Testimony To The MTA Board Of Directors Calling On The MTA To Join With Transit Riders To Demand Transit Funding

Testimony of Mo Kinberg
Policy and Outreach Manager, Transportation Alternatives

Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today. My name is Mo Kinberg and I co-manage Transportation Alternatives' Rider Rebellion Campaign.

It's no secret that New Yorkers aren't happy with the way things are going for public transit. People are quick to blame the MTA but we need solutions, not scapegoating. When school funding is slashed, nobody blames the teachers for overcrowded classrooms and outdated textbooks. People, rightfully, point a finger at the real culprits--the officials who chose to defund a public necessity. The MTA faces a similar challenge. Over the past few years, millions of dollars of dedicated funding have been diverted from the MTA's budget. We can't ask for more from the MTA than what we're willing to pay for.

For the last year, the Rider Rebellion has been at subway stations and bus stops educating transit riders about the need for secure funding to guarantee an affordable, reliable and efficient transit system. Riders in all five boroughs are standing up to demand the service that they deserve. Over 20,000 transit riders have signed the NYC Transit Rider Bill of Rights and joined the Rider Rebellion campaign.

I am here today to remind you that at the end of the day, the MTA board is acting on behalf of eight million people who ride the system each day. You're not deciding the fate of a clean station, a bus stop or track work; you're deciding whether or not straphangers wade through garbage, have to walk extra blocks or wait because a train derailed. Transportation Alternatives' Rider Rebellion campaign is here to ask you, the MTA Board, to stand with riders and demand that the elected officials in Albany, Washington and City Hall who represent the riders secure the funds we need for a transit system that truly serves the needs of all New Yorkers. As you make decisions about the operating and capital budget for our public transit system, the Rider Rebellion is here to make sure you keep the best interest of riders in mind. Transit riders and the MTA Board need to work together along with elected officials, businesses, labor and advocates to ensure that our transit system meets the demands of our growing city.

Finally, we're asking everyone here to sign the Transit Rider Bill of Rights right now and join the Rider Rebellion: text REBEL to 30644. You'll find out about events and actions you take to put the public back in public transit.