Legislation Would Require MTA to Hold Public Hearings Regarding Changes in Fares, Tolls, or Services in All Affected Regions
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) announced today that the New York State Senate passed legislation he sponsored to make it easier and more convenient for residents who would be affected by any proposed Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) fare increase, toll hike and major service change to voice their concerns.
The legislation (S776) would require the MTA to hold hearings in each county in which a fare, toll, and/or major service change is proposed.
“Residents who would be affected by any proposed MTA toll, fare or major service change deserve every opportunity to get information and share their concerns directly with the MTA Board at a public hearing in their area. Requiring the MTA to hold public hearings in each county affected by the proposed changes would give the public additional opportunities to voice their opinions,” said Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
Current state law requires the MTA to hold a public hearing on a proposed toll, fare, or major service change. There is no requirement that a hearing be held in each affected county. When it considered the most recent fare increase proposal in the fall of 2012, the MTA held public forums in different areas of the MTA region, but there were several counties in which no public hearing was held, even though residents of those counties were directly impacted by the MTA’s changes.
The MTA has implemented six fares hikes in the last 10 years, and is planning on considering another fare increase proposal in 2014.
“The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council strongly supports Senate Bill 776. It should be indisputable that every rider should have a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment on proposed changes in the cost and level of service provided by the MTA. It is vitally important for both riders to be able to express their views and it is equally important for MTA Board Members to hear the riders’ views. The Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council thanks Senator Fuschillo for this legislation which seeks to make the MTA's public hearing process more responsive to riders and their needs,” said Mark Epstein, Chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council.