MTA doomsday budget approved

March 24, 2010 9:16:47 PM PDT
New York's festering financial crisis hits home Wednesday for millions of people. The MTA board has approved the $93 million in service cuts Wednesday, saying they had no choice.

And it's going to leave many riders with no choice as well.

"No more cuts! No more cuts!" shouted a crowd of protesters, but the MTA doesn't have a choice with an $800 million shortfall.

On the chopping block is the B51 bus route from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan.

It's an unpopular choice for riders with disabilities who say their elevators don't always work and the walk to it is long and painful.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, about 300 percent. I have to grin and bear it," Debra Grief said.

"It's an insult to the residents of Brooklyn and New York City that the MTA will dismantle parts of the mass transit system they think nobody will miss," Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, said.

Some subway lines are being slashed too.

The M line is merging with the V line, and changing colors from brown to orange.

It will no longer run in Lower Manhattan.

Instead, it will travel along 6th Avenue where the V used to.

"That is confusing to me, the map. I don't know how quickly they're going to update the maps on that," Tyree Riggins said.

The W line is going away altogether.

"If they compensate with N service and Q service that run along the same line, I really don't care," Erik Kallhovd of Sunnyside said.

"Millions of subway riders and tens of thousand of bus rider will have longers trips, longer waits and they're going to notice it," Gene Rushonoff, MTA Watchdog, said.

The board is expected to approve all of changes today. Then it has to decide how to cut another $400 million from the budget.

A related proposal to phase out student MetroCards will be taken up later in the spring.

There is some hope for student Metrocards. The Assembly presented its budget proposal on Wednesday night, which includes $35 million for student Metrocards. That number would still leave the program well short of the $214 million needed.

The service changes are part of a package of actions proposed in December to close a nearly $400 million deficit for 2010. MTA faces an additional shortfall of $378 million has since developed due largely to deterioration of projected payroll tax revenues.

For more details on the revised plan, please visit