MTA Cutting Its Budget By $61M

The MTA is in a major hole financially. This is not news to any of us who keep tabs with all the happenings in & around the MTA. In keeping with the bad financial news theme comes a report about the MTA’s New York City Transit division cutting its budget by $61 million dollars. This comes as the MTA is looking at any & all ways to save money as noted recently when they announced a slash of budgets for travel, food, phones, & Blackberries along with new hires. Matthew Sweeney of AMNY has more on this story:

NYC Transit is chopping its budget next year by $61 million, much of it through the reduction of bus and subway maintenance jobs.

The search for savings is part of an overall Metropolitan Transportation Authority goal of reducing costs by 6 percent over the next four years as the agency faces a financial crisis. For its part, NYC Transit has projected saving $251.3 million from 2009 through 2012. The bulk of the savings in 2009 — $39.4 million — will come from reductions to maintenance.

The cuts come at a time when subway service has been on a gradual but steady decline and when talk has started again about another possible fare hike next year.

Transit officials worked to reassure straphangers yesterday, saying in a statement that none of the proposed savings “will have an impact on safety, security or customer service levels.”

The MTA board will meet Wednesday to go over a preliminary budget for 2009.

Some of the cuts to transit include:

– Fewer buses will get 12-year maintenance upgrades

– Reduction in the number of platform controllers

– Fewer resources to maintain scratch-free glass on 1 and L lines.

According to NY1’s report on this issue, the amount of jobs being lost with these cuts will total over 500.

I must say it is concerning that one of the cuts would be the reduction in maintaining scratchiti free glass on the subway cars itself. While it is not the most important feature in the world, riding a scratchiti free train is a nice surprise when one comes across it. As a straphanger, I feel it is not too much to ask for to ride an aesthetically pleasing while safe train from point A to point B.

Overall my main concern is the MTA not falling back into the pitfalls of the 1970’s which saw our system in shambles after it fell out of a state of good repair. While the MTA has been doing what it can to take care of the most important repair related issues in maintaining our system, it is vital that we do not get to a level where our system has deteriorated to a state of needing enormous amounts of money to repair it. Considering the current state of finances, this is something the MTA can not afford to have happen.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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