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Op-Ed: NYC Transit Service Cuts Wrong Way to Bolster Budget

The agency could see an influx of capital funds from congestion pricing, but cuts to bus and rail service to make up for budget shortfalls would result in long-term setbacks to the system.
September 26, 2019, 11am PDT | Camille Fink
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Serge Lambotte

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking at ways to cut back to address an increasing budget shortfall, but service cuts are not the way to do this, argues Andrew Albert. Widespread support for congestion pricing points to $40 billion of capital funds in the future, which would result in more people moving to transit.

"That means there has to be service to get people where they need to go. It’s simple: if the service isn’t there, the riders won’t come. Why fund new signals when there are fewer trains to take advantage of them?" says Albert.

Instead, he urges a dedicated funding stream for operations, which could come from a sales tax increase or changes to the gas tax. "Clearly, no one wants to raise taxes, but neither can we ignore the deleterious results of service cuts. New York and the surrounding region cannot afford to be caught in a transit death spiral. Our economy will suffer but riders will be the biggest losers," adds Albert.

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Published on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 in Crain's New York Business
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