D-Day here for Long Island bus – Metro US

D-Day here for Long Island bus

Doomsday dawned this morning for Long Island Bus. The MTA board is expected to slash funding today for the transit option as it works to approve its 2011 budget.

Not included in that budget is $26 million the MTA usually provides annually to run the bus, which serves more than 100,000 riders each day.

Nassau County, which owns the bus service, contributes about $9 million to the fund each year. Desperate to keep it running, the cash-strapped county pitched a plan where both it and the MTA would give more money, said Jostyn Hernandez, a spokesman for Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos. That plan fizzled.

Another idea floated is to privatize the bus, but that could potentially cost Nassau County even more, according to Maragos. Privatization would result in much higher fares and less service, said Ryan Lynch, a planner with Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

“The best bet is the county and the MTA should be negotiating to come up with a plan to save the bus,” said Lynch.

If the cuts do happen today, the MTA must provide riders with a 60-day notice that it will be cutting service.

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