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Save the Student Pass

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Although we understand the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing tough times, we oppose its plans to eliminate free student MetroCards. There must be and there are better ways to deal with the MTA budget shortfall than by making it nearly impossible for low- and moderate-income families to send their children to school.

Students who are already struggling in the city’s high and junior high schools might stop going. Losing these students would be a mistake that would affect the city and state for decades. Doing anything that would discourage students already on the margin would be foolish.

We question just how much the MTA would save. It would immediately lose $45 million in city subsidy and an equal amount in state subsidy. But the same buses would continue to run the same routes using the same amount of fuel but with fewer riders. It seems to us this measure could easily wind up costing the MTA while making life more difficult for middle-class families of this city.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo estimated, in a letter published last week, that the proposed measure would cost a family with two school-age children $2,300 a year. That is an enormous burden. We agree with the senator that the MTA should “get its own house in order before declaring doomsday.”

The Nightmare Is Over

The nightmare that began Dec. 19, 2008, is over. The voters have said it is time for former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate to go. State Assemblyman Jose Peralta defeated Monserrate last week in a special election.

Monserrate was arrested for slashing his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass while an assemblyman weeks before he was to be sworn in as a senator. After nearly a year, the Senate summoned the courage to expel Monserrate. But Monserrate insisted he was still the man of the people. Last week showed how wrong he was.

In his acceptance speech, Peralta declared, “Our nightmare is over. A new day has begun. We finally have our community back — our honor, our dignity, our verguenza.”

We congratulate Peralta and wish him success as he fights in Albany for the interests of his district in one of the most difficult times this state has ever faced.

Updated 5:54 pm, October 10, 2011
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