Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Student MetroCards Saved - Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., and the Senate Democratic Majority have achieved a major victory for New York children and families by securing $25 million in state funding for a reduced-fare student MetroCard program.

“I am proud to announce that student MetroCards will be fully funded in this year’s State Budget,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo. “Together we rallied to send a clear message that eliminating student MetroCards that allow students to ride the subway and bus at a substantially reduced cost would be catastrophic for working families. Our message was heard loud and clear.”

A budget agreement between the MTA, city and state will prevent cuts to the program and continue to provide students access to reduced-fare transit. Under the agreement, the state will pay $25.3 million to fund the program in addition to a city contribution. The MTA will cover the remaining costs. All students who were eligible for reduced fare MetroCards during the previous school year will continue to receive the benefit starting this September.

The $25 million in state funding is contingent upon the NYC Department of Education’s receipt of the reduced fare student MetroCards from the MTA.

This is a critical victory for the 1,300 concerned students, parents and teachers who signed Senator Addabbo’s petition to save student MetroCards, sending a resounding message to Albany that the cancellation of this vital service would not be tolerated.

“Losing Student MetroCards would have led to more absences ensuring that children would fall behind in their academics. Fortunately working together with Senator Addabbo’s office we were able to save the Student MetroCard and protect our children’s education,” said Katherine Alana, the Parents Auxiliary president from PS 254.

“Saving the Student MetroCards was critical to helping working families save money. I am thankful to all the concerned parents, advocates, and students who helped me get our message through to Albany and to the 1,300 individuals who signed my petition to save student MetroCards. I will continue to fight for our communities in Albany,” stated Senator Addabbo.

Facing a massive deficit, the MTA had proposed full elimination of the program, which would have affected the more than 500,000 New York City students who use the reduced fare MetroCards to travel to and from public school.

Saving Student MetroCards was a priority for Senator Addabbo in this year’s State Budget. In his district, a typical New York family of four with two working parents and two school-age children would see the cost of mass transit increase by approximately $2,300 a year. Since the average median income within the district is about $44,000, that would translate to 5 percent of a typical family’s income. Additionally, a mother of three commuting students would have to spend $267 for the now free monthly passes. If she earns $400 a week, she would be spending 17 percent of her income to send her children to school.