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Transportation Advocates Rally At City Hall For More MTA Funding

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mass transit advocates held a rally at City Hall on Tuesday, demanding more funding for the city's subways and buses.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to bump the city's share of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's budget to $125 million.

But MTA Chief Tom Prendergast said the city needs to triple their contribution to $300 million a year to help fill a $14 billion budget deficit, 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reported.

Mass Transit Advocates To Rally For More Funds

Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign, said the mayor's call to expand programs like universal pre-K and affordable housing can only happen with a greater investment in public transportation.

"Subways are probably New York City's most valuable asset," Russianoff said.

Russianoff admits the MTA should've requested the extra funds sooner, but he believes the city needs to step up.

"From my point of view, it's just not enough," Russianoff said. "It's like they're getting a nickel fare and the city is making out like bandits."

Russianoff said the city hasn't made a fair contribution for decades.

"An analysis that was done by the city's Independent Budget Office showed that if the city had just kept up with the rate of inflation in its contributions to the MTA it would be giving $363 million a year instead of the $100 million it gives now," Russianoff said.

Transportation Advocates Rally At City Hall For More MTA Funding

Russianoff told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond the city needs to show leadership or riders will suffer.

"You know, it won't turn horrible overnight, but you know it will be on a downward direction and that's not good for the city," he said.

De Blasio's budget will be unveiled Thursday.

He said he will go to Washington, D.C., next week to demand that the feds step up with extra money for city buses and subways.

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