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Belmont Train Service to Be Eliminated?

It was called the “Doomsday Budget” for the MTA and including massive fare increases and service cuts to help close a deficit in the MTA’s budget. However, the “Doomsday” was averted with help from an MTA bailout that included a payroll tax and fare increases to a lesser extent. However, with the MTA still struggling financially, the service cuts may still become a reality.

The budget includes eliminating West Hempstead weekend service as well as service to Belmont Race Track from Wednesday to Sunday during racing season except for the day of the Belmont Stakes.

The budget also calls for the cutting of service of Long Island bus. Several bus routes including the N51, N53, N80, N93, N65, N66, N67 and N87 are scheduled to be eliminated.

Senator Craig Johnson, who represents the 7th Senate District, was among the lawmakers who voted to bailout the MTA earlier this year with a payroll tax. Senator Johnson sent a letter on December 15 to MTA board member Carl Wortendyke asking him to reject the proposed budget. Wrote Johnson, “We went to great length to preserve our mass transit system. For the MTA to renege on its end of the bargain would be a betrayal. It would confirm the public’s suspicion that the MTA cannot be trusted.”

The MTA board passed the proposed budget by a 12-0 margin the following day. Public hearings on the budget are expected to be held in early 2010.