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Mayor, stop the MTA’s planned cuts

An open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

When you campaigned for a third term last year, you pledged to New Yorkers that you would ensure “we get our money’s worth” from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Today, we are getting even less for our money and the MTA is threatening huge fare hikes, devastating service cuts and the elimination of student MetroCards and free rides for the disabled.

New Yorkers demand you show leadership and keep your word — unlike the many other elected officials we have to contend with. Our city’s transit system is in crisis. The cost of a monthly MetroCard could rise to over $100 next year. Service is being cut on dozens of bus and subway lines, while crucial upgrades are being neglected.

Mr. Mayor, we hope you and other politicians get the message that transplanting the MTA’s woes onto the backs of taxpayers and working families is not an option. Please act before March 24, when the MTA is next expected to take action on service cuts and fare hikes, and let it know you disagree.

MTA leaders should exhaust all other options before they raise fares or cut services. Students and disabled folks should be able to ride for free.

There are plenty of ways you can fix the MTA’s problems. You can direct the MTA to use money it already has to cover its budget shortfall, instead of making riders pay, while pushing dysfunctional Albany to cough up its share.

New York City’s public transit system is one of the largest transportation systems in the world — a veritable pillar of our economy — and we need to maintain and upgrade it as a matter of economic necessity.

Even transit experts and some MTA board members want to use the federal stimulus money they already have to help close the MTA’s budget gap, but MTA Chairman Jay Walder opposes that plan and says the MTA’s stimulus money should go to new projects and improvements. It is wrong to pay for new subway lines by cutting old ones.

The federal stimulus program allows the MTA to use some funds to keep trains running and fares under control. Nearly every transit agency in America is using the stimulus program to plug budget holes except the MTA.

Mr. Mayor, you can make this happen and we are counting on you.

Albert Baldeo

Ozone Park

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