MTA Approves 2010 ‘Doomsday’ Budget With Drastic Cuts in Service


mta-bus1The MTA’s board of directors has voted to approve severe service cuts aimed at closing major budget gaps. The cash-strapped agency is facing a $400 million budget shortfall, and put into place a budget that┬áincludes stripping students of their free ride cards.

About half-a-million City kids use the cards to get to school each day.

“Without a MetroCard I won’t be able to get to school. There is no way I can pay $4.50 for a round-trip ticket each day. Me and my three siblings won’t be able to go to school. That is too much of a burden on my parents,” said student James Polite.

Taking free rides away from students would save $170 million a year, but it will cost City leaders plenty.

Simmering anger over the massive cuts had reached a boiling point. “This is an outrage,” said parent Joyce Simmons. “Parents are not going to stand for this. We are going to be out there every week if we have to until the MTA stops these cuts. This is not going to happen.”

“I think of all the lowdown dirty hits the hardworking people of this city have taken this is the worst one,” said protester Larry Holmes.

The MTA said city and state lawmakers were to blame, and argued it has no choice but to yank the free rides.

For years Albany funded the fares, but in the last decade, those subsidies have been slashed. Some said this cut could be a bargaining chip aimed at recouping some of that money to help close the budget gap.

The governor was also taking note. “If the upturn in the market that we’re all hearing about it significant enough, the first thing I will do is target that money back at the MTA to keep students from losing their MetroCards,” said Gov. Paterson.

Speaking from Copenhagen, Mayor Bloomberg said one solution to closing the gap could be resurrecting the option of a congestion tax.

Other cuts included eliminating door-to-door service for the physically challenged and cutting several bus routes, subway lines, Metro-North and LIRR trains.

{CBS 880/WCBS-TV/NY1/ Newscenter}