NEW YORK - Commuters board a bus near First Avenue on December 23, 2005 in New York City. After three days of strikes New York City subways and buses returned to service, bringing normality back to millions of peoples morning and afternoon commutes.
Transit funding makes strange bedfellows.
Let's backtrack: this summer the Transportation Authority slashed 11 bus routes on Long Island to help close an $800 million budget gap. Now, Staten Island's Borough President said Nassau County taxpayers should fork over more money -- or be prepared to lose more service.
"Staten Island residents are tired of paying to move these commuters.” said borough president Jim Molinaro.
“Nassau County pays just $9 million each year for their bus service while the MTA provides a whopping $40 million.” Molinaro added.
“And where does that money come from? It comes from the$11 toll on the Verrazano Bridge. Staten Island is one of the highest -tolled communities in the Country,and it’s mainly because the MTA uses our toll money to support transportation services in other areas. It is outrageous that our residents, who are City taxpayers, have money taken out of their pocket to pay for Long Island commuters.”
And guess who agrees? The MTA. As spokesman Jeremy Soffin put it, "We can no longer afford to assume Nassau County's responsibility for funding its bus system."
Not surprisingly, Nassau County disagrees.
"The MTA's culture of waste effects all taxpayers," said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. "Instead of attacking Nassau County, the Borough President should join his own Staten Island state representatives in calling for more oversight and accountability within the MTA."
The MTA will make official recommendations about funding, fare hikes and route cuts next week.