Over the last several months, Brooklyn’s beleaguered bus ridershave scored a pair of major victories with the restoration ofservice on the X27 and X28 bus lines. These routes provide vitalservice to Brooklyn’s commuters who need access to midtownManhattan for basic purposes like going to work, visiting family,or seeing a doctor.

Certainly, this is a step in the right direction by the MTA andshows that the agency has begun to take our needs as commuters inBrooklyn seriously. The public has made it clear, however, that theMTA has plenty of work left in front them.

In June, I launched,an online petitiondrive to tell the MTA that our riders have had enough of payingmore money for less service. Less than two months later, hundredsof people have signed on to make their voices heard.

Here in Brooklyn, we’re tired of the nickel-and-diming that the MTAuses to fund its bloated, inefficient bureaucracy. The problem goesbeyond bridge tolls and fare hikes, although that area is certainlya cause for concern.

In recent years, the state legislature has allowed the MTA to reachinto the pockets of business owners, job-creators and the taxpayersof our communities. It recently increased taxes and fees onutilities, vehicle registration, and driver’s license fees, amongother necessities.

In addition, the MTA Payroll Tax has been particularly disastrous,forcing a surcharge on business owners within the agency’s serviceregion for every dollar they issue in payroll, another incentivefor business owners to eliminate jobs or leave the state.

Yet, the MTA’s assault on taxpayers doesn’t stop there. Thepetroleum business tax bolsters the agency’s coffers. The bank tax,the auto rental tax, taxicab surcharges and a litany of other taxesand fees are funneled straight to the MTA. There is virtually noway to escape the financial net that has been cast.

What compounds this problem of skyrocketing taxes and fees is thefact the services are actually decreasing. In Brooklyn, even thoughriders are forced to dig deeper into their wallets time and timeagain, crucial services like the B37 bus line and weekend expressbus service are still nowhere to be seen. There is no return on theinvestment put down by Brooklyn’s commuters, which is thefoundation for the problems plaguing the MTA as a whole.

The most effective vessel for change in a situation where abusiness is failing its customers is the customers themselves. Inthis instance, the riders of Brooklyn need to continue to maketheir voices heard, telling the MTA that we won’t pay more forless

I am extremely thankful to the constituents who have joined myfight and signed my petition, and I encourage all the commuters inour community to visit to send a clearmessage to the MTA that we have had enough!

Nicole Malliotakis represents the 60th A.D. in Brooklyn andStaten Island.

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