Liu and others call on MTA to avert transit Shutdown

“The time for excuses and blame games is over. Commuters deserve a resolution now.”

QUEENS, NY (TIP): At a press conference, July 10, at the Bayside LIRR station, Democratic State Senate candidate and former City Council Transportation Chairman John Liu called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reach a labor agreement to avert a shutdown in the coming days. Highlighting the fact that thousands of residents in the 11th Senate District would be adversely affected by a possible shutdown, Liu urged the MTA to find a resolution before the looming deadline.

“For neighborhoods that already have limited access to mass transit, a wholesale service shutdown will turn a difficult situation into a disaster for our communities. The MTA’s failure to act in good faith is jeopardizing the safety and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Democrat John Liu. “Moreover, the MTA’s suggestions to the public to explore travel alternatives like ‘telecommuting’ is just simply appalling and out-of-touch. The MTA has twice ignored the rulings of an independent panel, hoping that if they ignore the problem someone else will clean up the mess they created. The time for excuses and blame games is over, commuters demand and deserve a resolution now.”

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, Liu blasted the agency for refusing to continue negotiations before the National Mediation Board. “Instead, MTA negotiators inexplicably announced that a settlement could not be reached and they would be seeking Congressional intervention, which then failed.” Full text of the letter can be found below. The MTA has not reached a resolution with the LIRR unions to avert a shutdown on July 20. A potential shutdown would affect approximately 300,000 daily riders. “For the thousands of Queens commuters, it is critical that the MTA reach an agreement and avoid stranding our working families, businesses and LIRR employees,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic whose district does not have subway access and relies heavily on the nearby LIRR.

“Expecting local residents to depend on overcrowded, inconsistent local and express bus service is not a viable option.” “A transit strike would be a great disservice to the people of this City,” said Assemblymember David Weprin. “Thousands of commuters in my Assembly District rely on our public transportation system daily. I urge the MTA and union leaders to agree on fair terms as quickly as possible, as this transit strike must be avoided.” “It’s our hope this issue is resolved as soon as possible without a strike,” said Councilmember Paul Vallone. “Our district relies heavily on the Long Island Railroad for transportation within New York, and this would be a severe setback to our community.”

“Residents of Bay Terrace and Bayside rely heavily on the LIRR to get to work, shop and as a means of transportation to get to New York City’s entertainment opportunities,” said Phil Konigsberg of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Their passage to and from the Bayside train station, as well as others along the corridor also stimulate the economy of the businesses that provide goods and services to the daily and weekend commuters. We need someone who represents this district to utilize their negotiating skills while having a precise financial background and understanding that can stop the looming strike before the deadline is reached.”

“For many residents of Northeast Queens who travel to and from Manhattan, the LIRR is their only mass transit option,” said Warren Schreiber, Co- President of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council. “In Northeast Queens the LIRR is our subway. A LIRR shutdown would impose a heavy financial burden on commuters and merchants who depend on the railroad for their livelihood. All sides must bargain in good faith to reach an agreement that is fair to both LIRR employees and customers.”

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