4, B and D lines. The Bx20, Bx34 and X28 buses would disappear, along with night service on the Bx10.

Only 5% of the commuters in Diaz’s district drive to Manhattan, and about 60% use transit. They’d see crowding on the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 subway lines. The Bx4, Bx14 and Bx28 buses would be wiped out.

About 5% of Kruger’s constituents drive to Manhattan; 10 times as many use transit. They’d get longer waits on the B, D, F, N and Q lines and elimination of weekend or night service on the B2, B4, B7, B31 and B64.

Espada, Diaz and Kruger are threatening the well-being not only of their constituents, but of everyone who rides subways and buses. Smith must make that clear in private and, if necessary, in public. He must win.

That unequivocally says it all. I am not, however, too optimistic any longer.

Categories : Doomsday Budget
Comments (15)

mtaleadership As the MTA has lobbied in Albany for a state-sponsored rescue package, I have been waiting for the state legislature to bring the hammer down on the transit authority’s leadership. On Friday, they did just that as sources in Albany suggested that an MTA rescue plan may come with conditions requiring changes at the top of the MTA leadership structure.

Pete Donohue and Glenn Blain broke this development in the Daily News, and according to the two reporters’ sources, the MTA bailout could hit the floor of our bicameral state legislature as early as today. The Albany-based Blain and News transit guru Donohue report:

State legislation designed to rescue straphangers from massive service cuts and fare hikes could emerge in Albany as soon as Monday, sources said Friday. If approved by the state Assembly and Senate, the plan not only could put the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on firmer financial ground – but also under new leadership.

The rescue plan, which proponents hope is finalized over the weekend, merges the MTA’s unsalaried, part-time chairman’s position with the full-time chief executive officer’s post.

And it’s unclear who would get that powerful top job. MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger already has a lucrative full-time position running his family’s real estate conglomerate. Transit advocates and some elected officials have praised current CEO Elliot Sander’s running of the bus, subway and commuter train network. But Gov. Paterson may bring in a fresh face to declare a new era for an authority still struggling – fairly or not – with a negative image solidified over decades.

On Saturday, Mayor Bloomberg voiced his support for the Albany plan and Elliot Sander. “Lee Sander has done a great job. He’s worked very hard, but first let’s see what the law is. If it’s changed I would certainly be happy to give my opinion to the governor,” Bloomberg said. “In terms of who should run it, if he were to pick Lee or not, I just don’t know.”

It makes political sense for the state legislatures to require something from the MTA in return for a tax-and-toll plan. A restructure and a removal of some of the MTA’s chief executives would also send a signal to New Yorkers that their representatives understand the frustration — properly directed or not — that subway riders feel with MTA leadership.

That said, Elliot Sander isn’t the problem with the MTA, and in fact, Elliot Sander is probably the best advocate the MTA could hope to have leading it through troubled times. Sander may not be the sexy political choice to head up the transit agency, but he’s a transportation wonk through and through. He knows what city transit agencies need to succeed, and he has the academic and practical experience necessary to lead the MTA through and beyond its current crisis. With a blank slate, in fact, he would bring true vision to the MTA.

In the end, it’s tough to see where this will go, but in a few weeks, one way or another, things will be different at the MTA. We’ll see record service cuts and fare hikes or some new faces at the top.

Categories : Doomsday Budget
Comments (4)

transitinvestment

The map above comes to us from GOOD Magazine. It shows the total system length (represented by subway cars) and the total daily ridership in millions (represented by the silhouettes). Cleary, as the enlarged version shows, United States transit ridership lags far behind European and Asian systems in terms of ridership.

As the City grapples with the need to fund transit, we could muse on how absurd it is that this debate is even happening. As the end of the first decade of the 21st Century draws to a close, America has not come to grips with urban life and urban methods of travel. The MTA is fighting tooth and nail just to stay afloat, and while the agency is trying to expand its system, the reality of those plans is no sure thing.

One day, maybe, we’ll see urban transit systems receive the same level of commitment as roads. After all, more people take the subway in New York in one day than they do driving along the city’s roads. It’s far better socially, environmentally and economically, but it looks like it will take nothing short of an MTA collapse for New Yorkers — and Americans — to realize it.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, downtown 1 trains skip 96th Street due to station rehabilitation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, 2 trains run in two sections (due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue):

  • Between 241st Street and Franklin Avenue and
  • Between Franklin and Flatbush Avenues

Note: In the early morning hours between 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., trains run every 30 minutes between Franklin and Flatbush Avenues.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, downtown 2 and 3 trains skip 96th Street, then run local from 86th to Chambers Streets due to tunnel lighting.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, uptown 2 and 3 trains run local from Chambers Street to 96th Street due to tunnel lighting.


