2004-03-05 / Front Page

Report: City Holds Up Money For New Buses

By Howard Schwach
Report: City Holds Up Money For New Buses By Howard Schwach

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and other city officials are holding up more than $70 million in federal money to purchase new buses for the seven private bus lines that receive city subsidies, according to published reports.

The reports say that Bloomberg and his commissioners are holding the money captive until a final determination is made on whether or not those bus lines, including the Green Bus, Jamaica Bus and Triboro Coach, would be taken over by the Metro politan Transportation Auth ority (MTA). Negotiations towards that takeover have been going on for more than a year, but recently reached an impasse because the city does not have the funding to complete the takeover.

Rockaway riders have been complaining for years that the bus lines, particularly the Green Bus equipment is old, dirty and polluting.

Jerome Cooper, the president of both Green Bus and Jamaica Bus, told The Wave earlier in the year that his companies could not afford new equipment without increased subsidies from the city.

When told that the city was warehousing the money for new equipment, Cooper told Joshua Robin of Newsday, "It is difficult to understand why the city would not take advantage of available capital funds that could repair or replace the aging buses provided to the private operators by the Department of Trans portation."

A local Green Bus rider, who asked not to be identified, was more succinct.

"The city hides the money and makes us ride on old, dirty and dangerous equipment," the rider said. "It’s just another indication that the mayor doesn’t understand or care about the people who live in this city."

Jordan Barowitz, a City Hall spokesperson told Robin, "It would not be prudent to make such a large capital investment until those negoiations [on the takeover by the MTA] are concluded.

According to the report, the city has used only $847,000 of the $71 million that was allocated for buses and bus-related projects.

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