PRESS STATEMENT

For immediate release: December 4, 2008
Contact: Kate Slevin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
P: 212-268-747

Tri-State Transportation Campaign Statement in Response to the Ravitch Commission Report

The Ravitch report offers fair and equitable methods of paying for MTA operations and capital needs and reduces the size of the proposed fare increase. We urge our elected officials to move swiftly to pass these recommendations.   If they do not, they must immediately find other, politically feasible ways to secure necessary revenues for the transit system. 

We applaud Governor Paterson and his leadership on this issue, and for his understanding that tough choices need to be made to keep our transit system afloat. 

No matter what the opponents say, East River and Harlem River bridge tolls are an equitable means of raising transportation revenue. The majority of outer borough residents do not own a car, and rely solely on our transit network to get around. Households that do not own cars make about 50% less, on average, than their car-owning counterparts.

Tri-State Transportation Campaign is pleased to see the report’s focus on buses. More funding for bus rapid transit projects can improve service and speed commutes in the very near term.

Tri-State supports the creation of a regional bus authority, and believes it will improve bus service and reliability, especially in the suburbs. For years, counties, the state and the MTA have fought over who will pay for the bus systems in Nassau and Westchester. This has resulted in less reliable service for bus riders and an inability for bus providers to keep pace with increasing ridership. Our economy is regional in nature; our bus system should be regional as well. In other words, better bus service in Nassau and Westchester will benefit bus riders in those counties, along with the many New York City residents who travel there for work. 

Tri-State Transportation Campaign is concerned about the idea of automatic, biennial fare increases without public hearings. Fare increases need to be considered in the context of the MTA’s fiscal situation and should not be done automatically. Though no one knows when the economy will rebound, when it does fare increases may not be necessary, making this action presumptuous and hasty, and the weakest part of the package.