Opposing the M.T.A. Hike But Not Spitzer, Somehow

Christine Quinn’s office just released a statement which manages to oppose the M.T.A.’s proposed budget, but which (not coincidentally, I’m guessing) doesn’t mention the governor. (Spitzer first articulated the plan and he praised the M.T.A.’s budget this morning.)

Quinn isn’t the only one carrying out this balancing act. Council membersEric Gioia and Simcha Felder similarly avoided attacking Spitzer in their statements opposing the M.T.A. budget, while Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s statement mentions the governor several times, but stops short of criticizing him.

Christine Quinn’s statement:

“While the MTA is facing tough economic projections, I do not believe that there is an immediate reason to raise the fare for 86% of New Yorkers. Simply put, we need to give the MTA more time to get its house in order.

“MTA board members should heed the offer of Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, over fifty members of the State Assembly and numerous other elected officials, to work with the MTA to seek additional funding streams to address long term fiscal planning.

“There may very well be a time when a fare increase is justified. With necessary expansion projects on the horizon, we obviously need to come up with addition sources of revenue. But when the MTA can come up with $220 million dollars almost overnight, it raises serious doubts over the severity of their projected deficits and whether or not they have a clear understanding of their own budget and potential State and City contributions.

“Before New Yorkers dig deeper into their pockets, we need assurance that the MTA has explored every option.

Marty Markowitz’s statement:

“I was pleased that the Governor took a step in the right direction by announcing a freeze on the base subway fare. It seemed at that time that that MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger and Executive Director Lee Sander heard the message that Assembly Member James Brennan and I, along with several other public officials, called for at both our press conference in Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza and at the MTA’s Brooklyn fare hearing on November 5th—asking that the MTA wait until the legislature considers both increased MTA funding and the NYC Congestion Pricing Initiative.

“Unfortunately, the fare increases announced today for multi-trip weekly and monthly card users shift the burden to working Brooklynites and New Yorkers, who should be the last people asked to foot the bill.

“Of course, I continue to welcome the Governor’s public promise to substantially increase state subsidies to the MTA operating budget in the future, and I would like all reasonably-minded public officials to work together to assist him and the legislature to devise an equitable funding formula that takes the burden off the straphanger, keeps all fares frozen until that day arrives—and requires the government to finally do its fair share.”