Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 16 September 2011 00:00
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) attended “The People’s Hearing” on the situation with the elimination of L.I. Bus and the Privatization of the system.
Judy Jacobs was joined by other Legislators in expressing their concerns to the 200-plus crowd. She said, “This is a grave concern. Privatization starts out with great promises good for one year and then, afterwards, history shows that rates are raised and routes cut.
“This could be disastrous for our already decimated Able Ride service.” Legislator Jacobs urged people to write to the Tri State Transportation Campaign at 350 West 31st Street, Suite 802, New York, NY 10001.
Also attending was Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island who explained, “We were co-sponsors of the forum. We want to see transparency in the contract and whatever deal comes through.
“There should be an apples to apples analysis of the private company vs. what we had with L.I.Bus and the MTA. That way the Nassau residents and the businesses can understand the benefit and the constraints of the service.
“We have had the bus service for 40 years and we are moving into uncharted waters. We should be able to compare and contrast with what is coming.
“Another issue is that private systems can work when they are heavily regulated as they are in Westchester and Suffolk County: there they have a private bus company but they are heavily regulated.
“Add to that, the bus systems require government subsidies. So the biggest contributor to L.I. Bus is $50 million in subsidies from the state. Of their $130 million cost, NYS is the biggest contributor.”
Mr. Alexander said, “We have to talk to the state to see what they will contribute. There has been no discussion with the state as yet.”
“This issue is not political,” said Mr. Alexander. “There were Republican members of the Legislature there, and NYS Senator Jack Martins was there too. It was bi-partisan.”
“We want a public hearing at the Legislature,” said Mr. Alexander. “We have to be able to compare and contrast past service to the new; people should know that public subsidies support most transportation systems.”