Sen. Schumer's Message: Preserve Public Transportation

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Sen. Charles Schumer calls for greater federal role in funding transit operations

Sen. Schumer said that the bill would provide a needed infusion of $2 billion in operating assistance to hard hit agencies from coast to coast. He said that under current formulas, New York would get $345 million, enough, he said “to hold off all job and service cuts for the next few years.”

Schumer had high praise for Local 100 President Samuelsen for “rallying New Yorkers and transit workers behind the effort to prevent transit cuts here and across the country.”

Schumer called public transportation “the lifeblood of our city.”

“Our beautiful City could not exist without our transportation,” Schumer added. “Without good mass transit, New York dies.”
Schumer blamed the recession for the problems confronting the nation’s transit systems, saying that when America goes into down economic times “mass transit gets pneumonia.”

He labeled his bill, that currently has seven additional co-sponsors, “a win, win, win for everyone,” and he pledged at the event that he intends “a major push to get this bill done.”

Local 100 President Samuelsen added his words of support, saying that the Schumer bill “is not just about transit workers, it’s about transit riders, the people who depend so heavily on public transportation every day.”

Samuelsen also denounced the recent layoff of Local 100 Station Agents. “Our subways are a far more dangerous place for passengers today because our Station Agents aren’t on the job.”

ATU’s Larry Hanley outlined how financial woes had “devastated” many transit properties across America where ATU members live and work.

TWU International Exec. VP Lombardo labeled the current battle “a fight for the quality of life in our cities and suburbs.”

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said that the proposed cuts are “staggering” and “the worst I’ve seen in 30 years.”

New York City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca said that Sen. Schumer’s bill “represents the most viable hope” for financial assistance stave off the service and job cuts.