Student MetroCard Cuts Postponed in New MTA Proposals

Public reaction spurs budget changes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Friday released a list of revised proposals for service cuts in an effort to close $800 billion budget hole, and student Metrocards seem to have been given a reprieve -- for now.

    In a statement, the MTA said the "modifications are designed to ease some of the pain associated with the cuts and are based on public feedback from the MTA's nine public hearings and thousands of emails, letters and phone calls."

    The changes reduce the savings achieved by the service cuts from approximately $101 million annually to $93 million, adding $8 million to the approximately $400 million budget shortfall not yet addressed by cuts, the MTA said.

    The revised package will be considered by the MTA Board at its meeting on Wednesday.

    Student Metrocards, which sparked protest when put on the chopping block months ago, have been given a stay of execution -- the MTA will not consider striking the free passes out of the budget until the State and City are allowed to weigh in on the subject later in the spring.

    Other cuts, such as Z train service, and the Bx18 bus route, have been spared.

    "The enormous public reaction to the proposed cuts reminds everyone how fundamental the transit system is to New Yorkers and how painful any cut can be," said MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder. "While our budget deficit forces us to move ahead with most of the cuts, we were able to take a number of the most painful cuts off the table based on what we heard from our customers."

    The proposed service changes are part of a package of actions proposed in December to close a nearly $400 million deficit for 2010.

    An additional shortfall of $378 million has since developed due largely to overestimation of projected payroll tax revenues.

    The MTA conducted nine public hearings throughout the region from March 1 - 8, which were attended by more than 2,500 people.

    The testimony from these hearings - along with comments submitted in writing or by phone - is being reviewed by MTA board members in advance of Wednesday's vote, the agency said.

    All of the revisions can be found here.