For immediate release: September 16, 2009
Statement on Nassau County budget
County Executive Thomas Suozzi is trying to balance Nassau County’s budget on the backs of Long Island bus riders. His proposed 2010 budget, released this morning, reduces the Country’s contribution to Long Island Bus by a quarter, from $10.5 million to $7.7 million. Given that County Executive Suozzi’s New Suburbia proposal depends on a robust transit network, we are surprised by this action.
For an agency already strapped to the bone, this action could result in drastic service cuts for Long Island bus riders, a group that has repeatedly been singled out by decision makers for drastic fare hikes and service cuts even in the best of economic times.
The move furthers the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s long held belief that Nassau County and the MTA need to reach an agreement to establish a regional bus system that enables Long Island Bus to have a stable source of funding and plan for increases in ridership. Long Island Bus ridership reached an all time high of 33.1 million in 2008.
It’s worth noting that while the County is cutting its contribution to Long Island Bus, it is also initiating a study for a new transit service to the Nassau Hub area. That study is worthwhile, but pursuing it while slashing funding for the County’s existing transit system does not make any sense. If the County cannot support the transit system it has, and cannot reach an agreement with the MTA that puts Long Island Bus on stable financial footing, it should not be pursuing new transit projects.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign will fight County Executive Suozzi’s proposal and stand up for the needs of Long Island Bus riders.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.