Addabbo Opposes MTA Proposals
City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., a member of the Council’s Transportation Committee, called the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed fare increase, service cuts and token booth closures "unthinkable and unacceptable."
In recent weeks, the MTA has stated that they have a multi-billion dollar deficit, and they are planning to close the budget gap by increasing fares, closing token booths and making other service cuts to the system.
The City’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) reported that the agency is in the red by $ 236 million this year, with an estimated deficit of $716 million next year. The MTA has publicly reported the numbers as about $ 1.1 billion and $ 1.7 billion, respectively.
The MTA is considering several of the following measures in its effort to close what it says is a $2.8 billion budget gap for 2003 and 2004.
- Increasing the basic fare for MTA New York City Transit subways and local buses up to $ 2.00.
- Increasing the one-way Express Bus fare to up to $ 4.00.
- Increasing the fare for all time-based Unlimited Ride MetroCards, with the exception of the 1-Day Fun Pass and the 30-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard, by not more than one-third.
- Increasing the price of the 1-Day Fun Pass to up to $ 7.00.
- Replacing the 30-Day Unlimited Ride Express Bus Plus MetroCard with a 7-Day Express Bus MetroCard at a price not to exceed $ 35.
- Discontinuing the sale and acceptance of tokens.
- Closing 177 subway station booths and related turnstiles.
The MTA budget director said that the token booth closing would save about $ 25 million. However, Councilman Addabbo said the proposed measures aren’t worth the risk to riders, who see the booths as a life preserver should they face trouble.
Addabbo noted that one of the token booths proposed for closure is at the "A" Line subway station at Rockaway Boulevard and Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park. The station is located within his council district.
"I believe that the MTA could find other alternatives to raising fares, closing booths, and reducing services," said Addabbo.
"I suggested to the MTA that it reconsider the idea of selling some of its assets, including property owned, in order to satisfy their budget deficit."
At a recent press conference at City Hall, Addabbo stated that he believes the MTA also has the capability of using prior year surpluses to offset its current deficits.