Brooklyn is facing a full-blown transit apocalypse — include massive bus service reductions and the elimination of an entire subway line — thanks to severe cuts approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board this morning.
The extreme measures, rubber-stamped by an MTA panel on Monday, then hailed in a 12-0 vote on Wednesday, stem from the transit agency’s claim that it has a $383-million deficit, despite the recent fare-hike up to $2.25 per ride.
As you might imagine, the borough’s power brokers went nuts.
“These ‘punitive’ measures fail to equitably spread the burden of funding public transit throughout the entire MTA region,” Borough President Markowitz said in a statement.
Critics of the Atlantic Yards project could not help but see a connection between Wednesday’s service cuts and the decision this summer to allow developer Bruce Ratner to pay only $20 million of his promised $100 million lump sum for the right to build over the MTA’s Vanderbilt Yards.
“Transit riders should recognize that the MTA cuts are in large part due to this sweeter, sweetheart deal the authority needlessly cut this summer,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “It is not too late … to make the MTA strike a new deal with Ratner that requires him to pay what he committed to paying — $100 million at closing, rather than $20 million.”
MTA board members said they supported the cuts because of a state mandate to adopt a balanced budget by today. But several stressed that this is only the start of the process, and the agency will now fine-tune some of the savings they’re proposing.
But for now, here’s a partial list of the coming disaster for Brooklynites:
• The elimination of weekday service on the B23, B25, B37, B39, B51 and B75 buses.
• The elimination of weekend service on the B7, B14, B31, B45, B48, B57, B64, B65, B67 and B77.
• The complete elimination of Williamsburg’s Z line, which would force the J to run local.
• Reduced frequency of service along the A, D, F, G, N, Q, J, and M trains.
• The elimination of half-priced student fares.
• Cuts in Access-A-Ride service for the disabled.
If no savior emerges, the cuts would take effect in the spring.
©2009 Community News Group
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