Staten Island – State Senator Andrew J. Lanza (24th District), Congressman Vito Fossella (13th District NY) and Assemblyman Louis Tobacco (62nd District) called the MTA’s plan to commission four art projects at subway stations on the new 2nd Avenue line in Manhattan "fiscally irresponsible".
Reported in the New York Post on November 27, 2007, the MTA is planning to commission four art installations, costing as much as $4 million total, for the 96th, 86th, 72nd and 63rd Street stations along the 2nd Avenue line. The article also reported that each project will cover as much as 2,200 square feet of wall space, which equates to approximately $450 a square foot.
While Lanza, Fossella and Tobacco are not opposed to public art projects, they called the move by the MTA a slap in the face to Staten Islander's who have to deal with a horrific commute daily, possible fare increases and lack of services. The three lawmakers feel that during fiscal times like this, it is important that the MTA prioritize spending and look to use money in a responsible manner.
Lanza said, "Once again, the MTA has chosen to act fiscally irresponsible to the detriment of all Staten Islanders. I would like for them to explain to the Staten Island commuter why they feel the need to raise their fare almost 30 cents per ride, but are willing to spend $4M on art in the subway. The MTA continues to defy logic and they must be held accountable."
Fossella said, "Wouldn't this money be better spent on fare and toll relief for commuters? It's outrageos the MTA wants to fund art projects in Manhattan subways with higher fares on express buses and higher tolls on the Verrazano Bridge. The MTA refuses to develop a solution to the Verrazano Bridge traffic chaos, yet they can hold art competitions that will cost New Yorkers $4 million. Last week we learned the MTA wastes millions giving free EZ Passes to bureaucrats and now we find out that they want to drop another $4 million on art projects. The MTA shouldn't raise a fare or toll until they've cut every ounce of fat out of their bloated budget."
Tobacco said, "While Staten Islanders are concerned with three-hour long commutes, express bus service, and pending toll increases, the MTA is concerned with markers and crayons. If the MTA put as much thought and money into transportation improvements, Staten Islanders would not be facing the transportation disaster they are in."
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