MTA board votes down $20M to restore service cuts

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The MTA approved a 2012 budget today after impassioned appeals by some members to set aside $20 million for restoration of service cuts carried out last year.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to approve the new budget only after heated discussion over an amendment offered by board member Allen Cappelli, of Staten Island.

Acting Chairman Andrew Saul suggested it was “not appropriate” now to restore service cuts.

Cappelli said he was bothered by a “cavalier attitude on the part of some members of this board.”

“Our transit system is not just Manhattan,” Cappelli said. “We have people out there who are desperate for service.”

The MTA shut down two subway lines and cut service on more than 30 bus lines in 2010 because of the agency’s dire money problems.

Board member Mitchell Pally, of Suffolk County, said he agreed and suggested that a good start would be setting aside $20 million toward restoring routes.

“I believe we can restore — not all — but a portion of these routes,” Pally said, adding that “now is a good time” for such restoration.

The amendment to provide $20 million toward restoring transit routes was voted down.

Joseph Lhota, who will become chairman of the agency Jan. 1, said there are no plans for a fare hike or service cuts next year.

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

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