AN OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR BLOOMBERG ON THE MTA FARE HIKES

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

When you campaigned for a third term last year, you pledged to New Yorkers that you would ensure that "we get our money's worth"  from the MTA. Today, we're getting even less for our money, and the MTA is threatening huge fare hikes, devastating service cuts,  and even the elimination of student Metro Cards and free rides for the disabled.

New Yorkers demand that you show leadership and keep your word, unlike the many other elected officials we have to contend with. Our city's transit system is in crisis. The cost of a monthly Metro Card could rise to over $100 next year. Service is being cut  on dozens of bus and subway lines, while crucial upgrades are  being neglected.

Mr. Mayor, we hope that you and other politicians get the  message that transplanting the MTA's woes onto the backs of tax  payers and working families isn't an option. Please act before  March 24, when the MTA is next expected to take action on service  cuts and fare hikes, and let them know that you vehemently  disagree.

MTA leaders should exhaust all other options before they raise  fares or cut services. Students and disabled folks should be able  to ride free, because they need them most.

There are plenty of ways you can fix the MTA's problems. You  can direct the MTA to use money it already has to cover its budget  shortfall, instead of making riders pay, while pushing  dysfunctional Albany to cough up its share.

New York's public transit system is one of the largest  transportation systems in the world, a veritable pillar of our  economy, and we need to maintain and upgrade it as a matter of  economic necessity.

Even transit experts and some MTA Board members want to use the federal stimulus money they already have to help close the MTA's  budget gap, but Chairman Jay Walder, opposes that plan, and says  all of the MTA's stimulus money should go to new projects and improvements. It is wrong to pay for new subway lines by cutting old ones.

The federal stimulus program allows the MTA to use some funds  to keep trains running and fares under control. Nearly every transit agency in America is using the stimulus program to plug  budget holes, except the MTA.

Mayor, you can make this happen, and we are counting on you!

UNITED COMMUNITIES ALLIANCE
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Albert Baldeo


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