If a bill being mulled right now in Congress becomes law, the head of the MTA warned yesterday it may result in additional fare increases down the line.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota joined union representatives, transit advocates and politicians at Grand Central Station to decry proposed federal cuts to mass transit funding.
The group says a Republican federal transportation bill presented late last week in the House will cut $1.7 billion to New York state mass transit funding, the lion’s share being cut from the MTA. Those cuts, the group said, would have a devastating affect on New York City commuters.
“This bill would hit the MTA hard,” said Lhota. “It would raise fares. It would rob the MTA of investments we count on every year.”
Even the Transport Workers Union, currently in a bitter contract dispute with the MTA, stood alongside Lhota.
“We stand with the MTA on this issue,” said TWU member Marvin Holland.
New York Rep. Joe Crowley said the MTA would not have the proper funding to maintain the rails and service customers, should the bill pass.
“With these cuts the MTA will have a harder time planning and funding capital projects,” said Crowley. “Commuters in and around the city … will see longer delays, slower trains, and decaying stations.”
Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg chimed in to blast the bill.
“The lifeblood of New York City is our buses, subways and commuter rails,” said Bloomberg. “Eight million people take mass transit every day in New York which helps to cut traffic, reduce pollution, spur our economy and improve public health.”