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THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2024                                     THE QUEENS TIMES                                                            PAGE 3

               Legislators Call On MTA To Expand Express                                                    Memorial Day:
                                 Bus Service In Queens

             State legislators from Queens  in our borough. In conversations  Hyndman stated, “Queens is the   Honor All U.S. Military
        are calling on the Metropolitan  with MTA leadership, staff, ad-  most diverse borough in NYC and         Personnel
        Transportation Authority to im-  vocates and stakeholders, we  one of the city’s largest transit
        mediately expand express bus ser-  have made clear that fundamental  deserts. Lack of access to public
        vice in Queens in order to attract  changes were necessary for the  transportation not only harms   (Continued from page 1)  of remembrance for all members
        more riders to public transit before  congestion proposal to work and  communities but derails lives.                of the U.S. military who fought
        congestion pricing takes effect.   provide the anticipated funding  With congestion pricing aggres-  was preceded by many local ones  and died in service. In 1971, Con-
             Legislators expressed disap-  stream being sought. Unfortu-  sively approaching, express bus   between the end of the Civil War  gress standardized the holiday as
        pointment that the MTA excluded  nately, it seems that the MTA still  service into Manhattan is more   and Logan’s declaration. Many cit-  “Memorial Day” and changed its
        Queens from recent enhance-  has not received the message that  crucial now than ever. We must be   ies and people have claimed to be  observance to the last Monday
        ments to express bus routes from  Queens commuters expect better  prepared for the pending impact of   the first to observe it. However, the  in May.
        Brooklyn and Staten Island to  and deserve better.”        more express bus riders post June   National Cemetery Administra-       Two other days celebrate those
        Manhattan. As the countdown       State Senate Deputy Leader  30. Though the current MTA bus   tion, a division of the Department  who have served or are serving in
        to congestion pricing continues,  Michael Gianaris stated, “Queens  network has recents wins, trans-  of Veterans Affairs, credits Mary  the U.S. military: Armed Forces
        the elected officials note that it is  bus riders deserve to be included  portation wins to one borough and   Ann Williams with originating  Day (which is earlier in May), an
        unacceptable to exclude Queens  in improved reliability and ser-  not all boroughs; is a loss. It is   the “idea of strewing the graves  unofficial U.S. holiday for honor-
        from express bus improvements  vice. I’m deeply disappointed  unacceptable for Queens residents   of Civil War soldiers—Union and  ing those currently serving in the
        while simultaneously proposing  after all of the advocacy, particu-  to be excluded from express bus   Confederate” with flowers.   armed forces, and Veterans Day
        service  reductions  for  nearly  larly from Queens representatives  improvements. I encourage the        Official recognition as a holiday  (on November 11), which honors
        every Queens express bus line as  like myself, that riders here were  MTA to do more for our residents   spread among the states, beginning  all those who have served in the
        part of the ongoing Queens Bus  excluded and will be left with  and expand service regardless of   with New York in 1873. By 1890,  United States Armed Forces.
        Redesign.                    inadequate service as congestion  proposed cuts.”          every Union state had adopted it.       Honor and Morn all U.S. military
             In a letter to MTA Chair Janno  pricing goes into effect.”       State Assembly Member Jes-  The world wars turned it into a day  personnel every day.
        Lieber, they called for an immedi-       State Senator Toby Ann  sica González-Rojas stated, “With
        ate expansion to Queens express  Stavisky stated, “We are asking  most of my neighbors in Western   Biden-Harris Administration Announces
        bus lines before congestion pric-  our residents in northern and east  Queens relying on public trans-
        ing takes effect and for the MTA  Queens to pay for congestion pric-  portation, expanded express bus   Additional $7.7 Billion in Approved
        to reconsider the proposed express  ing without providing the services  services will improve the quality   Student Debt Relief For
        bus reductions as part of the  promised to our community in  of life and increase street safety.
