HEALTH AND WELFARE COUNCIL OF LONG ISLAND

SUSTAINABLE LONG ISLAND

LONG ISLAND FEDERATION OF LABOR-AFL/CIO

TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION LOCAL 252

LONG ISLAND PROGRESSIVE COALITION

TRI-STATE TRANSPORTATION CAMPAIGN

NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE

VISION LONG ISLAND

NEW YORK PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP

 

Press Release 

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Contact: Ryan Lynch, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Cell: 631-742-7528
Office: 212-268-7474

 

Groups Hold LI Bus Funeral and Procession; Call for Nassau County to Increase Funding and MTA to Withdraw Cuts

MINEOLA—Bus riders, transit, planning, labor and environmental advocates gathered at the Mineola Intermodal Facility to hold a mock funeral for LI Bus service. The service, immediately followed by a funeral procession to the steps of the Nassau County Legislature, offered a vision of a County without a fully functioning bus system and was a call for County Executive Mangano and the County Legislature to come to bus riders’ aid.

The potential loss of LI Bus would be the direct result of the unwillingness of Nassau County to adequately fund its system and the MTA’s hasty proposal to cut its entire contribution to what is arguably the largest suburban bus system in the country.

The groups, which included the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island, New York Communities for Change, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Sustainable Long Island, NYPIRG, TWU, the Long Island Federation of Labor-AFL/CIO, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, and others, joined bus riders in eulogizing the LI Bus system and highlighting the system’s benefits to Nassau County’s economy, environment and quality of life.

“The death of LI Bus as a viable system will devastate Nassau County residents, particularly the 8% of households who don’t have access to an automobile,” said Ryan Lynch, senior planner and Long Island coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Unfortunately, this is exactly what will happen if Nassau County and the MTA don’t fund a system that serves 33 million riders a year, supports economic development and protects our environment.”

If the County and MTA fail to work together to support bus riders, service could greatly diminish to only a handful of routes. Riders would be left with few transportation choices outside of taking expensive taxis, and put at risk of losing jobs and limiting access to essential services.

“I rely on LI Bus to visit my doctor, to pick up my medication, and to make it to crucial appointments throughout the New York area,” said Enid Allison of NY Communities for Change. “Like hundreds of thousands of my fellow Nassau County residents who count on this service, I know that privatizing is not an answer. It’s time for the county to pay its fair share, work with the MTA, and come up with a solution that keeps the buses running without taking away riders’ voices.”

The groups provided an alternative future for Nassau County without this important service.

"Discontinuing this service will cause the Long Island workforce, seniors, young adults, and thousands more to truly mourn this potential move," says Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director of Sustainable Long Island. “The MTA is not committing itself to sustainable growth by cutting Long Island Bus services.” It is an ill-advised effort to balance finances, which would leave 100,000 daily bus riders with no alternatives to get to work, home, and school."

“It is a dark day for LI Bus riders and Long Island small businesses that rely on this important service to get to work and other services.  Government leaders on all levels should focus on continuing this important service and look deep into their budgets and reprioritize funding.  Clearly there are offsets in the Nassau County budget and we will be calling on the Federal and State to assist in the next budget cycle.”—Eric Alexander, Executive Director, Vision Long Island.

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Handout photo via Tri-State Transportation Campaign: Photo taken morning of October 6, 2010 at Mineola Intermodal Center. Speaking is Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island. Behind Alexander are bus riders and transit, planning, labor and environmental advocates. Link to web-size photo (600 x 537 pixels) is here.

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Handout photo via Tri-State Transportation Campaign: Photo taken morning of October 6, 2010 at Mineola Intermodal Center. Bus riders and transit, planning, labor and environmental advocates lead a funeral procession from the Mineola Intermodal Center to the Nassau County Legislature. Link to web-size photo (598 x 794 pixels) is here.

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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.