March/April 1995, p.4

Rudy's Transit Cuts

Let there be no mistake. If the price of a New York City subway token goes up or transit service is cut during 1995, it will be the result of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Fare transit cuts.

Mayor Giuliani has cut the transit budget repeatedly and recklessly over the past six months. Without a plan in hand or consulting with transit officials, Giuliani first hacked $250 million from the City's contribution to the MTA capital plan, the rebuilding program for rebuilding stations and replacing dangerous equipment (the cut would have been $500 million if not for strong public pressure). The Mayor then went after transit's operating budget which keeps the system going day-to-day, and which is partially supported by the $1.25 you plunk down for each ride. Late last fall, City Hall announced reductions to the operating budget of over $100 million (the amount transit officials had planned to use to finance NYC's first-ever monthly transit pass). As we go to press, the Mayor has just ended support for transit passes for the city's students, adding $49 million to earlier operating budget cuts and leaving no system in place for our kids to get to school. All of this could spell a fare of $1.50 or more by the middle of this year. Albany and Washington are also reducing support for NYC transit. But any 1995 token-price increase or reductions in subway or bus service will be the result of Rudy Giuliani's transit cuts because:

  • The Mayor's cuts are the largest and most potentially damaging to the transit system.
  • The Mayor has led the way in breaking inter-governmental financial agreements to keep transit's capital and operating budgets on firm footing. The 1993 legislative agreement to finance transit has been blown to bits in a few short months.
  • The Mayor's cuts have destroyed the MTA plan for a monthly unlimited ride pass, which would have eliminated two-fare trips for many riders and boosted overall ridership. Instead, we may pay more in 1995 in return for less service and worse stations.

It is not clear that the Mayor is through cutting - the situation is so uncertain that the MTA's ability to plan on a multi-year basis is gone. Yet long-term planning is the key that allowed the subway system to bring itself back from the bad days of the 1970's. Mayor Giuliani's actions herald the return of year-to-year crisis management for NYC Transit.

Can our transit agencies operate more efficiently? Emphatically "yes." But the point of improving management at the MTA must be to improve service, speed rebuilding and permit the first-ever monthly transit pass, not to justify the Mayors budget axe. To thrive, NYC must develop a world class transit system.

Are Rudy's transit cuts inevitable? No. The transit-riding public and other New Yorkers who recognize the importance of high-quality, affordable transit service can play a pivotal role. If we are loud and forceful enough, we can push Mayor Giuliani to participate in the creation of a new plan to finance transit to replace the one he's just wrecked.

Your call or letter will make a difference - Stop the Mayor's Transit Cuts.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
City Hall New York, NY 10007
212 788 3000

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