From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, Manhattan-bound 2 trains skip Burke Avenue, Allerton Avenue, Pelham Parkway and Bronx Park East due to rail repairs.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, Manhattan-bound 2, 3 and 4 trains run express from Utica Avenue to Atlantic Avenue due to track chip-out at President Street.


From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, Manhattan-bound 4 trains skip Bedford Park Blvd., Kingsbridge Road, Fordham Road and 183rd Street due to switch work north of Kingsbridge Road.


From 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, March 7, from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday, March 8, and from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, Brooklyn-bound 4 trains run local from 42nd Street to Brooklyn Bridge due to rail work.


From 12:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday, March 7, from 12:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday, March 8 and from 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday, March 9, Crown Heights/Utica Avenue-bound 4 trains run local from Atlantic Avenue to Utica Avenue due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, March 6 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, free shuttle buses replace A trains between Jay Street-Borough Hall and Utica Avenue due to the Jay Street rehabilitation project.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, A trains run local between 168th Street and Euclid Avenue with free shuttle buses replacing A trains between Jay Street-Borough Hall and Utica Avenue due to the Jay Street rehabilitation project.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, there are no C trains running due to the Jay Street rehabilitation project. Customers should take the A instead and note that free shuttle buses replace A trains between Jay Street-Borough Hall and Utica Avenue.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, Bronx-bound D trains run express from 145th Street to Tremont Avenue due to signal work.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, Bronx-bound D trains run local from 59th to 145th Streets due to switch renewal south of 81st Street.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, March 6 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, Manhattan-bound E and F trains run local from Forest Hills-71st Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue due to track chip-out.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. March 9, Jamaica Center-bound E and F trains run local from Roosevelt Avenue to Forest Hills -71st Avenue due to track chip-out.


From 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 6 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9 (until further notice), there are no G trains between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Court Square. Customers should take the E or R instead.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, March 6 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, free shuttle buses replace L trains between Rockaway Parkway and Broadway Junction due to track panel installation at East 105th Street.


From 4 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 8, N trains skip Prince, 8th, 23rd, and 28th Streets due to switch at Queensboro Plaza. Customers may take the Q or R instead.


From 4 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 8, N trains are rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge between DeKalb Avenue and Canal Street in both directions due to switch renewal at Queensboro Plaza.


From 4 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 8, Manhattan-bound N trains skip 30th Avenue, Broadway, 36th Avenue and 39th Avenue due to switch renewal at Queensboro Plaza.


From 5 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, March 7 and from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 8, there are no N trains between Lexington Avenue-59th Street and Times Square-42nd Street due to switch renewal at Queensboro Plaza. Customers may take the 4, 5, 6, Q or R instead.


From 4 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 8, there are no N trains between Queensboro Plaza and Lexington Avenue-59th Street due to switch renewal at Queensboro Plaza. Customers may take the 4, 6 or 7 instead.


From 4 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 10 p.m. March 8, Q trains run on the R line between 57th Street-7th Avenue and DeKalb Avenue due to switch at Queensboro Plaza.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Kings Highway due to Brighton Line station rehabilitation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to 5 a.m. Monday, March 9, R trains are extended to the 179th Street F station due to a track chip-out.

Categories : Service Advisories
Comments (6)
  • The futility of courting Republicans · As the three Democrats from New York represent a huge obstacle in the way of an MTA bailout, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is attempting to court upstate Republicans. According to William Neuman and Nicholas Confessore, Republicans are unwilling to budge in their opposition. Even George H. Winner, a Republican representing the district that houses a subway car manufacturer, won’t budget on the ideological concerns behind a payroll tax. This tax would impact only those counties served by the MTA, but no members of the GOP want to cross party ranks right now.

    As Kathry Wylde, the head of a pro-Ravitch group said, “This ought to be a bipartisan effort. Everybody has an interest in the M.T.A. and the transportation infrastructure of the region.” It ought to be, but in New York State politics, it never is. · (7)

anittollers

Carl Kruger (left), Pedro Espada, Jr. (center) and Ruben Diaz, Sr. refuse to budge on the issue of East River tolls.