        Queens Bus Redesign.         return. Our residents do not have  Further, as we are gearing up for       160,000 Borrowers
             State Senator John Liu, Mem-  access to our subway system. We  congestion pricing to start, it’s
        ber of the Senate Transportation  deserve expanded express bus ser-  important the rest of New York   Biden-Harris Administration  rowers who would benefit from
        Committee,  stated,  “Expanded  vices to provide them with more  City’s infrastructure support this   has now approved $167 billion in  consolidating now have until June
        transit options for eastern Queens  affordable options for travel.”  critical improvement. Congestion   relief for 4.75 million borrowers  30, 2024 to apply to consolidate.
        residents, namely more express       State Assembly Member Ed  pricing will only work when our   across the country  Borrowers can find out more
        buses, was always part of the  Braunstein stated, “Northeast  public transportation works well                       about the payment count adjust-
        intent and plan under congestion  Queens residents rely on the Long  and residents have ample options        The Biden-Harris Admin-  ment here.
        pricing. The MTA needs to be  Island Rail Road and express bus  to get to their destinations quickly   istration announced today the       The debt relief announced
        firing on all cylinders to make  service for their public transpor-  and safely. The MTA needs to   approval of $7.7  billion in  ad-  today  is  broken  down  into  the
        sure Queens residents have every  tation needs. While the MTA  expand express bus service now.”  ditional student loan debt relief  following categories:
        available mass transit resource  has made recent strides to make       State Senator Julia Salazar   for 160,500 borrowers. These  •    $5.2 billion for 66,900 bor-
        available before congestion pric-  LIRR service more affordable for  stated, “Now is the time to expand   discharges are for three categories  rowers through fixes to PSLF:
        ing is implemented. That means  commuters, the proposed cuts to  express bus service in Queens, not   of borrowers: those receiving  The Administration has now ap-
        more, not less, express bus service  express bus service are a major  cut it. With the imminent onset   Public Service Loan Forgiveness  proved $68 billion in forgiveness
        to take commuters into Manhat-  concern. In addition to commut-  of long-awaited congestion pric-  (PSLF); those who signed up for  for more than 942,000 borrowers
        tan. The recently announced 10  ers going to and from work, many  ing and in the absence of readily   President Biden’s Saving on a  through PSLF.
        percent monthly LIRR discount  older adults in my district depend  accessible subway lines, express   Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan  •    $613 million for 54,300 bor-
        was a welcome first step, but it’s  on express bus service to travel to  buses will become even more   and who are eligible for its short-  rowers through the SAVE Plan:
        by no means a replacement for ex-  doctor’s appointments. Further,  important to workers, students,   ened time-to-forgiveness benefit;  This relief will go to borrowers
        press buses. We call on the MTA  it is unfair and counterproduc-  seniors, and many others. The   and those receiving forgiveness  enrolled in the SAVE Plan who
        to shift into high gear to make sure  tive to cut public transit service  MTA has the opportunity to make   on income-driven repayment  had smaller loans for their post-
        Queens riders get their fair share  considering the MTA’s impend-  the right choice, and we call on   (IDR) as a result of fixes made by  secondary studies. Borrowers can
        of expanded express bus service.”  ing implementation of congestion  them to do so on behalf of our   the Administration. This action  receive relief after at least 10 years
             State Senator Leroy Com-  pricing. For these reasons, I join  communities.”        comes as more than 8 million bor-  of payments if they originally
        rie, Chair of the Corporations,  my colleagues in calling on the       State Senator James Sanders   rowers have been helped by the  borrowed $12,000 or less. Each
        Authorities, and Commissions  MTA to not only reverse their  Jr. stated, “The MTA’s neglect of   SAVE Plan. That includes 4.6 mil-  additional $1,000 in borrowing
        Committee, stated, “Since 2019  proposed cuts, but to increase  Queens in its express bus service   lion with a $0 monthly payment.   adds 12 more months until for-
        when congestion pricing became  express bus service.”      enhancements are unacceptable        Today’s announcement brings  giveness. All borrowers on the
        a reality, in efforts to help fund the       State Assembly Member Nily  as we approach congestion pric-  the total loan forgiveness ap-  SAVE Plan receive forgiveness
        capital needs of the MTA, I have  Rozic stated, “It’s imperative  ing. This blatant disregard for   proved by the Biden-Harris Ad-  after 20 or 25 years, depending
