May/June 2000, p.11
Fare Hikes, Debt and
Disaster Loom For NYC Subways and Buses
It's the King Kong of governmental irresponsibility and it's bearing down on the NYC transit system. Despite heated opposition, Governor Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno are about to drop a gigantic debt bomb on New York City transit riders. They intend to borrow $25 billion in new bonds-the biggest loan in New York State's history. When this bomb detonates it will blow your fare through the roof-think $2.50 per ride and transit service sinking in an ocean of red ink.
For the Governor the idea is cynically simple. Borrow tons of money now. Let the next generation pay it back. Bankrupt the future of mass transit in New York City. Get away with murder.
Worse yet, when repayment comes due starting in five years, it will consume most of the money that now goes to maintenance, cleaning and keeping the system in good order. Picture the subway system of the early '80's, complete with fires, littered trains and frequent breakdowns.
The debt bomb plan is heatedly opposed by the NY Times, NY Post and Daily News, the influential Straphangers Campaign, every transportation reform and good government group (including T.A. and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign), the transit unions and big business groups. Even construction industry groups, which stand to profit now, oppose the plan because of its dire consequences. Unfortunately, it looks like this broad array of opponents will not be enough to overcome the seductive political fantasy of buy now, pay later.
To automatically send a message to Pataki, Silver and Bruno, go to the Straphangers Campaign website at www.bettertransit.org.
Or write, fax, email Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly- he represents the Lower East Side. Tell him not to bankrupt the future of our subways and city. Urge him to oppose this cynical and destructive plan.
Good public policy dictates that support from transit come from all or some of the sources shown below. Unfortunately, most are considered politically unfeasible. Ironic.
Governor George Pataki
Highlights of Transit Mega-Disaster
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