The Senate Democratic Majority has achieved a major victory for New York children and families today by securing $25 million in state funding for a reduced fare student MetroCard program.
A budget agreement between the MTA, city and state will prevent cuts to the program and continue to provide students access to reduced-fare transit. Under the agreement, the state will pay $25.3 million to fund the program in addition to a city contribution. The MTA will cover the remaining costs. All students who were eligible for reduced fare MetroCards during the previous school year will continue to receive the benefit starting this September.
The $25 million in state funding is contingent upon the NYC Department of Education’s receipt of the reduced fare student MetroCards from the MTA.
“The restoration of funding for student MetroCards is of tantamount importance to New York’s students and families, who should never have to weigh the cost of attending school against getting to school,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Facing a massive deficit, the MTA had proposed full elimination of the program, which would have affected the more than 500,000 New York City students who use the reduced fare MetroCards to travel to and from public school.
"Today, we kept our promise to New York's children by protecting their access to a reliable and affordable means of mass transit. While the benefits of a quality education are priceless, the cost of transportation for our students should remain affordable. I would like to thank Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver, and my Senate colleagues, in particular Senators Martin Malavé Dilan and Joe Addabbo for their tireless advocacy on behalf of students,” said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson.
"I am proud to announce that strong efforts have been made to fully fund the student metro cards in this year’s State Budget,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens). “Together we rallied to send a clear message that eliminating student metro cards that allow students to ride the subway and bus at a substantially reduced cost would be catastrophic for working families. With the passage of the upcoming budget bills, our message will have been heard loud and clear."
It is expected that the legislation containing the agreement will be acted upon early next week.