Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed cutting $100 million from the MTA’s $11 billion operating budget this year, as part of his effort to fix the “functionally bankrupt” state, but the MTA said it won’t reach into riders’ pockets to cope.
“As we continue cost-cutting, further reductions become harder and harder to achieve,” the MTA said in a statement. “But we must fill this gap, and we will fill it without resorting to fare and toll increases or service cuts, because our riders have already been hit with these painful measures over the past year.”
Cuomo’s overall budget seeks to wipe out the deficit and cut state spending, an initiative that was welcomed as well as decried because it partly relies of mass layoffs.
The agency said it wants “to find additional cost-savings through efficiencies,” and work with unions “to find productivity improvements that protect jobs.”
But the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents subway and bus workers, was skeptical.
“MTA’s idea of cooperation is a one-way street all in their direction,” union spokesman Jim Gannon said in an e-mail. ”It didn’t work last year when we took more than 900 layoffs and devastating service cuts to the public. There’s no reason to think it’ll work this year either.”
Rider advocates slammed the proposed reduction, arguing that Albany already took away $160 million in transit funds last year.
“Governor Cuomo campaigned on restoring honesty and ethics to Albany, but when it comes to transit nothing much has changed,” said Paul Steely White, who runs Transportation Alternatives.