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Testimony Before Joint – Senate Standing Committees on Transportation & Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Hearing on the MTA Budget, Ridership, and Penn Station Revitalization.

Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC)
March 3, 2023

Good morning. My name is Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory
Committee to the MTA, PCAC. Created by the legislature in 1981 to represent riders on the
MTA’s Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and New York City’s subways, buses, and
Staten Island Railway, our work primarily focuses on advocating on behalf of riders and advising
the MTA on operational performance and capital projects through reports and policy
recommendations. Importantly, our work also includes support for adequate funding and
improving transparency for all to have a better understanding of the MTA – the transit upon
which they rely. That is why we are here today. Thank you for holding this hearing and for the
work you do every day; the outcomes provide tangible results for millions of New Yorkers.

MTA Budget
Driven in large part by the precipitous drop in ridership both during and after the pandemic, the
MTA is facing a huge deficit that will lead to devastating cuts in bus, subway, and rail service, or
crippling fare increases if not addressed. We are reassured that you understand the severity of
the situation and know that none of us want to see the horrific fare hikes and horrendous
service cuts that could be the unfortunate reality without adequate funding ‒ and which would
significantly hinder the return of riders to transit and have far-reaching negative consequences
for the region’s economy, and for riders themselves. It is imperative that you, our leaders in the
State Assembly and Senate, work together and with Governor Hochul to ensure that transit is
fully funded in the final state budget, and that the revenue sources are both sustainable and
not susceptible to raids.
To this end, we support the funding proposals that Governor Hochul put forth in her Executive
Budget as a great starting point for budget negotiations. The $300 million direct payment to the
MTA will be an important lifeline for transit, and we hope to see this vital contribution made
annual, baselined, moved off-budget, and adjusted for inflation. Even better would be to
double the initial investment in transit to $600 million– particularly this year, with the state’s
funding surplus.