New Jersey Future
NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign
Tri-State Transportation Campaign

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
April 20, 2010

Contact
Ya-Ting Liu, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
212-268-7474

 New Map Shows Scale of National Transit Crisis: Local Groups Urge Members of Congress for Emergency Transit Funding to Rescue NY and NJ Riders from Devastating Service Cuts and Fare Hikes

New Jersey Future, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Tri-State Transportation Campaign joined transit riders, advocates and community leaders across the country to urge Congress for emergency transit funding to stave off devastating service cuts and fare hikes.  Over 80% of transit systems in the country, including NJ Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), are resorting to lay-offs, service cuts and fare hikes to stay afloat at a time when workers and riders can least afford them. 

The calls come as a national group, Transportation for America, releases maps showing the scale of the national transit crisis. The maps can be found at http://t4america.org/resources/transitfundingcrisis/ .  

Without additional transit funding from Congress in the form of emergency aid or an infrastructure-focused jobs bill, transit service will continue to deteriorate in the region, leaving millions of New York and New Jersey residents stuck and stranded, paying higher fares for less service.  In December 2009, the House of U.S. Representatives passed the Jobs for Main Street Act that included an additional $8.4 billion dollars for transit (10% of which could be used for day-to-day operating expenses). If passed by the Senate, such a measure would help stave off looming service cuts and fare hikes in the tri-state region.

“Transit riders in the tri-state region will be paying higher fares for less service -- in some cases facing the complete elimination of train and bus routes -- at a time when they need affordable travel choices to get to work and to look for work," said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "The maps released today show the crisis we are facing in our region is actually a national crisis, deserving of an emergency solution by Congress.  Without Congressional action, millions of residents in our region will be stranded at the station.”

In New Jersey, transit riders will be slammed with a 25% fare hike on commuter trains, 10% on local bus and light rail, and service cuts on transit lines throughout the state effective May 1.  In the New York City metropolitan area, straphangers will face cuts to service across the system including elimination of the W and V trains, many bus routes, reductions in commuter train runs and Access-a-Ride and Able-Ride services relied upon by disabled and elderly residents effective June 1.  NJ Transit and MTA are also making cuts internally by laying off 200 and 1,220 transit workers, respectively. 

"Transit systems are in crisis all across America, slashing service, hiking fares and laying off workers.  Washington should come to the rescue and help these cities restore their local economies with basic and affordable buses and trains," said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, a transit riders group in New York City.

“The recent fare hikes and service cuts will erode years of progress in ridership growth and transit-oriented development along NJ Transit’s extensive transit network,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach. “Congress can help ease the burden on transit riders and maintain smart growth momentum by providing emergency operating funding for transit agencies that are struggling to maintain adequate service in the face of decreasing state aid.”

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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.