Brooklyn, New York - U.S. Senate candidate Chele Farley (R, C, Reform) today was joined by New York State Senator Martin Golden to condemn the deplorable deterioration of transit service in the state. If elected, Farley pledged to increase federal transit aid to stave off the planned MTA fare hikes and to help fund the pending “lockbox” legislation sponsored by Senator Golden.
“New Yorkers are getting shortchanged by Washington and they are paying for it with delays, fare hikes and a deterioration of their quality of life. New Yorkers need a lockbox and deserve their fair share of federal funds dedicated to it,” said Farley.
New York state is home to approximately 40% of the nation’s transit riders, yet incredibly receives less than 16% of federal monies. The disparity between New York’s share of ridership and allocation of federal dollars is being felt acutely by straphangers who are suffering under one of the worst transit crises of our lifetime.
This federal funding disparity is reflective of New York’s overall status as a donor state. New York sends $48 billion dollars more to Washington then we get back every year. That disparity is only expected to increase with recent changes to the federal tax code where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand once again failed to deliver for New Yorkers.
The lockbox legislation advanced by Senator Golden and pending consideration by the Governor would fully prohibit the chief executive from diverting any funds dedicated to public transit, whether operational or capital. This legislation comes in response to years of funds being diverted from the MTA. The total dollar amount of diverted funds is estimated at almost $500 million.
Senator Golden said, “The Transit Funding Lockbox Act is critically important to protect all those who ride the buses and trains and have been asked to pay more for less service. This legislation will guarantee that funds dedicated to support the MTA will actually be spent for such purposes and not get diverted to other priorities.”
In January 2011, the New York City subway had an average on-time performance of 85.4 percent. Today that number stands at an embarrassing 58.1 percent. These New York City Transit delays cost the City’s economy almost $400 million per year. Moreover, the deterioration of service has led to a two-percent reduction in overall ridership as riders flee the system for alternative and more reliable forms of transportation.
“The MTA has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world. It’s incomprehensible to be charging riders more for worse service. In Washington, I will fight for our fair share of funding to stave off the MTA fare hike,” said Farley.
Concluded Senator Golden, “We need a Senator in Washington who will fight, who will partner with local leaders and is committed to fixing problems we face every day in New York. We need Chele Farley in Washington to make sure we finally get our fair share.”