Earlier this week, NYS Assemb. Dean Murray, 3rd Assembly District, stood with the New York State Senate Majority’s Long Island delegation to introduce legislation to freeze fare increases through 2021 until the LIRR makes measurable improvements in service, equipment failures and delays. Murray also called on the state comptroller to conduct a forensic audit of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s finances.
“At a time when their service, reliability and fiscal management is perceived as questionable at best, the LIRR is once again planning to turn to the ridership to bail them out. That is unacceptable. Our plan will provide the LIRR with the opportunity to earn needed funding while ensuring that services are not reduced and fares are not increased,” said Murray.
Currently, the MTA has scheduled an authority-wide 4 percent fare and toll increase that would take effect in March 2019. Sen. Elaine Phillips, 7th Senate District, introduced the legislation in the state Senate.
Under the proposal, commuter increases would stop with the creation of the Long Island Commuter Relief Fund, which would provide operating money for the agency. This fund, which would consist of no less than $60 million from unused settlement funds, would be dedicated to the operating budget of the LIRR to ensure that LIRR riders are not forced to endure reduced service while simultaneously protecting fares at the current rates.
The LIRR would be able to receive funding only by meeting an average on-time performance of 94 percent or better and improving their overall customer satisfaction score by at least 5 percent commencing with their next scheduled survey.