One of the most talked about aspects of the MTA’s financial woes was the discontinuation of Student MetroCards. There were two clear camps on this, those who feel the students should not lose their free rides to & from school, & those who feel that enough is enough with the handouts. According to an exclusive report in the New York Post by Tom Namako & Brendan Scott, the MTA & state lawmakers are close to a deal that will save the Student MetroCards for the upcoming school year:
The MTA and state lawmakers are finalizing a bill to save free student MetroCards for the next school year – a deal that could sink the transit agency further into debt.
Under the agreement, the state will contribute $25 million to the program, the city will give $45 million and the MTA will foot the remaining $144 million, as first reported by The Post.
Lawmakers are working to insert the agreement into a budget bill, expected to be introduced late tonight. The measure, which is not considered controversial, will likely be voted on tomorrow.
The agency is expected to make up the money used for the fares by further fattening its $400 million budget shortfall for 2010 and 2011, sources said.
That could mean more dire cost-saving measures.
Transit brass originally proposed cutting the student passes in December as a way to save money.
The state contribution to the free-card program would actually decrease from the current $45 million.
Click here for the complete report.
I have mixed emotions about this. I understand the need for students to get to & from school & I want them to be able to do just that. On the other hand, it does bother me that a good percentage of the students could care less about their education & run rampant throughout our transit system on the taxpayers dollar. What really pains me is how the MTA would once again get the short-end of the stick in terms of the money dished out for these MetroCards.
If the city & state are so adamant about students being able to ride, they should pony up 100% of the money necessary to provide this service. Why should the MTA have to foot the bill when they are clearly undergoing financial hardship mainly due to the inadequate funding from these same lawmakers. These lawmakers could honestly careless about the students as they only support this luxury to look good to their constituents with zero regard for the MTA & overall riding public’s bottom line.
When the MTA is forced to look into more service cuts or fare hikes due to their budget woes, these same lawmakers, wanting the MTA to foot the majority of the cost for this program, will be the first to cry about the MTA’s out of control costs.. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! When will these lawmakers learn that you can’t have it both ways or do they just not care as long as they get what they want behind closed doors while saving face & keeping their position & status? So sad…….
xoxo Transit Blogger