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Transit Advocates, Pols To Cuomo: Don’t Steal From MTA

Assemblyman Jim Brennan addresses the rally to protect transit funding.  (credit: Riders Alliance)

Assemblyman Jim Brennan addresses the rally to protect transit funding. (credit: Riders Alliance)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of mass transit advocates and elected officials held a rally Sunday calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to drop his bid to force the MTA to pay an additional $40 million in bond costs.

As 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported, the agency and the state share responsibility for servicing mass transit bonds. But under Cuomo’s proposed budget, the MTA would pick up a larger chunk of the tab.

John Raskin, executive director of the mass transit advocacy group the Riders Alliance, said the change would leave less money for transit needs.

“The state already underfunds public transportation,” he said. “With these bonds, the state was offering to help and has helped for many years. And in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal, he is reneging on that promise and no longer helping.”

Assemblyman Jim Brennan, D-Brooklyn, agreed, said at the lower Manhattan rally that the money could be used to restore service cuts or stave off additional fare hikes.

“Subway and bus riders have taken a lot of hits in recent years — fare hikes over the past five or six years, service cuts,” he said.

George Christman, a disabled rider from Astoria, Queens, said he fears even more service cuts.

“It takes me 40 minutes to get to the subway from where I live,” he said. “With a budget cut, it would mean less buses.”

But even with the governor’s proposed change, the MTA would still receive an additional $85 million for other transit costs.

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