Gov. Patterson Urges Republicans To Vote For MTA Bailout

The “doomsday scenario” being officially put into action is rapidly approaching & leaders in Albany are still unable to agree on a MTA funding package. State Democrats can’t come to an agreement due to such individuals like Sen. Carl Kruger, Sen. Pedro Espada, & Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. who rather cater to drivers than the majority of their constituents who depend on mass transit. So the prospects of a funding package being reached could end up needing Republican support. Gov. Patterson realizes this as he urged Senate Republicans to vote for a MTA bailout package. Glenn Blain & Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has more in this report from Saturday:

Struggling to get an MTA bailout, Gov. Paterson has begun phoning Republican senators trying to wrest pivotal votes.

The Democratic governor Friday called Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Queens) and recently phoned Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Long Island) about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s fiscal crisis.

The outreach comes after the failure of the Senate’s Democratic leadership to unify its own members behind a rescue to avert sky-high fare hikes and massive service cuts.

Without a Senate deal, more than 8 million subway, bus and commuter train riders will get fare hikes as high as 30% in late April and early May.

Padavan also got a call from former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch, architect of a bailout plan featuring East and Harlem River bridge tolls and an employer-paid payroll tax.

Click here for the complete report.

I am not holding out hope of Gov. Patterson being able to convince enough Republicans to vote for a MTA financial package. He clearly has been unable to get this done within his own party so why would be for the opposition? It is quite obvious that both sides rather play the political blame game versus getting the job done for millions of riders. I happen to agree 100% with Working Families Party Executive Dan Cantor when he said:

No plan is perfect, but doing nothing is just unacceptable. We’re calling on these senators to get back to the table and lead the way to a final, sensible agreement to save the MTA.

This is not the time to wait for the perfect plan as the needs of our system & the millions who depend on it should be the state’s #1 priority. If they are willing to let the system collapse with ramifications for the entire state, we the voting public will show them the error of their ways come election time. For the millions of riders who depend on mass transit, they can only hope Albany does the right thing. I am not holding out much hope….

xoxo Transit Blogger

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