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MTA’s cleanliness suffers as finances wane: Walder

MTA Chairman Jay Walder has acknowledged what some straphangers have begun to complain about: Subway stations are getting dirtier.

“They’re right,” Walder said at a news conference following the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting Jan. 27.

“During each financial downturn, the first thing to go is the cleaning and maintenance of the stations,” Walder said.

“We’ve done a good job of [keeping] the trains clean, but we haven’t treated our stations the same way,” Walder said.

Walder said the cleanup crews will return to attack such conditions as peeling paint, mold and unsanitary situations in the New York City Transit Authority’s 468 subway stations.

Walder also asked whether he thought police have been a bit heavy-handed in their arrests of riders who fall asleep, walk in-between subway cars or commit other such offenses aboard trains and in stations.

“I plan to have a talk in an exchange of ideas with police officials in the near future,” Walder said.

The visitors gallery at the MTA board room was filled with transit activists, many carrying placards denouncing the prospect of cuts in subways, buses and commuter trains.

More than a dozen speakers then vented their opposition to the proposed service reduction.

The Obama administration budget, meanwhile, set aside $215 million for the East Side Access project to bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal and $197 million for the Second Avenue subway.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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