MTA Offers To Keep LI Bus Running For 1 Year

As the contentious battle between the MTA & Nassau County continues over the funding of Long Island Bus, the much maligned transit agency has made an offer to keep running the service for one year. However it does come with some strict guidelines which includes the guarantee of the county fully funding it before County Executive Edward Mangano’s current term expires. Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has more:

Acknowledging Nassau’s “fiscal difficulties,” the MTA has made the county an offer to keep operating Long Island Bus through next year even if Nassau cannot immediately fulfill its obligation to fund the system.

The future of LI Bus, which is owned by Nassau, has been in jeopardy since the Metropolitan Transportation Authority earlier this year said it no longer would financially support the system beginning in 2011.

However, in a letter sent this week to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, MTA chairman Jay Walder laid out the conditions under which the MTA would continue operating and partially subsidizing LI Bus.

Those conditions include that Nassau acknowledge in a new written agreement that it is solely responsible for funding its bus system, that it increase its subsidy in 2011, and that it meet its obligation to fully fund LI Bus during Mangano’s current term in office.

In a statement, Mangano said only that county officials “are continuing our discussions with the MTA as well as exploring a public-private partnership.”

Click here for the complete report.

First thing is first, let it be known that the MTA can’t just wake up one day & shut down the operation of Long Island Bus. By law, they need to give 60 days notice. With that out of the way, I must say I agree with Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Kate Slevin in feeling the MTA is negotiation in good faith with the county.

I have long stated that the real villain in this fight is Nassau County which year after year continues to shaft the transit agency & its residents who rely on Long Island Bus. The mismanagement of their overall budget & subsequent lack of commitment to the vital service has become a ritual with the county. The same goes for the blame game as it is the fault of everyone but them.

Honestly, I don’t see the MTA just shutting down the service even with a given notice. However it seems blatantly obvious that the MTA means business & if Nassau County does not shape up, it is game over for them & unfortunately for the riders who depend on the service & the drivers who deal with less people on the roads. Will Nassau get its house in order? If they don’t, I would fully support the MTA cutting ties with this never ending game. Who knows what the future holds…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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