Thursday, November 20, 2008

Latest on MTA Proposal to Cut Services

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) released its Final Proposed 2009 Budget and November Financial Plan for 2009-2012 on Thursday morning, unveiling a legion of proposed cutbacks to services – including several that will affect Queens.

"The budget presented today fulfills the MTA's responsibility to put forward a balanced budget for the coming year," said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. "While we attempted to identify the least harmful cuts possible, they will be painful and no one at the MTA is eager to implement them.”

Earlier this month, Sander announced that the agency was facing a $1.2 billion deficit in 2009 and would most likely need to make significant changes – raising fares and tolls or cutting services – to bridge the gap.

The biggest hits to Queens are the expected elimination of both the W Broadway Local Line, which starts at Whitehall Street and runs through downtown and midtown Manhattan and then Queens, making stops at Queensboro Plaza, 39th Avenue, 36th Avenue, Broadway and 31st Street, 30th Avenue, Astoria Boulevard and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard; and the Z Line, an Express Train that runs through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and makes stops at 75th Street, Woodhaven Boulevard, 104th Street, 121st Street, Sutphin Boulevard and Jamaica Center.

Other proposed subway cuts include the halving of two lines: the G Line, which will cut service from Court Square to Forest Hills – eliminating every stop in Queens except for 21st Street/Jackson Avenue and Court Square; and the M Line, which will still make stops between Metropolitan Avenue and Broad Street and will not affect Queens commuters traveling to Manhattan. The Q Train will be extended to Astoria and the MTA will add J Local service.

Other proposed changes include a fare and toll increase of 23 percent, which could raise subways fares to $2.50, an increase in Express Bus fare from $5.00 to $7.50, a 7.5 percent reduction in MTA staff (on top of previous 1.5 percent reduction) and the elimination of the Cross Bay Bridge Rebate Program, which affects commuters from Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

A final plan will be considered by the MTA Board at its Dec. 17 meeting and any changes would take affect in June 2009.

MTA Press Release

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