When the MTA starts cutting service and raising fares in less than three weeks, remember the faces of the men up there for they will be the reason why. Democratic State Senators Pedro Espada and Ruben Diaz, both representatives from the Bronx, and Carl Kruger from Brooklyn are hell-bent on avoiding tolls for no good reason.

Never mind that the overwhelming majority of their constituents don’t have cars and those that do, don’t use them on a daily basis. Never mind the role of transit trumps the use of cars. Reality has no place in this debate apparently.

In Brooklyn, only around five percent of commuters rely on the East River bridges for their daily commutes. In the Bronx, the numbers are similar: 5.7 percent of Bronx drivers commute alone to Manhattan via the Harlem River bridges while another 2.1 percent carpool. Of the remaining 92 percent, 29.9 percent rely on transit to get them into Manhattan while another 30 percent rely on transit for non-Manhattan-bound commutes.

So what do the Bronx politicians say? No tolls. Not now. Not ever. Elizabeth Benjamin, writing about a triumvirate she calls the Three Amigos and I call the Three Stooges, has news of this disloyal opposition:

The Three Amigos – Sens. Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada Jr. and Rubuen Diaz Sr. – who recently reaffirmed their relationship and started strategizing again as a team, today issued a joint statement demanding that the MTA go “back to the drawing board” and do everything possible to avoid tolling the East and Harlem river bridges.

The three senators are “demanding” that the MTA agree to a forensic audit conducted by an outside entity and a complete accounting of all its assets – including real estate holdings, which is an issue other lawmakers have been hammering on for a while now.

The trio is open to the idea of a payroll tax, which is the other revenue-generating proposal made by the Ravitch Commission, but called the tolls a “non-starter.” “The Ravitch plan, and the attempt to foist it on the Legislature during budget negotiations, is ill-conceived and misguided,” the senators said in a press release…”Tolls hurt the ridership of our city, hurt the general public, and hurt the small business community. It is our shared belief that no plan should annex the boroughs. That is what tolls on the bridges would accomplish.”

I already pay $4 a day to go from Brooklyn to Manhattan. If I lived in Manhattan as my parents do, I’d pay $4 a day to go from Point A in Manhattan to Point B. Why people who live in the outer boroughs and drive — often unnecessarily — should get a free ride at the expense of my subway system is well beyond me. I don’t expect the Three Stooges to offer a coherent argument on that point though.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith can’t get any Republicans to cross the aisle to support taxes yet. He is stuck with a 29-30 vote and needs these three — rogue opponents with the Democratic party to his own position as Majority Leader — to fall into line. While Diaz has two half-cooked plans to fund the MTA, they are laughable and impractical 11th Hour solutions. Explains Benjamin, “One that would require the state to buy prescription drugs from Canada and another that would force ConEd to pay taxes.”

In their press release — ridiculed by Streetsblog commenters — they urge the MTA to “go back to the drawing board.” Start over from scratch three weeks before an era-defining moment in New York City history, they urge.

“Why should I be punishing my state and the people from my district?” Diaz Sr. asks. Well, Mr. Senator, by not supporting transit that is exactly what you’re doing. If the MTA fails, if Diaz’s precious drivers maintain their free rides while everyone else pays, I wonder who exactly will be punished.

Categories : Doomsday Budget
Comments (8)

At the end of February, New York City Transit announced that, due to construction and budgetary concerns, weekend service would be slashed no matter what. The cost savings for this move was set at around $4 million a year, and New York City Transit President Howard Roberts explained that the decision was spurred on by the MTA’s ambitious state-of-good-repair plan.

Yesterday, amidst the rancorous politicking over the MTA’s potential rescue plan, NYC Transit apparently reconsidered those potentially permanent cuts. NY1 News reports:

The MTA now says a plan to cut back weekend subway service can be avoided, if Albany lawmakers act on a plan to shore up the agency’s $1.2 billion budget gap.

Last week, the MTA said it was moving forward with plans to reduce the scheduled frequency of weekend subway service on most of the lettered lines, beginning in June. But the agency has since reversed course and now says it will drop the plan, if lawmakers come through with a rescue plan for the cash-strapped agency.

Maybe the MTA reevaluated its need to drop weekend service cuts. Maybe this is just sloppy politics. If it’s the latter, this move won’t help the MTA respond to State Senator Malcolm Smith’s claims that the agency has no control over its finances. It sure is an odd political carrot, but as a frequent weekend rider, who am I to complain?

Categories : Service Cuts
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