As I noted in the previous entry, I expected the MTA to release a statement on the approval of budget cuts by the Board today. Here is their statement:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board today approved a package of service changes needed to help fill a nearly $800 million budget shortfall for 2010. The service changes, which were approved by a vote of 11-2, included modifications based on public feedback from more than 500 speakers at the MTA’s nine public hearings, in addition to 7,100 emails, and 110,000 letters and signed petitions.
“The extent of our deficit requires that most of the cuts move ahead, but we listened to our customers and made changes where we could,” MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder said. “We were able to take a number of cuts off the table but unfortunately, many of the cuts moving ahead will be painful.”
A proposal to eliminate free and discounted student MetroCards was not acted upon today.
The service changes will save the MTA $93 million each year and are part of a series of actions proposed in December to close a nearly $400 million shortfall for 2010, including changes to paratransit service and the elimination of student MetroCards. An additional shortfall of $378 million has since developed. The total of nearly $800 million is due largely to the deterioration of projected payroll tax revenues and a state cut of $143 million to the MTA’s budget that was diverted to the State’s general fund.
Additional actions are also being undertaken to close the remaining gap. The MTA has begun overhauling how it does business, renegotiating contracts with suppliers, and identifying projects that can be deferred or eliminated. Spending is already down $59 million for the first two months of the year. It plans to consolidate functions across its agencies, reduce overtime costs and has already begun meeting with union leadership to discuss the agency’s budget situation and begin the dialogue about how they can contribute to the solution.
“The reality is that closing the first $400 million is extremely painful, and closing the additional gap will be even harder,” Chairman Walder said. “We’ve just taken a very difficult vote, but there are more difficult choices ahead to achieve necessary cost savings.”
Service Changes – Implementation Timeline
New York City Transit, MTA Bus, Long Island Bus:
All changes, bus and rail, are planned to be effective June 27, 2010. Since that is a Sunday, weekday-only services (V, W, many of the express buses, etc) would run their last regular service on Friday, June 25 and the first weekday patterns on Monday June 28.
One exception: Staten Island Ball Park (SIR) special will officially be discontinued June 18 (the first Staten Island Yankees home game).
Long Island Rail Road:
The LIRR service changes earmarked for May 2010 would be implemented with the May 17, timetable change. The LIRR Service changes earmarked for September 2010 would be implemented with the September 13 timetable change.
Service changes will be implemented on June 21, 2010, to correspond to with their next timetable change.
Service changes will be phased in over the next several months.
Effective April 12, 2010, Able-Ride will no longer provide paratransit service to areas of
Nassau County that are beyond the service area defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Bridges & Tunnels:
Modification of the Cross Bay Bridge Resident Rebate Program will go into effect at a yet to be determined date in July.
A full list of the service changes and an implementation schedule are available at www.mta.info.
I am going to take a look at the detailed changes that will occur from these cuts. I am extremely curious as to the changes involving “Access-A-Ride” which has been a financial eyesore to the agency for years now. I had blogged about this awhile back when the report of the service being used to take riders to Empire City in Yonkers.
While I fully would like to see better funding for mass transit, I also support the agency in terms of looking at options to cut cost. The agency has a lot of places it can cut the fat out especially in terms of the amount of employees (mainly management positions & the like). This overall topic will be hot & heavy over the coming days, weeks, & months.
xoxo Transit Blogger