NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A coalition of community leaders and lawmakers called for half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers in the upcoming budget.
The group rallied Wednesday for the Fair Fare Program on the steps of City Hall.
“One in four poor individuals in the city of New York, unfortunately, cannot afford a fare,” public advocate Letitia James said.
The plan would subsidize MetroCards for 800,000 city residents living at or below the poverty line and cost the city an estimated $200 million.
Under the proposal, families of four living below the poverty line of $25,000 annually could by a monthly MetroCard for $60.50, instead of the full price of $121 per month – a potential savings of $726 per year, CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported.
“I have to juggle to see if it’s going to be a MetroCard or food,” rider Letitia Bouie said.
“It’s rough, it’s really rough,” said rider Maria Teresa.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the plan noble, but says the city’s budget recently took a major hit from Albany.
“It’s not going to be viable to do that with city resources,” de Blasio said. “That’s something that would have to be done with a new revenue stream.”
De Blasio again suggested a millionaires’ tax to help fund the MTA. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly rejected that idea.
New Yorkers that Rapoport spoke to Wednesday had opposing views on the issue.
“Well, it’s coming out of my pocket, unfortunately,” one person said.
“We’ve got to give it a try. We’ve got to help these people,” another added.
According to the Riders Alliance and Community Service Society, 44 of the city’s 51 council members have pledged their support for the proposal.