MTA Will Hold Public Hearings on Budget Cuts

By John Noel
|  Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010  |  Updated 5:15 PM EDT
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MTA Will Hold Public Hearings on Budget Cuts

NBCNewYork

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The vote was unanimous: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will hold public hearings on its plan to close an $800-million budget gap.

That plan includes laying off hundreds of transit workers and closing dozens of subway booths.

A Manhattan on Friday judge ordered the MTA to hold the hearings before letting go any more workers. On Monday the judge also ruled the agency has to reopen 38 customer service booths it closed last month.

However, the judge left it up to the MTA to decide whether to rehire the workers it laid off when it closed the booths.

"I urge this board, bring back 266 law-abiding, tax-paying New Yorkers, bring them back to work, let's stop this charade, stop the legal shenanigans and maneuverings," said Paul Piazza of Transport Workers Union Local 100 during the special MTA board meeting today.

But the head of the MTA says that without additional funding from the state more layoffs are inevitable, calling the agency's current financial situation dire.

"I wish I could tell you that that situation changed," said MTA chairman Jay Walder. "There's no indication today, as we stand here or sit here today that the situation, the financial situation is any better than it was when we took this action months ago."

Despite that, the MTA plans to hold four public hearings next month, one each in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan -- but the agency also is appealing the judge's order requiring those hearings.  And because the agency is appealing, the judge issued a stay of her order to reopen the subway booths closed in May.

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