        repeatedly stressed the need for  that our transit system remain  equitable service expansion leaves   ministration to $167 billion for  on whether they have loans for
        improvements to transit service  equitable and doesn’t dispropor-  Queens commuters with limited   4.75 million Americans. Thanks  graduate school. The benefit is
        ahead of the spigot being turned  tionately burden outer-borough  public transit options and dispro-  to this Administration’s efforts  based upon the original principal
        on. As Chair of the Corporations,  commuters. Queens residents  portionately burdens them with   more than one out of every 10  balance of all Federal loans bor-
        Authorities, and Commissions  deserve accessible and affordable  the impending costs of congestion   federal student loan borrowers  rowed to attend school, not what
        Committee, during joint budget  public transit options, including  pricing. We demand the MTA im-  has now been approved for some  a borrower currently owes or the
        meetings, hearings that the Com-  express buses, ensuring inclusion  mediately prioritize Queens and   debt relief. This action builds on  amount of an individual loan. To-
        mittee has held, and at numerous  and affordability to alleviate their  reconsider any proposed service   President Biden and his Admin-  day’s announcement brings total
        public events, my colleagues and  commutes and expand their transit  reductions to ensure all New   istration’s efforts to provide debt  relief approved under the SAVE
        I have repeatedly conveyed the  options.”                  Yorkers have viable transportation   relief to as many borrowers as  Plan to $5.5 billion for 414,000
        need for more express bus service       State Assembly Member Alicia  alternatives.”    possible as quickly as possible.   borrowers.
         Con Edison CEO Tim Cawley Outlines Clean Energy                                             “The Biden-Harris Administra-  •    $1.9 billion for 39,200 bor-
                                                                                                tion remains persistent about our  rowers through administrative
                                      Growth Strategy                                           efforts to bring student debt relief  adjustments to IDR payment
                                                                                                to millions more across the coun-
                                                                                                                             counts. These adjustments have
                                                                                                try, and this announcement proves  brought borrowers closer to for-
        Company Sees Opportunities to  Cawley said in a virtual presenta-  extreme weather and deliver the  it,” said U.S. Secretary of Educa-  giveness and address longstand-
        Expand Electric Business While  tion. “And never has the need for  increasing amount of renewable  tion Miguel Cardona. “One out  ing concerns with the misuse of
        Maintaining World-Class Reli-  solutions been more urgent. To  energy the state is adding to its  of every 10 federal student loan  forbearance by loan servicers.
        able Service                 meet this moment, Con Edison is  portfolio.                borrowers approved for debt relief  Including today’s announcement,
                                     moving forward with bold plans to       Driving Customer Adoption of  means one out of every 10 borrow-  the Biden-Harris Administration
             Con Edison Chairman and  enable clean energy in our region.”  Electrification      ers now has financial breathing  has now approved $51.0 billion in
        CEO Tim Cawley addressed the       Cawley, speaking at the annual  The utilities, Con Edison Com-  room and a burden lifted.”   IDR relief for more than 1 million
        company’s shareholders recently,  shareholders meeting, said Con  pany of New York and Orange and       Recently, the U.S. Depart-  borrowers.
        outlining plans to support New  Edison’s utilities support New  Rockland Utilities, offer incen-  ment of Education (Department)       “Another 160,000 borrowers
        York’s transition to clean energy  York State’s ambitious climate  tives to customers who install geo-  also announced an update on the  and their families will get some
        and execute on investments that  law by providing incentives for  thermal or air-source heat pumps  timing of the payment count ad-  much-needed relief thanks to
        will enable the company to grow  customers to shift to clean tech-  to move off fossil fuel heating.  justment. This administrative fix  the continued efforts the Biden-
        its business.                nologies. The utilities are also       In addition, the utilities provide  ensures borrowers get credit for  Harris Administration to fix the
             “Never have the effects of cli-  investing in their energy deliv-                  progress borrowers made toward
        mate change been more evident,”  ery infrastructure to withstand   (Continued on page 8)  IDR forgiveness and PSLF. Bor-  (Continued on page 9)
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