Earlier this week we learned that Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget includes a 21 percent cut to a vital funding source of the MTA’s operating budget. At a time when our mass transit system is suffering from overcrowding, fewer clean cars and delays in service, cutting state funding is unacceptable. If anything, our public transit system is immensely underfunded.
New York’s mass transit system is the lifeblood of the city and the region, if not the state, moving millions of people each day to work, school and other destinations. The MTA says the $65 million state cut will not result in service disruptions or increases in tolls or fares pointing to growth in other MTA revenue streams. But that’s not the point. If the MTA is realizing a spike in tax earmarks, those additional funds should be invested back into the system.
We just approved a fare increase on the premise that the public transit system is in desperate need of resources. As trustees and fiduciaries of the MTA, our first obligation is to ensure the viability of the system. Any reduction in state aid will have implications for users of public transit.
I strongly oppose this cut in promised state funds, especially now given the toxic political environment in Washington and threats to transportation funding. I encourage state legislators to oppose any reduction in funding that impacts MTA day-to-day operations.