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MTA needs bipartisan solution

An open letter to Gov. David Paterson:

As we rapidly approach the full implementation of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s devastating fare and toll increases, along with draconian service cuts to train and bus services, I strongly urge you to immediately embrace an open and a transparent and bipartisan approach toward reaching a sensible and lasting solution that benefits all New Yorkers that use MTA transit services, bridges and tunnels.

Despite recent published reports and assertions to the contrary, Republican state senators, including myself, have been completely excluded from any discussions surrounding a comprehensive fiscal plan for the MTA. This current course of action has failed and is detrimental not only to the legislative process, but it has also hindered any possible resolution on this important issue.

With our economy facing the most challenging times in decades, the MTA has not been immune to the financial downturn that has affected our state and region. For years, the MTA has been riddled with waste, abuse and rampant mismanagement. Time and again it has relied on increasing fares and tolls in order to close enormous budget gaps.

Now it is the responsibility of the state government working in a clear and open manner to address the needs of the MTA to spare hard−working commuters and taxpayers from the recent plan adopted by the MTA board.

At the present time, the legislative majorities in the Senate and state Assembly have not introduced any legislation addressing a plan for the MTA. With each passing day, the MTA budget shortfall grows, making the task at hand more challenging. Commuters, transit riders and the taxpayers of New York City and the surrounding areas cannot afford any further delays and posturing.

Based on the urgency and severity of the situation facing commuters, transit riders and taxpayers in the 12−county MTA region, it is imperative for you to call upon Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D−Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans) to start genuine bipartisan discussions among all state legislators that will hopefully forge a fair and equitable solution for the problems facing the MTA.

Time is of the essence. I stand ready to work with you and my legislative colleagues on building a financial rescue plan that puts the MTA in sound and strong fiscal standing today and in the future.

Frank Padavan

State Senator

Bellerose

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