Last Friday, Gov. David A. Paterson, Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced that they have reached an agreement that would restore the state's share of funding for free and reduced-price Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) student farecards to 2009-10 funding levels.
"Particularly in these difficult economic times, New York families simply cannot carry this additional cost," Gov. Paterson said. "I sent to the Legislature a bill to support the continuation of this critical program by restoring the state's share of funding to 2009-10 levels. I will continue to work with the MTA to develop a plan to keep public transportation affordable for school children and their families."
The governor's 2010-11 Executive Budget included $25 million for the state's contribution to the MTA Schoolfare Program, restoring funding to 2009-10 enacted budget levels and eliminating cuts made as part of the 2009 Deficit Reduction Plan. This agreed upon legislation restores critical funding that will make possible the continuation of the MTA Schoolfare Program, which was previously slated for elimination in September.
"My Assembly colleagues and I fought hard to preserve student MetroCards because we believe that students simply shouldn't have to pay to get to school every day. Many cash-strapped families do not have any room in their already-tight budgets to provide children with daily transit fare," Assembly Speaker Silver said.
Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said: "The restoration of funding for student MetroCards is of tantamount importance to New York's students and families, who should never have to weigh the cost of attending school against getting to school."
For decades, the MTA, New York State and New York City have united to offer free and reduced price public transportation farecards to more than 500,000 New York City students.