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Liu, Addabbo urge public to fight MTA fare hike

City Councilmen Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and John Liu (D-Flushing) Tuesday assailed a proposed transit fare hike as an attempt by MTA officials to make up a money shortage "on the backs of the middle class."

Addabbo and Liu spoke, accompanied by dozens of supporters displaying signs reading "Fight the Hike," in front of Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters in Manhattan Tuesday.

Addabbo also introduced a new Web site initiative, fightthehike09.com, to register fare hike opposition.

"We want to let the MTA know that making up its shortfall on the backs of the middle class is not an option," Addabbo said.

The site urges citizens to sign a petition to tell the MTA that they say " 'no' to a proposed fare hike."

"Write a letter to the editor of your daily and community newspapers [expressing opposition to a fare increase]," the site suggests.

Addabbo and Liu, chairman of the City Council Transportation Committee, said the city and state must rearrange priorities in favor of public transportation.

"Our voices must be heard at City Hall and in Albany," said Liu.

Before the Manhattan rally, Addabbo collected signatures at the Rockaway Boulevard station on the A subway line on what is expected to be a series of subway visits to promote the site.

"The cost of living is on the rise and the state is experiencing financial difficulty, which usually jeopardizes jobs and income," Addabbo said. "The first answer to a budget deficit cannot always be to increase the cost of living for middle-class people — especially without a serious improvement in service and facilities. We expect to get what we pay for."

Addabbo, who is running against state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) in November, said on the site: "Queens is the fastest growing borough in the city, but we have disproportionately fewer subway lines, the majority of which run along the central arteries of the borough.

"Residents in southeast Queens and even in areas such as Middle Village and Ridgewood are not privileged with a great number of subway stops and rely overwhelmingly on surface transit. Neither of these two proposals, neither the fare hike nor congestion pricing, are right for Queens, which is why I oppose them both."

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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