I wasn’t able to attend last night’s public hearing on MTA cuts, but luckily Allan Rosen, the former MTA official who critiqued the plans earlier this week, sent us the dispatch below. I encourage anyone who went to add their two cents to the report.
As for me, I’ll be submitting testimony online based on what I’ve seen and heard from residents. Also, at the Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association meeting on Tuesday, board members asked to get a hearing in the area, which State Senator Marty Golden’s office is looking into.
Here’s Rosen’s report:
Brooklyn had their turn last night at giving the MTA an earful regarding their proposals to cut subway and bus service as well as the free or reduced-fare student MetroCards. The meeting turned tumultous as a brawl broke out when one student tried to speak out of turn and four people were arrested.
Students were frustrated at having to wait hours for their turn to speak because of the MTA’s policy to allow elected officials to speak before the registered public speakers. Finally, one elected official suggested that the MTA alternate one elected official with one member of the public, which the MTA finally heeded. Still, even pre-registered speakers, who registered weeks ago, such as Allan Rosen, didn’t get a chance to speak until 8:45 PM; the meeting began at 6. Those registering on the night of the hearing had to wait much longer. Many went home before their turn as the hour turned late. One of them was CB 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo. A few speakers from Sheepshead Bay did get a chance to speak. The meeting was expected to last until midnight. It is unknown if the meeting actually lasted that long or even longer.
The main points brought out my speakers were the need not to cut student passes, the need to use a portion of the federal stimulus money to fill the deficit gap until more permanent funding can be found, a sweetheart deal between the MTA and Ratner which allowed the Atlantic Yards to be sold at below market value with terms of up to 80 years for him to complete payment to the MTA and how the MTA is wasting money by allowing 370 Jay Street to remain empty for years.
The disabled also spoke against proposals to cut Access-a-Ride services; some mentioned ways to improve how the current system works. Others protested cuts to specific bus and subway routes. The MTA stated that the complete video of the hearing will be made available on its website one week from today and all sumitted written testimony will be prepared in book form and be made available to Board members for their review.
Also, some people criticized the location of the hearing claiming it was a difficult location for them to get to, requiring multiple buses and trains. They suggested that in the future additional meetings be held at more locations.