We spoke with Assemblywoman Joan Millman this afternoon about her thoughts on the MTA fare hikes and what she’s doing to fix the situation. Here are her responses, verbatim:
BHB: What are you doing in Albany in regards to this problem?
Assemblywoman Joan Millman: We’re in agreement in both houses and the Governor that we need to do something because it really is a fiscal crisis the MTA is facing, and I’m of the opinion that we need to do something. I support the Ravitch plan but I think we need some accountability. I don’t want the MTA coming to us next year and saying we did this and this, but also increase the fares [again].
BHB: What are you doing personally, and how soon will the state legislature come up with a possible solution?
Millman: I’ve spoken up in conference and we have an April 1 budget deadline and this isn’t part of the budget, so I think as soon as the budget is passed — and we’re here in Albany tomorrow working on it so that we get in done in a timely fashion — then we tackle the next big thing, which is the MTA. They can’t institute any of their fare hikes or service cuts for at least two months, and that gives us a little bit of room. I don’t want to take the two months [to do it], but it’s important [to come up with a solution] for the growth not only of the city, but the metropolitan area.
And Millman also released this statement on her Web site:
I am deeply disappointed in the MTA’s decision to raise fares and cut services, balancing its books on the backs of the riding public. As a supporter of the Ravitch Commission’s plan to save our transit system by providing a dedicated funding stream, I call upon the Senate to join my Assembly colleagues in enacting a long-term solution. But we should not give the MTA more resources without the necessary accountability. At an Albany press conference, I joined Assemblyman Brodsky in asking the governor to create an independent agency to provide for greater oversight of the MTA finances.
Before we give the MTA additional dollars we need to know how these funds will be spent, so this Authority is not back next year, banging on our doors asking for even more dollars and threatening to raise fares and cut services, once again.