“I strongly oppose the MTA’s proposal to once again raise Long Island Rail Road fares on overburdened, overtaxed Long Islanders.
The MTA is continuing to treat riders like their own ATM. They have imposed five fare increases totaling 55 percent on LIRR commuters since 2003 and are once again asking them to pay an increase which is far above the rate of inflation. Overburdened riders who already pay the MTA thousands of dollars a year in commuting costs would see their monthly ticket prices increase by nearly 9 percent, making their commute substantially more expensive. One-way, round-trip, and ten-trip ticket prices would rise by as much as over 15 percent. That is unacceptable, especially in these trying times.
Families are suffering right now. They are dealing with high taxes and a challenging economy in which over 106,000 Long Islanders are currently unemployed. Making matters worse, many are still trying to rebuild and recover from the tremendous devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. This is the worst time to further burden them with higher costs.
Instead of simply charging riders higher fares, the MTA should continue to reduce costs and find internal savings to solve its fiscal difficulties. New York State, facing its own fiscal challenges, closed $13 billion in budget deficits without raising taxes or fees by cutting spending, streamlining operations, and improving efficiencies. It also continued to invest in the MTA, delivering nearly $4 billion in state funding in the 2012-13 state budget and authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars in new state funding for operating expenses and capital projects. Families and businesses have been making ends meet by tightening their belts and doing more with less in this economy. The MTA needs to do the same.
Riders cannot afford to keep paying more. The MTA needs to realize that, instead of making the LIRR increasingly unaffordable and driving people away from mass-transit. The MTA Board should reject this proposal.”